1. Tell us a little bit about your business.
Green Gorilla Apps is a bespoke software development company that helps businesses to launch and scale new innovative digital products and services. We were lucky enough to receive a place on the Betaden cohort #2 in Sept 2019 for our startup idea, Train for Good, now WellGiving.
2. Tell us about your role in particular.
I am the founder of WellGiving and Green Gorilla Apps which was incorporated in 2012. Since joining Betaden and receiving the PoC grant, we have completed 2 other accelerator programs (School for Social Entrepreneurs and Impact Central) and are focussed on creating WellGiving as a tech for good, impact focussed business.
3. Tell us about WellGiving.
WellGiving enables companies to improve the wellbeing of their employees whilst raising vital funds for charities to meeting the company’s charity goals. It is a data analytics platform that creates the most inclusive virtual fitness challenges bespoke to the company’s goals and objectives for a challenge.
WellGiving was born after completing my first ever half marathon for a local children’s charity. Combining charity with increasing the levels of physical activity was incredibly powerful for me. I’ve never labelled myself as a runner or an athlete, but people do great things when you combine purpose and personal goals. The first time I finished the Birmingham half marathon, that charity was in my thoughts constantly throughout the months of training. I punched the air and felt like a superhero when I crossed the finish line.
The next year I completed the exact same race, but this time without a charity, and despite getting a better time, it felt like a hollow victory.
I’d exhausted all of my friends and family and network in raising over £1000 for the charity and felt like I couldn’t race for a charity again for some time.
I want to bring that race day feeling to everyday life. I want every exercise to count and make a difference. We now support over 60 types of activities and integrate with Strava and Fitbit to enable employees of all levels of fitness and activities to make a difference to their own mental and physical health whilst helping others. Companies are uniquely positioned to create a wellbeing culture, to do good and help both employees and charities.
4. What has the grant meant for your business/ the future of the business?
The grant has enabled us to work closely with F8 Creates, based in Worcester, to create a brand (WellGiving), website, video and marketing materials that promotes the vision, mission and values of the product.
When we secured our first challenge onto the platform in March 2021, it is a well known anecdote that the during the initial conversation they stated “we can’t find anything about you online, are we talking to the right people? We’ve heard great things about your platform and finally got your mobile number from a mutual contact” - this had to change!
As a direct result of the branding and positioning, we have since worked with global investment bank, SMEs, micro and national charities and schools to improve mental and physical health across a range of society. Since March 2021 we have powered challenges that have raised over £50k for charities across the UK. This has all been possible due to the solid marketing foundations created as a direct result of the PoC grant.
5. How has it positively impacted you/ others in the business?
Since March 2021, we have impacted over 1000 athletes, 10 organisations, raised £50,000 for charity and over 20,000 activities have been logged across 60 sports.
6. What were your initial thoughts about applying for the Proof of Concept grant?
I deliberately applied for Betaden in part because of the support provided by Worcestershire County Council, Betaden mentors and the grant money. Hannah Ross was appointed as my lead contact and she was wonderful. She listened, advised and enabled me to get the application right before submitting it to the approval process. The grant application changed so much over 3 months due to the nature of a startup idea and trying to identify the most impact we could create.
7. How would you describe the whole process?
We were kept updated throughout. Having a dedicated point of contact was amazing. I think the whole process was smooth and the only delays or roadblocks were self created. There is clear guidance and it’s straightforward.
8. What advice would you give to people thinking about applying for the grant?
For me we bootstrapped the application development, as I have over 20 years of experience in Tech. However, there are skills and expertise we do not possess. This is where the PoC grant was a critical bridge at a time of extreme uncertainty and change. When starting this journey there are so many factors; discovery, validation, prototyping all towards the goal of launching a minimal viable product to early adopters that actually solves a problem. The PoC grant for me was a no-brainer. It enables you to invest your time, focus and vision in the product phases. I would recommend the PoC grant to anyone serious about their idea. I honestly don’t know why anyone wouldn’t at least check the eligibility criteria.
WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.
Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.
WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP