Liv, developed by Groningen start-up Coachjezelf, is fast gaining a firm foothold in the healthcare and well-being market. In a short time, the number of GP practices using the online tool to better coach patients with mild psychological complaints grew from 20 to almost 300. Now, again with help from NOM and G-Force Capital, it is time for the next step.
Liv was conceived some seven years ago to facilitate the work of, in particular, practice support workers for mental health care (POH-GGZ). 'It supports the process they go through with patients,' explains Jean-Luc Donders, co-founder and director of Coachjezelf. 'Through the app, patients are provided with all kinds of exercises, which they can also use in their own time to work on their problems. Because the primary care physician can follow their progress online, they can go deeper together during face-to-face conversations. And yes, this combination of self-reliance and personal contact seems to work.
The end of the advance does not seem to be in sight. Of course, Liv is being scaled up to even more GP practices. 'But we are also busy using the app more widely, partly in view of the staff shortage in health care,' Donders emphasizes. 'So not only for psychological complaints, but also for lifestyle-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes, for example. That means that in addition to general practices we will also focus on supporting GGZ institutions.
Potential and confidence
Liv was developed by Coachjezelf in close cooperation with Leeuwarden-based internet agency Coolminds and Hanzehogeschool Groningen. To enable a successful launch, NOM and G-Force Capital stepped in with funding in 2019. Recently, both investors decided to refinance the start-up. 'At an early stage, we saw Liv's potential,' says investment manager Chantal Leijendekker of the NOM. 'We noticed that the app could be a solution for GP practices to waiting lists, rising costs and the call for more self-direction in healthcare. At the same time, we were confident that Jean-Luc could market Liv well. That confidence proved justified. After all, in such a difficult market you don't just scale up from 20 to almost 300 general practices. That is why we are happy to help Coachjezelf take the next step with follow-up funding.
Liv's approachable nature is especially appreciated. Short, powerful exercises and no long pieces of text. Easy to do in between, without having to wait for the next appointment. 'That was our main focus from the very beginning,' says Donders. 'We wanted to develop a tool that a healthcare provider could work with comfortably, without making concessions on patient friendliness. That is only possible by actually doing something with the feedback you get. Listening carefully to users, understanding where the real needs are and making the right adjustments on that basis. This way of working has brought us a lot so far and will also be crucial in realizing our current and future ambitions.'
Liv's growth has in no way surprised Niek Huizenga, fund manager of G-Force Capital. Simply because the e-health solution not only unburdens GP practices but also provides demonstrable results, he says. 'Moreover, Jean-Luc is able to form a good team around him and put the concept convincingly in the limelight. His background and extensive experience in the healthcare sector are obviously of enormous value in this regard. He knows exactly how the market works, where the bottlenecks are and how to respond to them. Now is the time to use Liv's success within general practices as a springboard to other target groups. Like NOM, we are convinced that it will succeed once again. Because of the quality of the application, but especially because there is still much to be gained in the area of support and prevention.'