One day I was researching healthy apps available on a market and I came across Jourvie. It’s a mobile app that helps people with eating disorders.
I met Ekaterina Karabasheva, the app’s founder, during the Tech Open Air in Berlin. She was one of the speakers there. If you want to find out more about the Jourvie app and how it all began, check out this interview.
Could you tell me something more about your project? What’s the story behind it?
Our main goal is to help people with eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia or binge eating during their therapy. We are focusing on making the recovery process easier and more efficient. The idea behind this project came from my personal experience.
A couple of years back I was an anorexia patient myself. During that time I experienced many challenges that made my recovery process very hard. One of them was keeping my food journal, where I had to gather my feelings and thoughts every day. The reason why it proved to be unpractical was that all the protocols were written on paper. It was also difficult to stay motivated without the support from my friends, family and the people around me. I’ve created Jourvie as an app that supports the patients during this challenging process.
Are you obliged to write down everything you eat during the treatment? Is that how it works?
Not only what you eat, but also how you feel about it. For example, that it makes you feel afraid or stressed. It is important because having to deal with difficult emotions might lead to a binge attack or to an urge to purge.
What does Jourvie mean?
The name comes from French and consists of two words “day” (jour) and “life” (vie). The message that we’re bringing across is that, during recovery, every day the patient has to make small steps to return to the healthy life. And we are here to support this process.
Does your project bring profits? How do you manage the financing?
Last year we received a grant from Ashoka – a foundation for social entrepreneurs and SAP. We are also constantly looking for other opportunities to acquire the assets. Foundations and EU grants are one of them.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
We launched the Android app at the beginning of the year and managed to reach a lot of users. The next plan is to launch the app for iOS. In the future we would also like to build a platform for therapists. Such platform would allow them to communicate with the patients more effectively and to access important information.
Is your app free and will it stay that way?
It is free for patients and users.
Do you agree that female entrepreneurs face more difficulties?
I haven’t experienced difficulties like disrespect from others. Sometimes there are small challenges, for example when you are the only woman in important meetings, but so far I haven’t really experienced negative influence from the outside.
What does being a female entrepreneur mean to you and do you consider yourself one of them?
For me an entrepreneur is someone who spots a problem and wants to develop a solution for it. Someone who wants to change something. For me, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. You are a person who sees something you don’t like, something you want to change for the better and you just start doing this.
What inspires your actions?
There are many sources of inspiration, but the one that gives me most power is feedback from our users. Sometime people tell us: “What you’re doing is great. I really like the app and it helps me in my everyday life”. Sometimes the feedback says: ”You should do this and this better”. This is also great for us to see. It helps us realize that what we do has impact.
What also drives me is the bigger picture behind everything we do – making the therapy easier for people who are in a difficult situation. And last but not least, I search for inspiration in everything that surrounds me, like other inspiring and motivating entrepreneurs that set a great example to keep going.
Thank you very much for the interview. I wish you best of luck with your mobile app.