Established in 2017 by Innovate UK and The Prince's Trust to nurture our next generation of experts and influencers, The Young Innovators Programme provides potentially life-changing support to budding entrepreneurs, bringing a £5k cash investment, a living allowance and an invaluable 1-year package of business support tailored to specific needs.
This year’s Young Innovator Awards saw four ‘Welsh Winners’ – and in this final part of our current Young Innovator series, we spotlight the invention and entrepreneurial spirit of Matthew Richmond, who has created a unique mindfulness app – Hippocamp – in light of his own experience when struggling to find anything that helped him focus …
A software helping the search for balance and equilibrium
Matthew’s unique subscription-based app records the user’s breathing and provides analysis of trends in their breathing cycles – helping them understand their own mindfulness and build-in effective meditation. What inspired Matthew to build the app which has already won him a prestigious accolade in the Health category of the Young Innovators Awards?
“I’d turned to mindfulness apps myself in search of calm” explains Matthew “but found the pre-recorded scripts rather cold and impersonal. Rather than offering focus, they were often distracting.”
That’s when the graduate in financial maths from Cardiff University came up with the idea for a ‘very different’ type of mindfulness app. “Hippocamp records your breathing as you meditate and provides an accurate real-time analysis of your breathing cycle and its trends. So it helps you understand and optimise your meditation.”
“The pandemic challenged us all and had an impact on everyone’s wellbeing” says Matthew. “For me personally, not being able to play lacrosse and see my friends had a real effect – and as a student of maths I certainly understood the importance of keeping the right equilibrium in life. Meditation is important to me in achieving that balance, as it is for millions of other people. If Hippocamp helps people reach that equilibrium, I’ll have reached my goal. That’s why I’m passionate about making it available through an affordable subscription model, so it can have the maximum positive effect.”
A programme built on support and camaraderie
With Hippocamp at product development stage and Matthew co-foundering with a partner to help develop the proprietary software for this stress-busting app, what advice would he give to any other innovators currently carrying an idea that they believe can make a real difference?
“It’s easy to say ‘go for it’ – and of course you should – but try and get as much support and help as you can, on every level. I came across the Young Innovators programme just two weeks before the closing deadline for applications – and spent every evening working on my pitch with my friends and family. Their help and encouragement, then and now, has been critical for me.
“Once you’re on the programme, you’ll enjoy the mentorship and practical support that you need – and for me, meeting up with dozens of other innovators, each with their own vision but all sharing the same commitment, has probably been the biggest help of all. It’s shown me that we’re all a work in progress – and I’m looking forward to using that perspective to learn more about scaling a business and becoming the best leader that I can be.”
Over the last few weeks, we have been proud to showcase a Programme that’s Co-funded by Cardiff Capital Region and fully supported by the Venture Skills & Talent hub – celebrating awards that recognise both outstanding achievement and the importance of young innovators as relatable role models creating economic and societal benefits through innovation – all geared to shaping a fairer, more resilient and more productive society.
We’re looking forward to watching the next stage of growth for Matthew and Hippocamp as together they help the wellbeing of Wales and the wider world – and if you would like to know about the Young Innovators Awards and the rest of our remarkable Welsh winners, go to www.venturewales.org