The Founder Stories brings us closer to entrepreneurs and their journey creating a startup in Demium. This time, we spoke to Nataliya Storozhylova, CSSO and co-founder at WeVoice. Nataliya joined Demium Málaga in 2020 and founded WeVoice as a therapeutic tool to help people cope with stress and anxiety through behavior-change techniques. Her expertise, knowledge and skills helped to create an insightful mental health app, intended to determine your condition and shape up your mood.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and the project you’re developing.
I’m Nataliya, a visionary, innovator, coach & entrepreneur, who was born & raised in Kyiv, Ukraine, a world citizen, who has lived in 7 countries across continents in the past 7 years. I am passionate about transforming revolutionary scientific discoveries into technological progress and bring innovative solutions into the biohacking, longevity, wellness & healthcare system.
My background is in Life Sciences, R&D and Innovation, I hold a Ph.D. degree in Nanomedicine and Pharmaceutical innovation from University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain & and University of Nantes, France. I am a scientist, an innovator and scientific advisor, a co-founder and Chief Strategy & Scientific officer at WeVoice. So, I’m developing a startup in transformational stress management to revolutionize the future of wellbeing & healthcare, to create the world’s most robust anxiety & stress-model based on biofeedback. Why? Most people still drastically underestimate what stress can do to them. Stress has become one of the leading causes of death, a key contributor to cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, aging, sleeping disorders, cognitive disorders, mental clarity, concentration, productivity, creativity and fertility.
Our mission is to help people cope with stress and live a stress free life. We want to give you back the best version of you in Health, Mind, Impact, Performance & Human Connections. Our solution allows you to take a step back and determine where your stress stems from, and teach you how to consciously transform your stress patterns to improve your wellbeing making the latter a life lasting habit.
WeVoice helps people identify their stress patterns via biofeedback, using the information our bodies communicate when experiencing stress. Our technology, based on voice recognition features (vocal biomarkers), allows us to evaluate your levels of stress or anxiety. Certainly, under stress our jaw muscles contract and perform differently and we basically produce different sounds, which allows the app to evaluate stress levels before and after using it.
The product is based on voice-emotion AI-powered by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) & Rapid Personal Transformational therapy (RPT) to help our clients understand their mental wellbeing, find repetitive patterns and situations and bring awareness. And ultimately, the final part of a solution will consist of a library of digitized sound-healing sessions to tune your brain frequencies and modulate your state of mental wellbeing in 7-15 min. We could say that we are building the future without alternative substances to fully enjoy our health and wellbeing.
Q: Tell us about some of your lowest lows and highest highs being an entrepreneur
“Challenge” has become one of my most favourite words in this journey. Another one is “action”. As one of my mentors Lisa Nichols says, “Action is the antidote for despair. Action is the prescription for success”. Life belongs to those who are willing to take action, give it a 100% of you, stop getting ready to be ready, go the extra mile, fueling it with curiosity, passion and grit. My third most favorite word is “resilience”.
The most challenging part for me was to deal with fear when you’re extremely tired and at the edge of your performance and yet in the middle of the fundraising process. Our first pre-seed round has been exhausting, pushing the limits back all the time, after 4 months of extremely intense startup journey, depleting all our resources (including financial) and closing the round during 2 months.
Back to the core, back to fear, fundraising is all of it: it’s a challenge, action & resilience. So, it is overwhelming. How do you deal with fear though? Fear is a made up story about something that has not happened yet projected into your future. Disempowering and energy sacking, right? Why not make another story that empowers you? When you give yourself permission to fail, you really just give you permission to fly. So we gave ourselves permission to fail, stand up and move ahead. The highest highs will continue when you have raised the funds and you’re in a position to build your company. The biggest treasure that we have is the team, bonded on core values, capable of creating hundreds of valuable products. Our team doubled in just one month. We’re 6 people now. This is one of the first heights I truly celebrate right now.
Q: Why did you decide to start in Demium?
I’m a first-time entrepreneur. I’ve realized that being an employee at top companies would no longer work for me, if I wanted to create something really meaningful in my life. About a year ago, I realized that I wanted to bring to the market a product that could measure stress levels based on biofeedback, so I started working on the solution. I have applied to Demium to mature my startup idea. I knew I had to join Demium Malaga. I’ve already lived in Barcelona and Lisbon, I was ready to move forward. When I joined Demium Malaga I met my co-founders with whom I had the same mission, vision & core values. We were climbing the same mountain on neighbouring trails. Certainly, we were working towards the same goal to create the product in stress management, which is why we decided to continue doing it together. By the time I had started the program, they had just established WeVoice. When I was pitching my idea to the committee and they were pitching theirs, we realized that the next part of the journey would be together.
Thanks to Demium I have been able to validate my idea, vision, build a strategy and find my international & multidisciplinary team of co-founders.
Q: What has creating WeVoice taught you on a personal level? What would be your advice for somebody considering starting a business?
Establishing WeVoice has moved me to a space where I feel much more limitless & unstoppable than ever before. Fighting your fears and learning to leave them in the back burner l, allows you to build something meaningful. A reminder, the difference between you and successful people is simply that they failed more times than you did. When you give yourself permission to fail, you really just give yourself permission to fly.
Give yourself permission to fly instead of staying in your comfort zone. This is the only way to build your confidence and excellence. Very many times people will tell you “it’s impossible”. Simply meaning that it’s impossible for them, not for you. If you will keep asking the right questions, the right advisors will mentor you; if you will give excellent service to the world, the right partners will join in to share your vision and all the right investors will come to support you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing what you want, having faith & guts to do it, being passionate, gritty, and letting go of your fears…one fear at a time. To have the results only 5% of the population have, you need to do what only 5% of the population does (rolling up the sleeves and getting the most important things done). Geniuses are made, not born. Do your excellence, do your best service, become unstoppable and unforgettable.