Young Innovators Success Stories: William Testeil, Famli LTD, South West
Visionary helps families to be healthy and happy
William Testeil shares a vision with his Famli co-founder to support the health and well-being of families through the first mobile app of its kind.
By winning the Young Innovators Award 2020/21, from Innovate UK and The Prince’s Trust, his ambition is developing apace with the app now used by more than 8,000 people around the world.
William identified a gap in the market for families looking to collectively support both parents and children to stay healthy.
At the time of winning the award, William and his partner had created a series of app Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) and together they were exploring market demand for their idea.
“Our assumption about the need to offer a digital family health solution was validated, giving us the confirmation and confidence to move forward with the product development as we started the programme,” he says.
With the support of his Innovate UK EDGE Innovation Champion, William completed the development of the Famli app and launched it to market in August 2021.
The financial support from Innovate UK enabled the team to expand with the hire of a freelance software engineer who has since been onboarded as Chief Technology Officer.
A key milestone has been winning Sweden’s Grand Challenge Hackathon to prevent childhood obesity by 2030 with the beta app version.
William says, “As part of this opportunity we are now completing research with Swedish families alongside the Swedish government to demonstrate the positive impact Famli has on preventing childhood obesity in children under six years old.”
He adds, “This aims to provide us with credibility to explore similar opportunities in the UK.”
The business has also started exploring partnership opportunities with schools in Gloucestershire and Cardiff to introduce Famli as the solution to enhance the wellbeing of pupils.
William says, “UK partnerships with schools and educational institutions are the foundation to scale our positive impact to wider groups in the UK.”
With the app now live, the team has been receiving positive testimonials which provided rich qualitative feedback and they are now on track to raise their pre-seed funding round of £300,000. They have also recently secured additional support through the Young Innovators Follow on Fund 2021/22.
As well as securing good traction in the consumer market, Famli has also recently won its first B2B deal with a medical company employing 200 staff in Florida, US.
William says, “This shows that our revenue stream will not be reliant on B2C income but can also include Business-to-Business (B2B) income as we grow.”
He now plans to scale in the UK to reach 50,000 families, achieved through a focus on user research and executing a marketing plan devised with the support of Innovate UK EDGE.
The Famli Health team is now five-strong with expertise in product design, finance and business development, software engineering, and marketing.
William says it has been this expansion and therefore the need to take on a more managerial role that has proved the biggest personal adjustment for him.
“From a leadership perspective, I have shifted a lot of my focus and personal growth on not just completing our usual business activities but now also taking care of the team. I make sure that each team member has the right work environment and support so that they can fulfil their potential and personal ambitions.”
He adds, “Since joining the programme, I went from working solely ‘in’ the business – on design, development and research – to now working ‘on’ the business – taking care of the team, creating systems, and business strategies.
The financial support from Innovate UK enabled William to fund technology development at a faster speed, expand the founding team, and reduce the number of hours working outside the business due to the living allowance provided.
William says this, alongside the business support activities organised by Innovate UK KTN, has been of immense value.
“Having an Innovation Champion to act as a sounding board on our progress and point us in the right direction was a huge advantage.”
“Not only did we really benefit from this ongoing support from our Innovation Champion and the interactive bootcamps organised by Innovate UK KTN, We were also able to cover our team’s weaknesses by having the opportunity to meet and speak with people of expertise in any business area that we needed. This wider support was truly game-changing for us.”
William says his vision remains focused on building a world in which the majority of families wake up healthy and happy.
“I feel very passionate about doing everything I can do to build a culture filled with support, kindness, and diversity – working towards making a positive impact on family health globally,” he says.
A £15,000 research grant from the Digital Catapult will enable the business to focus early 2022 on garnering and incorporating a deeper level of user insights for product development to increase and measure the positive impact on each family that uses the Famli app over 12 months.
“Our product roadmap is underpinned and constantly iterated based on continuous user-centric appraisals which align and adapt to user needs,” William says.
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We want to find young people from a diverse background in the UK with great ideas for starting a business who have real potential to make their businesses a huge success and we want to support them to realise this potential. We want to build a more inclusive innovation system by helping young people from diverse backgrounds to start and grow sustainable businesses.