Christina Colmer McHugh, director and co-founder of health tech company Moodbeam tells us how she came up with the idea for the wearable device and companion app after her daughter became anxious at school
What do you currently do at Moodbeam?
I am one of the co-founders and co-director of health tech brand Moodbeam. I head up the new relationships and communications side the business. My co-founder and co-director, Jonathan Elvidge, heads up the technology development side of the business.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
I came up with the idea after my daughter experienced a tough time at school. I wanted to be able to stay in touch with how she was feeling when she wasn’t with me and was on high alert after that. After a lot of research, I couldn’t find anything else on the market that would allow this type of wellbeing monitoring with the potential to make a positive difference to lives.
I approached Jonathan, a friend of the family, with the idea. Jonathan was the founder of the Gadget Shop and co-founder of Red5, so his tech background was the perfect fit for exploring its possibilities and we soon embarked on creating Moodbeam together.
Since then, we have developed an award-winning wearable device that allows users to log their mood and monitor their emotional wellbeing or that of others, and has found itself to be a valuable solution within workplace wellbeing, education, health and social care and of course, personal care and connection. The device links to an app and gives insight into how moods change over time and shows patterns and trends that can support positive change.
Who do you admire?
I’m a firm believer in surrounding myself with positive people who inspire me every day. My ex-colleagues in journalism, and those colleagues I now work alongside within C4DI in Hull, blow me away with their ‘can do’ attitudes.
When I stop to consider those that I admire, they are all people who have broken the ceiling in their respective environments. I look up to many of the great women in the world – Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Ginni Rometty, Veronica Guerin to name just a few.
I’m also inspired by some amazing men, including the likes of animator Peter Dodd, and Jonathan, who constantly remains humble despite all he has achieved over the years.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
It would be easy to say I wish we’d started earlier – if we had, we would have been able to help even more people. However, the whole idea for Moodbeam came out of personal experience, which is what makes it so special to us. So, I’m happy that it happened how it did as it’s given the business a real heart.
What defines your way of doing business?
Caring and sensitive – our goal is simply to help others, either help themselves or their loved ones.
We also have a one in ten initiative; for every ten Moodbeam wristbands we sell, we put one back into the pot for those who need help. We’ve been able to help even more people this way.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
I would pass on some pearls of wisdom that spur me on every day. For example, ‘measure twice, cut once’ – in other words make sure you prepare what you need to do a good job. And more generally, always tell the truth – it will always come back to bite you if you don’t.
It is sometimes tough but it’s important to remember that you have created something that could quite possibly change lives, so just keep going.