‘YouTube of Hope’ gears up for next fundraising jump

The company behind a Scotland-grown mental wellness platform gears up for multi-million pound fundraiser as it embarks on a journey to become what its CEO describes like the “YouTube of Hope”.

Glasgow-based Frog Systems, led by chief executive Phil Worms, is seeking to raise “no less than” £ 5million next year after the commercial launch last January of the service powered by its Ashia software. Backed to date by £ 2million funding from Capita Group founder Sir Rod Aldridge, Scottish business veteran Nick Kuenssberg and several other private investors, Frog Systems aims to provide a ‘holistic snapshot’ of day-to-day challenges people in an easily accessible video. driven format.

“We recognize that the majority of the solutions out there – whether it’s apps you download to your phone or the type of healthcare-like arrangements provided by employers – are very end-game focused.” , said Mr Worms. . “They are intended for people suffering from stress, depression, anxiety or any other health problem.

“We’re trying to provide a service that goes back four places to say that we understand as human beings that our general well-being is affected by many factors – the environment, our economic resilience, whether we have a job, if we can pay our bills – all these kinds of problems.

READ MORE: Kuenssberg’s Frog Systems company raises over £ 500,000

“So our product is essentially about… recognizing that we are not alone, that there is help and support available to us, and that if we were to act now, we hope we will not find ourselves in the position of needing medical treatment, or having to turn to alcohol, drugs, or anything else for pain relief from things we are suffering from and which in many cases can be treated.

Employing 23 people, Frog Systems designs each platform to meet the specific needs of customers in the corporate, education, sports and housing sectors, as well as member organizations. The service is free for end users, who are presented with short video clips of real people talking about the challenges they faced and how they overcame them.

In the same context, users are also referred to local organizations providing support in their area of ​​concern, whether it is drug addiction, depression, financial counseling, access to vocational training or questions of gender and diversity.

The company currently has 16 customers, the latest being the four professional sports clubs in Leicester – Leicester City FC, Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Leicester Riders – who launched their UnitedLeicester.com hub last week to mark World Cricket Day. mental health. It features videos of current and former players, staff and volunteers sharing their experiences with depression, alcoholism and racism.

READ MORE: Too much intensity as job satisfaction ‘drops’

Mr. Worms says video is the critical element, and that’s what sets Frog Systems apart from others in the market.

“90% of all Internet traffic today is video-based, and yet if you think of the majority of news sites – the NHS, government sites – they still rely on text, we So we actually have a ludicrous scenario where consumers demand their information as video content, and yet we provide it to them as PDF and text to download to cellphones, ”he said.

“So we run video stories so you can hear the people, you can get the resources and most importantly, at the back of the system, our customers have the ability to log in and see what is happening on their platforms, so they get a real-time indication of what is worrying their users.

Frog Systems was established in 2015 to develop a concept from Sir Rod’s education and regeneration charity, the Aldridge Foundation, which he established after retiring as president of Capita in 2006. He was then joined by Mr. Kuenssberg, who is president of Frog Systems.

READ MORE: Iomart mainstay Angus MacSween to retire

Mr. Worms joined the company three years ago, having known Mr. Kuenssberg for many years, while the latter was chairman of cloud computing company iomart.

Trained as a hotel caterer, Mr. Worms joined BT in 1984 when he opened his revolving restaurant in the BT Tower in London. From there he worked in marketing for the telecommunications group before moving to Scotland 22 years ago to join iomart at the start of the broadband rollout.

“If I have a claim to fame, it’s because I sold the very first consumer broadband connection in the UK,” he jokes. This was in the iomart name in 2002, when broadband was known as “asymmetric digital subscriber lines” and cost £ 150 per month for a 126K connection.

Mr. Worms spent 15 years at iomart, ending up as a Marketing Director before embarking on private charities. He also started the Digital Xtra Fund on behalf of ScotlandIS, a project that was coming to an end when he started talking to Mr Kuenssberg from Frog Systems.

“Our vision is to become the YouTube of Hope – the curated video channel of safe content with all content related to health and wellness,” Mr. Worms said. “I sincerely believe that we are at the forefront of the wellness market in terms of lived experiences. ”

Questions and answers

In which countries have you enjoyed traveling the most, for business or leisure, and why?

As a born and raised Londoner, I have always loved the energy, culture and diversity of cities. Glasgow, Boston, New York, Sydney and Rome have provided me with some of my happiest memories and experiences. That said, for sheer beauty, spirituality and tranquility, there is no place on earth like the Inner Hebrides.

When you were a child, what was your ideal job? Why did he appeal?

A forester. From an early age, my parents made me appreciate the beauty of nature and the need to maintain and manage our natural resources.

What has been your biggest break in business?

At the age of 23, I was given the responsibility of managing all catering services and special events at BT’s flagship headquarters in London and BT Tower.

What was your worst time in business?

In 1996 I started an award winning online gift basket business, one of the UK’s premier e-commerce sites. It really took off, given the early days of the internet, but I didn’t have the courage to put my house as collateral to raise funds to accelerate its growth. I sold it to a competitor for the buttons.

Who do you admire the most and why?

Sir Alex Ferguson – and I’ve been a Chelsea fan forever! He’s a winner. His record in managing football on both sides of the border will never be matched. Our company is headquartered in Govan, and while the shipyards of Sir Alex’s youth are long gone, the region is currently undergoing an ambitious multi-million transformation and we are proud to live there.

What book do you read and what music do you listen to?

I’m a fan of crime thrillers turning the page, so right now I’m enjoying Sam Bourne’s To Kill a Man. On headphones, it’s Celeste’s Not Your Muse who merges neo-soul with poetic lyrics, and ensures that it is delivered on its tag to watch.

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