- Founders: Jefta Vriend, Erwin Rietveld, Robin van Heukelum
- Founded in: 2021
- Employees: 8
- Money raised: -
- Ultimate goal: Helping 100 million people catch their breath by 2030
Breathing is something we all do. We even do it without thinking about it. And it is precisely the act of reflecting on how you breathe that seems to be so important. Together with respiratory therapists, the Delft company Glimp has developed two devices in the shape of two pebbles to help you learn to breathe correctly (again). Jefta Vriend, founder and CEO of Glimp, explains in this instalment of Start-up of the day why everyone should try glimping.
How did you come up with the idea for Glimp?
“It all started from my graduation project for TU Delft – where I received my Industrial Design and master Engineering, Strategic Product Design bachelor. As a product designer, I noticed that a lot of people don’t have a firm grip on those times between therapy sessions. I thought something had to be done about that. Something that literally gives you something to hold on to. That’s how we came up with small companions that measure your heart rate and breathing: the Glimp Pebbles. I went on to develop these as a continuation from my graduation project. A loved one who needed to recover from a burnout was an extra incentive to start my company.”
Breath therapy is still often a neglected subject in the medical field. Nevertheless, why did you choose to focus on an application for breathing therapy?
“Because we are aware that we have a lot to learn from respiratory therapists. We’re very keen to partner with respiratory therapists and offer them some support. The app that comes with the Pebbles is being designed and based on feedback from the respiratory therapists and their clients – who are willing to be our test subjects. We are now working with twelve different locations, where five respiratory therapists are affiliated to. The pebbles are already being taken home by their clients. They can work with them there themselves. This is how we can help the respiratory therapists provide better therapies. With Glimp, we offer a training tool that enables people to do guided exercises at home as well, and therefore recover twice as fast from such things as a burnout.”
How do the pebbles work?
“They are two devices that can fit in anyone’s hand. A thumb sensor is on the pebbles that measures your oxygen saturation level, heart rate and heart rate variability. It also specifically looks at the acute stress in the body during a session. We can then combine that data to track what effect the exercises are having on a person. We have written our own algorithm for this. The idea is that this stress naturally subsides during the sessions. The collected data is reported back to the client.”
“The user can choose between different breathing patterns and techniques. We use the Van Dixhoorn breathing method. For example, an exercise is breathe in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds, hold for four seconds. And repeat that for about ten minutes. Another one is monitoring the so-called ‘control pause’. The feedback that the client gets to see over the course of the therapy is very important for the recovery and maintaining the habit of breathing properly.”
You have several trial users. What are the initial reactions?
“The response has been very positive. They are being offered something for in between sessions. Many people find it difficult to work on their own at home. Doing homework is not something everyone can do, even if the therapist sends a reminder in between sessions. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, such a reminder from a therapist gets lost among all the other messages. People say they like the fact that they can see the pebbles and can therefore easily pick them up. A reminder is also sent in the app that supports the pebbles.”
How long will our readers have to wait until they too can take a breather with your innovation?
“We have set a target for early 2023. That’s when the first version will be ready for the market. We are handling the development all by ourselves. At the moment, we are working on the required certification and the validation studies. This was quite difficult in the beginning. An investor looks for demonstrable proof that our product actually works. But in order to do that we first needed money to build a prototype. Fortunately, we’ve managed to achieve that now.
By the way, we don’t want to become a health gadget. By this I mean that the Pebbles will not be available at Cool Blue or Blokker. The idea is that we will sell the Pebbles directly to therapists and companies. They take out a subscription with us for the pebbles and the software, and when the client is happy with them, they can take over the pebbles for a discounted price.”
HWhere will Glimp be in five years?
“Then ‘Glimp therapy’ will be reimbursed under the basic insurance scheme provided by health insurers. As a result, Glimp will have helped more than one million people catch their breath by then!Glimpse is derived from a glimpse of hope; the little speck on the horizon that you need to move closer to during the dark phases in your life. We want to be that little speck on the horizon by helping facilitate a small step in recovery every day.”