Depression, burnout, divorce, addiction and unemployment. Scrolling through today’s headlines and the weight of these modern-age ailments can feel overwhelming. In fact, one could be forgiven for throwing up their hands and simply tuning out.
Not Ollipekka Kivin.
Some 18 months ago, he read in a newspaper that children often have to wait for up to six months to see a speech therapist. How could it take so long? He was spurred into action.
Numerous phone calls to dozens of therapists later, Kivin found that the waiting lists can be much more than just six months, potentially years. Therapy provision is extremely time- and location-sensitive, and therapists simply cannot be everywhere at once.
Alongside having an empathetic streak, Kivin was also an engineer, and he set to work harnessing the two to come up with a solution.
“I figured that we have the tools to provide health and to do things much easier,” Kivin recalls. “We don’t have to live in the dinosaur age any more.”
The end result was Solki.live: a highly secure video communication tool between professionals and their clients. Back on the phone to the same therapists, their response to his idea was extremely positive. This was in part due to a restrictive clause in EU doctrine.
“In Europe, we are not allowed to use platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts in healthcare and social services. It’s forbidden for situations where we exchange medical information or info where people can’t be identified,” Kivin states.
Spreading the word
Kivin knew that merely coming up with the software wouldn’t be enough. He had to prove that customers could easily receive the treatment they need without them visiting a clinic or the therapist travelling to a customer.
“The software is super easy to use. You simply register and launch a one-on-one conversation, or a webinar for thousands of people,” he states.
Thus, the ‘1000 Helped’ campaign was born. Kivin hired professionals from around Finland to conduct online seminars on society’s most pressing ailments using his software. The ‘1000’ in the name indicated how many people could simultaneously participate in each seminar using Solki.live.
Needless to say, the campaign was a huge success. “It proved that we can actually provide services, such as healthcare and social services, without depending on time or location.”
Having proved that the software works at home, Kivin began looking to start a test pilot in the US.
“I’m lucky to have a mentor living in Dallas, who is the head of the IT department for a hospital with 250 000 employees. He’s helping me to reach out to potential users.”
Kivin has commenced negotiations with doctors and speech therapists, hoping to meet the needs of public-sector providers that lack these kinds of tools.
“There has been considerable interest in the platform, as they don’t want to use Skype for their medical purposes,” he explains. “Patient security is one thing I emphasise, as we also don’t store their data and people can join anonymously.”
Making its voice heard
Given the restless creativity of many startup entrepreneurs, it’s common that they have many irons in the fire. Kivin is no different. He is also working on a mobile app that taps into e-commerce.
“It’s a size guide app that takes your body’s measurements. We are co-operating with an e-commerce site that can then recommend the right-sized clothing for you.”
But for now, he insists, Solki.live is the best fit for his attention.
“My clients appreciate that the service works completely in-browser, and can collect payments and record everything and also host other videos.”
Kivin points out that many of Solki.live’s functionalities are not present in the competition.
“I’m very excited, let’s see how it goes. I’m also happy to offer the software to whomever wants to try it out,” he says.