Minnesota-based Cindy Moy Carr has chosen to launch mySysters, an innovative female healthcare app, in the North East of England after finding all the help she needed at the Newcastle Startup Week festival last year.
mySysters is a social and self-care mobile platform to help women manage the symptoms that can occur from the hormonal fluctuations during perimenopause. An unfamiliar term to many in the UK, ‘perimenopause’ is the time before menopause when a woman’s body gradually produces less estrogen, possibly leading to hot flashes, night sweats, migraines, joint pain, anxiety and other symptoms. Symptoms typically start around age 35 and last into the 60s but may begin in a woman’s 20s. The app lets women track their symptoms, print a chart of what they’ve tracked, and share advice with other women in discussion forums.
Founder Cindy Moy Carr’s decision to launch her business in the North East of England is a direct result of the help she found at the Newcastle Startup Week festival in May 2017.
Cindy said: “It began by accident. There isn’t much of a startup community in Minnesota, or in the US for people who aren’t fresh out of college so I was originally looking for tech hubs in Canada. However, a 2012 blog post written by Paul Lancaster popped up in my search results that said Newcastle was a great place for startups.”
“I’d never heard of Newcastle and I still have no idea what magic Paul worked to get his blog post to show up in those search results but in fall 2016 I emailed him to ask if Newcastle was still a great place for startups. Then I went back to looking at cities in Canada.”
“The enthusiasm for the North East as a great place to start a business in his response made me reconsider the UK, despite the additional challenges in being here, and I decided to attend all 5 days of the the first Newcastle Startup Week festival in May 2017. Eight weeks after Newcastle Startup Week we registered as a UK company!”
“Coming to the North East gives us access to a tech startup ecosystem not available in the US. During my time at Newcastle Startup Week I met the legal and accounting team I’m using today: our attorneys Amy Wanless (Commercial Law) and Jill Dovey (Intellectual Property) from Muckle LLP, Dave Gibson and Sam Wood from Blu Sky Chartered Accountants. I also met Catherine Walker (Inward investment Director, Invest Newcastle), who’s been integral in helping us make connections in the area, from printers to eateries.”
“Our key tech partner is Sunderland Software City and we spend a lot of time in Sunderland. The team there have provided us with fantastic business advice and support, invested in us by paying for Chris Grant (Director, Throneware Limited) to work as our CTO and help us create a functional spec for mySysters. When the spec was done we sent it out to get bids to build the app. We got bids from all over the world but hired Throneware so Chris could continue to work with us. He’s phenomenal to work with and I can’t speak highly enough about him!”
“The North East and I, we took a chance and invested in each other. It’s already paid off for all of us. mySysters s at least a year ahead – probably two – of where we’d be if hadn’t come here, and my company’s spent a significant amount of money with local businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and shops getting to know and fall in love with the region. All of this was made possible by Plan Digital and Newcastle Startup Week!”
Jeni Banks (Business Support Specialist, Sunderland Software City) said: “MySysters is one of the first companies I supported in my role here and it’s been amazing to see how far they’ve come in the last year. They’re the perfect example of how powerful the support we have available in the North East can be. The fact that they have chosen to bring their business here from the US is an even bigger testament to the region.”
Chris Grant (Director of Sunderland-based app developers Throneware) said: “The first time we met mySysters we were impressed by their vision and how far they had managed to come on their own. We’ve loved being part of the community in the North East who have helped to support them on their journey so far and we can’t wait to continue working collaboratively with everyone involved to add new users and features to their platform.”
Jill Dovey (Associate Solicitor, Muckle LLP) said: “We first met Cindy at one of the 1-2-1 Legal Clinics we ran at Newcastle Startup Week and her enthusiasm for HealthTech and the North East is infectious. mySysters is now one of our ‘MiBusiness’ clients and we have supported Cindy with all sorts of legal queries and tasks including registering trademarks, reviewing tech development agreements, drafting terms of business and ensuring the right corporate structure is in place. It’s been really great to collaborate with other North East organisations like Blu Sky which is a relationship we first made at Newcastle Startup Week and proves businesses of all sizes can benefit from attending!”
Jon Dudgeon (Co-Founder, Blu Sky Chartered Accountants) said: “Cindy spotted us on stage at Newcastle Startup Week in 2017 and ended up chatting to one of our team during the after party. We were instantly hooked on her business concept and couldn’t wait to get involved to help grow the business. Working with Cindy provides us with plenty of opportunities to look at scaling and supporting a growing business and is something we thoroughly enjoy!”
Paul Lancaster (Founder & Event Producer, Newcastle Startup Week) said: “The reason we first started Newcastle Startup Week was to show the world what a great place the North East is to start or grow a business by bringing together all the best help, advice and support in one place. Cindy’s story is such amazing validation for the event and the close-knit and collaborative nature of the business startup community you can find in our region that we are consistently told doesn’t exist anywhere else. I’m delighted to hear what a positive experience she’s had so far and excited to know we’ve played a part in bringing such an important and revolutionary new healthcare app to life!”
The mySysters app is available now on iOS with an Android version planned for the future.
The third annual Newcastle Startup Week festival will take place across multiple venues in Newcastle and Gateshead between 13-17 May 2019 and ‘Early Bird’ tickets are available now for just £50.
See http://newcastlestartupweek.com for event schedule and speakers.