Almost every teenager experiences social anxiety at some point. But for some, these feelings linger long into adulthood with no obvious remedy. Serial technology entrepreneur Adam Hutchinson started thinking seriously about what he could do to help ease fears, phobias and anxious worrying, when he discovered that fully 80% of people with anxiety disorders receive little or no treatment and support.
oVRcome is a virtual reality smartphone application that literally helps people overcome phobias and social anxiety. Initial research suggests that there is an unmet need from over 67 million people in the company’s key markets, due to prohibitive costs, lack of available professionals, or simply as a result of embarrassment around seeking help. But the app makes treatment easy by providing a low cost, digital solution that people can use in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
Hutchinson is no stranger to solving interesting problems with tech. He graduated in 2009 with a commerce degree and since then has been coming up with creative ways of using technology. In 2011 he started the CamperMate app, and in 2013 launched GeoZone, a location data and advertising platform. Both these companies were acquired and integrated by Tourism Holdings in 2015 — becoming a pivotal component of the THL growth strategy at that time. But that was before we had a global pandemic.
Now with the ever present possibility of social lockdowns, fears of lurking infection and the likelihood of sharp needles featuring in our lives sometime this year; there’s never been a more significant time in recent history to apply technology to problems in mental health. However, oVRcome goes a lot further than many of the other more passive app solutions in the marketplace. By using virtual reality, the application actually immerses the patient in different training scenarios. The company has also invested in engaging a deep skill set to inform the project, including highly respected clinical psychologists, software developers and a usability experience specialist. The company is also building traction within a community of interest through a highly informative health and wellness blog.
The company has been hitting milestones whilst keeping busy with content creation, customer trials and data collection. There has also been a distribution agreement inked with a Sydney based clinic and the app is live on the Apple App Store and Google Play.