Start-up in global challenge final

George Fry

A start-up from Falmouth University’s Venture Studio, Launchpad, has won a place in the final of a global innovation challenge to find transformative diabetes solutions.

Neap is the brainchild of George Fry, who himself suffers from Type 1 diabetes. It offers people with diabetes stress-reduction techniques such as 1-2-1 therapy, weekly mindfulness sessions, self-care courses and the ability to journal their health and mood.

People with diabetes (est. 415 million worldwide and 4.9 million in the UK) are twice as likely to suffer emotional and mental health issues than those who don’t. While there are other diabetes management apps, Neap is unusual in linking together mental health and diabetes, which is not something that is widely catered for on the NHS.

Fry founded Neap in January 2021, when he was partnered with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust as part of the Launchpad programme to work on ideas. He already has some 300 users.

He said: “The stress associated with diabetes is a vicious cycle that can become overwhelming. 75% of people with diabetes do not receive the psychological support they need. This is a crucial requirement when most of the daily management of diabetes falls upon the diagnosed individual.”

The diabetes innovation challenge is run by US health giant, Cigna, alongside healthcare incubator, MATTER. The challenge sources solutions focused on empowering more people living with diabetes to reach their optimal health through supported lifestyle choices while navigating external influences.

Neap joins five other finalists from America and Europe who have moved from the incubator to the accelerator phase of the challenge. They will be mentored over six weeks, and expected to develop a pilot opportunity with Cigna, with a presentation day in December. Up to three solutions will win $10k each.

Launchpad is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Research England and Cornwall Council.