– by Rathwan Fathi
The story of James Stewart is an extraordinary one; a social entrepreneur who is well on his way to changing the world by building the best app in the world for smokers to kick the habit. In 2014 he won 2nd place in NVI’s Venture Dorm program; encouraging participants to build their own business and collaborate with experienced entrepreneurs bringing a wide range of skills and knowledge together.
He devised ‘Kick.it’, an app to help smokers quit when they’re ready. The app specifically helps smokers record when they smoke as well as their mood at the time, so they have a digital log book of their behaviour which then results in a personalised course when they are ready to make a kick attempt.
The Kick.it journey has not been an easy one. However, James’ perseverance through the many challenges he has faced since he graduated Venture Dorm are testimony to his passion for and commitment to solving the world’s leading cause of premature death. James initially had a prototype developed in India, he then raised investment from Hybrid O2, Adelaide’s newest startup accelerator and Aaron LePoidevin a director at PwC and hired a contractor in Canberra. That proved challenging so he has now managed to bring the development back to Adelaide as Hybrid 02 hired their first mobile developer.
He has the support of a Neuroscientist, Big Data researchers, respected motivational interviewing counsellors, specialists in ecological momentary assessment and interventions and New Venture Institute. He has even met high-profile leaders such as the premier (at NVI).
Another exciting factor was working with a user experience designer who has since been hired by Google and currently working with a talented UX/UI designer who was offered a position by Apple. He also had his 90 seconds of fame on popular channels such as ABC news and Channel 7 along with various other media coverage such as featuring in Onkaparinga Council Spring 2015 Quarterly Magazine.
Joseph Van Agteren has also teamed up with James and won a $25,000 research grant from The Hospital Research Foundation. Most of this grant will be invested in building the ‘Kick.it’ app. Working side-by-side with Joseph and Kristin Carson from Basil Hetzel Institute, James will further work on the behaviour change framework used for ‘Kick it’ to be developed into a platform for researchers to run trials and contribute to the mission of building the best app in the world for smokers to kick the habit.
James is currently in discussions with health boards to ensure he is building a product that has the potential to become consumer facing with an enterprise integration into digital health ecosystems.
James hopes to have a MVP of Kick.it working early 2016. He is currently recruiting beta testers, you can register on www.kick.it
Exiting time ahead for James, and to think, it all began with Venture Dorm!