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Friday, January 21, 2022

A Bumpy Ride to Investment: How Rehaboo! & Nordic Game Ventures are Defining Special Games

Rehaboo! Exercise Games was established in 2016, after the Slush Hacks. The team behind Rehaboo! won the “Happier Hospital” digital health challenge, organized by the new HUS children’s hospital and GE Healthcare.

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After the win, Rehaboo! claimed GE Healthcare’s prize and joined the Health Innovation Village with an idea to make Health Games. And the further development for the “Serious Game” continued at the Health Village. GE Healthcare is one of the medical device giants and pioneers in digital health, so the story started with the pros.

But Rehaboo! was a games studio. It was not so serious then — as making activation Fun, Empowering, and Measurable was a priority. This was awesome in theory, but when talking to health investors, they would always say “Wow, this is the future, but no.” Given our context, speaking to “standard” tech investors, both health and especially games, was terrifying. Talking to games investors turned out to be more interesting. Yet, we didn’t belong with them either. Rehaboo! has B2B and B2B2C offering, which is not the standard games business model. And later this issue showed up in sales as well.

The first friends, fools, and family (angel) round was easy. We had a functional MVP launched at Arctic15 2017 and started collecting funds for the first level Business Finland grant “Tempo.” That 30K€ was scored during the 2-day A15 event. Well, creating the future of activation was more straightforward than finding committed target audiences — the customers.

The healthcare sector required clinical trials. Our secondary target audience, elderly care homes, required the real need coming from the target audience — the inactive elderly and their already too busy caretakers. Piloting for the health game went on in all of the target segments. That included the COVID-19 pandemic pivot solving the problems with wellbeing at work and gamified break activation. The first set of games were finished and released.

The next level was scaling, as the game was universal and worked on almost any laptop. All we needed was money for scaling and international growth: the same challenges and consistent further development of the games. We launched the seed round at the beginning of 2020. Precisely the same challenges reoccurred — are we health or are we games?

A breakthrough happened in a way that we did not anticipate. At a meeting with Nordic Game Ventures, it became clear that we are not a game studio as such. “Special Games” (a new category name for serious games) is our genre. It turned out we were pretty good at that area, and Nordic Game Ventures became our lead investor in the seed round we closed in September 2021. Finally, we knew who we were and where our game belonged!

So there is something special in Rehaboo! Exercise Games, where the player’s body is the game controller, using a standard webcam to measure movements (no wearables or other sensors needed). Rehaboo! ‘s games are targeted for rehabilitation (patients in hospitals or at home), activation (elderly care), and prevention (workplaces). I’m so happy to keep on working on this game in the best startup city and country, where cold and dark bring us Slush, and the light of spring sun bring Arctic15.

 

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