Interview with Niina Venho, CEO and co-owner of Moodmetric

Niina Venho

Today we’re interviewing Niina Venho, the CEO and co-owner of Moodmetric. She is an M.Sc. with background in electronics manufacturing. At Moodmetric, she serves as the promoter and link between the customers and the company’s product development. Here’s what she had to say…

How would you pitch your company? What’s your elevator pitch?

The Moodmetric Ring is a beautifully designed, elegant smart jewelry with research level technology to help you live and feel better. The device helps users develop and gain emotional strength with daily visibility to stress factors, emotional levels, the number of minutes the wearer’s mind has been calm, and the periods of high emotional load.

Moodmetric technology is based on measuring small conductivity changes in skin which are due to the autonomous nervous system reactions, thus emotions. Skin conductance measurement by a ring is unique; it provides great possibilities for both individuals and researchers to better understand the human mind and our emotional experiences.

The Moodmetric ring is a scientific device on your finger. It measures the autonomous nervous system reactions by detecting electrodermal activity (EDA) of the skin. EDA is widely used in psychological research for over 100 years.

What sets you apart from competitors?

Our competitors vary a lot. The most obvious competitors are the ones providing wearable electrodermal activity measurements:

  • Laboratory devices in use at universities and research centers: normally strapped to two fingertips with wires to a bulky measurement unit. Expensive, not targeted to consumer or daily use.
  • Specialty devices which is designed to bring a better lifestyle to people that live with certain/specific conditions (i.e. Epilepsy).

Other biofeedback said to train mental fitness and help to cope with stress:

  • Heart rate variability measurements to some extent – but they tend to require chest sensors that are worn for some days, after which the data is extracted. Not meant for continuous use.
  • EEG measurements – brain activity monitoring requires a headband with touching points on forehead.
  • Trainings to concentrate and calm the mind – business/life coaches, mind-body trainings such as meditation, yoga, etc.

What sets us apart from the laboratory devices is that the Moodmetric ring is small and wearable, and can be used anywhere while the data can be extracted afterwards.

Compared to other devices the main point is that we measure EDA from where it is best to measure: from palm side of the hand/finger. Our readings are very accurate and it is live, continuously updated data that can be seen on the smartphone app.

What’s your business model?

We target to sell the Moodmetric ring both to individuals (interested in the wellbeing of mind), companies (for workplace wellbeing) and research organizations (to be used where EDA measurement is currently applied).

On-line services are under development, to provide additional benefits for users.

Can you share some numbers? How many users do you have?

We have produced four different prototype rounds during two years. All of them have been working ones, and tested by over one hundred users.

Where do you see the company going from here?

We intend to grow and continue to develop our product. We have a lot of feedback from users and would like to provide them the desired features.

The research and mHealth industry is something where we want to be an active player. That evolves constantly and there it would be important to find good partners to work with.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going?

mHealth has emerged from non-existence to action very fast. It has a lot of question to solve before going mainstream. I do not even know can it be fully mainstream, as the regulatory issues might keep it somehow restricted.

I feel that it will be divided to at least two parts:

  1. Sensors, apps, on-line solutions, tests, etc. that are strictly regulated and can be used to diagnosis, drug prescription and care planning. An invented example – an FDA approved heart rate monitor used by a heart patient, where the doctor/carer gets immediate notice if there are anomalies.
  2. Sensors, apps, on-line solutions, tests, etc. that can be used for personal monitoring and shown to doctor as an additional information, to support the care planning. Of course there are issues, as many devices and apps have no relevance to health whatsoever. But even a simple step counter can be really beneficial – certain amount of steps per day could even reduce the need for drugs or speed up the healing process.

Apps or devices could begin from group 2 and when they get enough users or their benefits are proven, they could apply for medical acceptance.

In both groups the big question is the amount of data – who processes it, where it will be stored and who owns it. Good thing is that there are many clever heads in different organizations actively working on finding solutions to these questions.