Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey can be a transformative experience, and for Paul Nichols, the co-founder of elli, participating in the European Innovation Academy (EIA) proved to be a pivotal moment in shaping his startup’s trajectory. As the launch of his innovative cognitive impairment care app approaches, Paul shares his inspiring story of how EIA equipped him with the necessary skills and insights to navigate the founder’s journey successfully.

Can you tell us briefly about your current startup elli?

It started from a personal experience for me, having seen the stress, sleepless nights, and constant worry it caused for my mum and dad as they cared for my grandma who lived independently with dementia. With dementia recognized as a top global health issue, elli enables millions of loved ones around the globe to live independently and safely without undue stress to their families. elli is a mobile app that connects people with early to mid-stage cognitive impairment to their families, allowing them to manage their daily activities with ease. elli enables safe independent living for longer, delivering peace of mind to the loved one’s families.

What made you want to join EIA?

I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy solving problems in creative ways. EIA was a great opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone, meet people from all over the world, and learn what it takes to build a startup.

How did participating in EIA help you in your entrepreneurial journey and in founding your startup?

Participating in EIA was incredibly helpful for me. It gave me the chance to learn how to turn a problem into a solution and then into a viable startup. It also opened my eyes to the possibilities of entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to solving social issues.

Are there any lessons you learned from EIA that you still use today?

Definitely! One of the things I learned during EIA was the lean canvas, and I still use it today when I’m trying to determine the viability of an idea. It’s a great tool for thinking through the different aspects of a startup.

Was there a mentor at EIA who particularly inspired you?

There were so many amazing mentors at EIA, but Matteo Mistretta really stood out to me. We’ve stayed in touch and become friends since the program ended, and he’s been a great resource for advising me on technical capabilities for some of my ideas.

What are your future plans for elli?

We are quite excited about elli and the traction we’ve developed over the last 6 months with both users and potential customers. We are on track to launch our MVP shortly and have a strong product roadmap in place to continue to ensure elli is delivering peace of mind and prolonging the independence of its users. We are excited about how our social enterprise has the ability to change the lives of millions.