Nina Kiwit and Manuel Kraus Are Helping People Stave Off Cognitive Decline

Who says keeping your brain healthy can’t be fun?

Nina Kiwit and Manuel Kraus

Name: Nina Kiwit

Company: MindAhead UG

MindAhead logo

What are you building, and who benefits most from it? 

MindAhead is a digital tool for the early detection and digital treatment of cognitive impairment. 

We are developing the first therapy app for people with mild cognitive impairment to prevent or slow cognitive decline, the goal being to avoid the onset of dementia and improve patients’ quality of life. We combine an evidence-based behavioral activation therapy plan with a patient-adapted user interface for an effective long-term therapy approach. 

What is one of your startup’s most impressive accomplishments?

Within a few days, several hundred users were testing our first prototype, which consisted of a 20-minute brain health assessment and a two-week intervention program. The tremendously positive feedback we received encouraged us to continue with MindAhead because it’s clearly something people need. 

What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?

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So far, one of the biggest challenges for us has been the strategic shift from a purely prevention-focused application to a digital therapeutic platform that enables us to address patients directly. The main challenge was to drive the business strategy in terms of business model, market access, and market maturity. Despite the relatively early change in direction, we were quick to implement and are now on the right track. 

What tool or app could you not live without and why?

Maybe this is not the most creative answer, but I’d say Slack and its latest feature Huddles. We are a remote-first company whose founders are based in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, and without constant and good communication, the company would not be where it is now. 

What marketing strategies have worked for you?

So far, we have focused on everything related to memory and brain health to reach our users, and that has worked great.  However, we are still in the process of developing our direct sales and content marketing strategies that will be used after the product launch in March 2023.

What’s the best specific piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with motivating and helpful people who want to help you succeed. There will be more than one person out there who does not believe in you, which is perfectly fine, but you do not have to surround yourself with them 24/7. Find mentors who have experience and can share their knowledge with you—you are sure to need it. 

What does your company’s trajectory look like over the next five years?

Our vision for the next five years is to provide the elderly with digital therapies and tap the potential of an aging society. To this end, we will start with our tool for the early detection and digital treatment of early Alzheimer’s patients. After a successful market launch, we will turn our attention to other diseases that we want to address in the aging healthcare market.

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