26 October 2022 Moonbird - the World's First Handheld Breathing Coach moonbird – the World's First Handheld Breathing Coach Distractions often triumph over our focus. So, it helps to have something to hold onto. Your breath not only keeps you alive. You can also use it to restart yourself. In that regard, moonbird has one simple and easy mission – to help as many people as possible discover how much power they hold. Just by breathing. Personal Background Stefanie Broes is the CEO and Co-Founder of moonbird. After studying Biomedical Sciences, Ms Broes did a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Master’s degree in Law (IP and ICT Law). Then, she worked for two start-up companies, a medical device company, and a consumer brand. “For me, it was a no-brainer to start my own company where the end goal was to improve the health and happiness of people. When I started discovering what focus-enhancing techniques, such as meditation, can do for you, I submerged myself in this matter and wanted to help spread the word,” Stefanie Broes says. When it comes to meditation, there are lots of companies active in this space. But breathwork was still considered to be on the edge of the fluffy or spiritual side of the spectrum. With moonbird, the team aims to make breathwork cool, convenient, and accessible. What Keeps Stefanie Broes Up at Night? Before creating moonbird, Stefanie used to suffer from insomnia. She still does sometimes, because running your own business can keep you up at night, but luckily, she has the perfect solution for that: moonbird! “It sounds cheesy, but it’s really true. When I lie awake for more than 10 minutes, I grab my moonbird and breathe myself to sleep. It honestly truly works,” Ms Broes proudly shares. What Problem Does moonbird Solve? Stefanie’s team noticed that, in reality, many people were open to meditation and breathing exercises. However, they were finding it difficult to maintain their practice. It’s great to practice together with your coach or therapist, but if you want to continue doing your breathing exercises at home, it becomes more challenging. “That’s why we came up with the idea of developing a tactile tool you can put in your hand that guides you in a simple way and gives you feedback about the effects on your body (biofeedback),” Stefanie explains. moonbird is different from the competition since it’s non-digital because phones are keeping us already busy enough. Instead of using visual or auditive cues, the device uses the sense of touch to guide people. Beginning of Entrepreneurial Journey and Current Status “It all really started one evening, when my brother, Michael, and I were having dinner at home, and we talked about the problems some of our friends and relatives struggled with: lots of stress, anxiety, and difficulty with sleeping,” Ms Broes shares. Many of their friends were prescribed breathing exercises by their psychologist or physiotherapist, but it seemed difficult to actually practice breathing on a regular basis. Stefanie and her brother realized that many people were open to meditation and breathing exercises, but it was hard for them to practice. That’s why Stefanie and Michael developed an intuitive breathing device guiding people to breathe slowly. Science has shown that when you breathe really slowly, your body relaxes. Fast-forward to today, moonbird has developed and commercialized its device. The company is active in five countries and has helped thousands of people to breathe slowly in order to combat stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Client Success Story “One of our clients suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, much like 10% of the average population,” Stefanie says. To cope with her anxiety, the client had already learned about the power of breathing. She was already doing some breathing exercises from time to time, but during a panic attack or an anxious moment, it was very difficult for her to stay focused on her breathing. Since she got her moonbird device, she started using it daily. The tool helps her a lot by keeping her focused on her breathing. What’s more, the client takes moonbird with her almost everywhere since her fear has recently become more intense. The mere idea that she has the device with her is already reassuring. Biggest Achievement “Selling more than 10,000 devices in our home market was a huge milestone, and now seeing it take off in other markets is also really important. Gaining traction in your home market is just a bit easier than elsewhere. I am really proud of that!” Stefanie Broes says. The Tipping Point That Made Stefanie a Doer The fact that Stefanie would use the product herself, and she’d recommend it to her friends is what made her realize how important moonbird is. “That gave me the final push to start.” Future Impact of moonbird The company wants to create durable products and compelling services that guide people to use the full potential of their own breathing to improve their mental and physical health. Ultimately, moonbird’s goal is to help millions of people use their breathing to live a healthier, happier, and more conscious life. Impact of the Current Situation on the Start-up’s Development “The current external climate is providing extra headwinds. The e-commerce environment is challenging as marketing costs have gone up. We’re entering a new cost-of-living crisis, and consumer confidence is at an all-time low,” Ms Broes explains. All this means that people’s ability to spend their money on non-essentials is under pressure. On top of that, there are additional local challenges such as the euro hitting parity with the dollar, which negatively influences the costs of goods and suppliers. “Nowadays, it’s quite challenging to launch a successful e-commerce business, but if you look at the overall trend, not just the last two years, e-commerce is still on the rise,” Stefanie says. moonbird is a new business, so they’re testing a lot of marketing and sales channels in order to overcome the current climate’s challenges and not be too dependent on just one channel. So far, this strategy has proven to be a success for them. How Has moonbird Benefited from Tech Tour’s Events and Activities? “We have been part of the TechTour Digital Health in Lausanne and Braga. Both events were a wonderful way to meet new, international investors. We have had many fruitful outcomes and are still in contact with some of these investors, so thanks for this!” Stefanie Broes concludes.