Winners Tracey-Jane Cassidy, Rebecca Bright and Sir Richard Branson, Voom, Virgin Media Business, Startup

Management / Podcast: Sir Richard Branson’s Voom winner Rebecca Bright MBE on how her app is saving the NHS £6m

Podcast: Sir Richard Branson’s Voom winner Rebecca Bright MBE on how her app is saving the NHS £6m

Pitching to Sir Richard Branson in the Virgin Media’s Business Voom 2018 start-up contest was not as intimidating as Rebecca Bright MBE, founder of AI app firm Therapy Box, first thought, she tells Business Reporter.

Bright won the competition’s Scale & Grow category, taking home a share of the £1million prize for her app, which uses machine learning and AI to diagnose and treat hidden communication disabilities and has saved the NHS £6million since the firm started in 2010.

Bright decided to set up Therapy Box with her husband because the technology she was using in her work at the time as a speech therapist was outdated. The firm has since worked on more than 20 projects to help people with speech problems, and is currently working on an AI-based tool which helps identify children at risk of developmental language disorders (DLDs). In 2014, Bright’s work won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation, and in 2016 she was also made an MBE.

“Being innovative is really [about] being able to identify a problem and thinking of a realistic solution that is going to work,” she says. “It is thinking about ways to do things easier, faster and [how to make] an impact on patients.”

Innovation and Brexit

Bright is concerned about the impact Brexit will have on UK innovation and the trans-national spirit of collaboration across Europe. “A lot of our collaborators are from universities around Europe,” she says. “We really benefit from the hive of minds. There is a lot of exciting research and development happening across Europe. I hope, post-Brexit, that that will still be very much the case.”

Bright would like to see more ways to foster international collaboration. “If you are working in a very specific specialist area like we are, you might not have other people in the country that can chip in and give ideas,” she says. “But as long as international collaboration is fostered then we will be okay.”

AcidJazz by Kevin MacLeod, Free Music Archive, (CC BY 3.0)


Get our latest features in your inbox

Join our community of business leaders