No Isolation: Tackling Loneliness for the Less Seen and Heard
Loneliness can crawl under anyone’s skin and finding a way out of it can feel hopeless.
Whilst your everyday person is no stranger to loneliness, it is vulnerable children and seniors that are hit by isolation the most. Being purposefully shunned - due to an illness, immobility, or else - was a toxic practice that Karen Dolva, Matias Doyle, and Marius Aabel decided to put to rest.
With worldwide inclusivity in mind, the socially aware trio developed No Isolation!
No Isolation leverages advanced technology to enable the elderly and young adults with long-term illnesses a smoother societal integration. It introduces virtual messages, video calls, and two targeted products to create a better society for the incapacitated - and give them the chance to live life like anyone else!
Stricken by the impact of involuntary loneliness, the three inventors took it upon themselves to build a platform that allows anyone and everyone to feel included.
Here's how they did it.
The Road to No Isolation
The story of No Isolation begins with Karen Dolva, who was born in 1990, in Norway. Even as a young girl, Karen had always been ambitious and keen on following her dreams. Her ambition to become a strong individual grew so large that, at just twelve years old, Karen became the owner of an angular Volvo 240, a car she purchased with her holiday and birthday savings.
Right after high school, Karen stood at a crossroad of opportunities and ultimately decided to evolve her professional career at the University of Oslo, to study computer science. Studying in Norway’s capital ought to be fun and dynamic, yet Karen had struggled with constant loneliness and even isolated herself without intending to. Things got so bad for Karen that, at 22 years old, she noted that if she had died right then and there, it would have taken a few weeks for someone to notice.
The Trigger Point
Despite her troublesome college experience, Karen was not ready to succumb to the isolation and decided to keep fighting the good fight. During the final year of her studies, Karen decided to keep herself busy and managed to co-found a startup called UX Lab. The company turned out to be a mess. The founding team disagreed more than they agreed, and none of their business plans saw the light of day. Karen’s experience with co-founding and managing UX Lab had left her wondering if founding her own company would be a more fruitful business move.
And then she met Anna - a struggling mother who had lost a twin daughter to cancer fourteen years prior. In sharing her thoughts and feelings on the horrendous experience, Anna admitted to Karen that what had hurt the most was not the diagnosis, nor the painful treatments - it was the social isolation her family had gone through. Karen became triggered by the mere mention of social isolation, as she had suffered it herself, and instantly felt compelled to contribute to solving the problem less spoken of.
Karen Dolva. Matias Doyle. Marius Aabel. It took three co-founders to put the dreadful impact of isolation to an end, especially for young adults and children. Before joining the team, Matias Doyle had just finished his Bachelor of Computer Science studies at Oxford Brookes University. On the other hand, Marius Aabel was the most experienced person among the three, as he was an already established founder, CEO, CTO, and consultant at various startups. When the threesome got together, their main idea was to develop No Isolation as a platform that eradicates loneliness and rebuilds joy among the younger population.
Once the puzzle pieces came together, No Isolation was launched in October 2015, in Norway. Although a promising startup and idea, the No Isolation team had no idea how to build the platform further. Whilst all three were confident that they were competent enough to make a difference with their platform, they had no plan waiting to be realized. Instead of rushing to fame, for the time being, they focused on one thing only - listening and taking notes. After conducting thorough research on the topic, the three finally had an idea of where to take their platform next.
Their first target group the platform aimed to help were kids and young adults who were diagnosed with long-term illnesses, along with children with disabilities, whose diagnosis cost them their normal social lives. Whilst researching, the team disclosed a shocking statistic: 20% of the children who have missed school during their childhood - due to being hospitalized for six months or longer, stood minimal to no chances of ever getting a job. More alarmingly, this was not due to the fact that some young adults were diagnosed with an illness, rather because of the social isolation they had been through.
A Teleported Kid at School: AV1
After months of gathering data and input regarding the social needs of this forsaken group, the No Isolation trio had developed their first product, called AV1. AV1 is a communication robot that allows virtual “teleporting” to school, intended for children and youngsters suffering from long-term illnesses.
As a product, AV1 had gone through multiple testing phases before it was officially released. To build it, the product required heavy funding, along with respective certification and technology implementation. Luckily, the No Isolation team came prepared and covered all angles and requirements. To refine their product, No Isolation teamed up with Nemko, the first commercial Laboratory in Norway. The company mainly helped No Isolation to build and test their robot adequately, and gather the certificates required for releasing it to the public. Moreover, the No Isolation trio formed a partnership with Telia, a company that aided them in publicizing AV1 by featuring it in commercials. Without either of these partnerships, No Isolation would not have earned the reputability and acknowledgment they enjoy today.
No Isolation had its initial funding via an Angel Round, held in November 2015. This was followed by a second and undisclosed funding round that took place in April 2016. The first company investors recognized the community-oriented purpose behind No Isolation and encouraged the team to work even harder to promote their platform to the world. The No Isolation team managed to raise even more money down the line, from a total of 4 rounds, which further facilitated the development of their AV1 product.
All in all, since its launch, No Isolation has raised $10.6 million in funding.
The Generational Technology Gap
In January 2017, the mass production of AV1 kicked off, which was about the same time when the team decided to focus on their next-in-line target group – the elderly.
During their testing of AV1, No Isolation received a grand challenge to solve, delivered by the Norwegian Cancer Society. Namely, the latter asked the company to build something similar to their existing technology, but this time, aimed at helping seniors. The No Isolation trio accepted the challenge and did what they do best - research.
Alarmingly, their research showed that loneliness in the elderly can cause more harm than smoking 15 cigarettes a day - an appalling statistic in need of immediate resolution.
The main reason behind this fact was not that seniors experienced more health issues than the younger generation, but that their mobility - or the lack thereof - was causing tremendous loneliness and isolation among the older generation. Driven to fill the technological gap older generations encountered, No Isolation presented a suitable fix – and called it KOMP.
KOMP aims to help not only the elderly but their friends and family as well, mainly by simplifying the way they communicate and interact with one another. The product introduces video calls and messaging and makes both more accessible for everyone- even those with zero technological skills. KOMP won the 2018 Nesta Smart Ageing Prize, with Nesta recognizing that modern technology had repeatedly failed to meet every generation’s needs.
No Isolation, Today
With headquarters located in Oslo, and 6 more offices spread across 4 countries, No Isolation is leading the way to success and accomplishment. The platform enjoys an estimated annual revenue of $3.1 million, whereas their life-changing products - AV1 and KOMP - make it far more applicable and competitive than other platforms alike.
Looking in the near future, the company plans on expanding its products across worldwide markets, thus attempting to solve the isolation issue on a global scale.
In a world largely overwhelmed by the COVID 19 saga, and its strict urgency to ‘Stay Home’, No Isolation represents a breath of fresh air that invites unwillingly isolated souls to come out of their imposed societal shell and enjoy the good life - the way we all do!