5 min read

Startup-Corporate Collaboration:Keleya Case Study

04 January 2022

Victoria Engelhardt entered the entrepreneurial world with a mission: to provide reliable support to women during their pregnancy. With that, Keleya was born. Almost every pregnant woman has to deal with different physical complaints during pregnancy, such as morning sickness or back pain. Many questions arise with the first child and this can be very overwhelming. When looking for solutions, as well as for questions about the right diet or exercise, for example, women tend to be confused rather than being really helped. Back then, solutions for pregnant women only offer one-size-fits-all content or are offline (e.g. birth preparation classes) and hence inflexible or often booked up.

Keleya’s vision is to make pregnancy (and in the next step the time after labour) an even more beautiful experience by enhancing the well-being of the woman. With this empowering vision, the female founders applied for the SpinLab Accelerator program. One of the main reasons for applying to SpinLab was the direct access and potential collaboration with SpinLab partner AOK PLUS - one of Germany's largest health insurance provider of choice for over 3 million people in Saxony and Thuringia.

Keleya was part of the 7th SpinLab classPhoto: SpinLab

SpinLab and AOK PLUS have been cooperating since 2017 as part of a strategic partnership to jointly drive intelligent solutions for the healthcare system of the future. By bringing companies together with inspiring startups, we as innovation hub foster exchange and add a new taste to innovation processes. 

“The partnership with SpinLab helps us to keep our eye on the pulse and to identify at an early stage which topics might be relevant for us. The cooperation has always resulted in very fruitful collaborations. For Keleya, we enabled access to our market experience, and we benefit greatly from their input and the topicality of the issues," explains Daniel Tietze - AOK PLUS product manager.

First digital prenatal class in Germany 

AOK PLUS stands out for its particularly family-friendly benefits. These include many additional services for pregnant women that do not cost more and a 500€ budget. The founders and AOK PLUS recognized the problem of the lack of birth online courses at an early stage. To solve this issue, the Berlin-based startup joined forces with AOK PLUS to develop and launch the first app-based and digital childbirth preparation course in Germany. Within three months, the team developed a 100% funded digital childbirth education course. AOK PLUS was particularly helpful in assisting the startup in understanding the extent to which their program could be reimbursed by health insurers and what needs to be done for Keleya to be recognized as a preventive measure.

With the help of the digital birth preparation course, expectant mothers receive all the information they need for a good and safe birth. The topics are structured in modules. Throughout, the relevant information is compiled and presented by experts such as midwives, gynecologists, physiotherapists, yoga and pilates instructors. A special feature is that the app adapts individually to the pregnancy with a customized program. Keleya is like a coach for your pocket, which adapts to the week of pregnancy and individual complaints. A desktop version is also available in English and German.

The app has over 100 workouts, yoga and meditation exercises that are individually adapted to the pregnancy phase. Many health insurance companies reimburse the course. Photo: Keleya

SpinLab connected us with the right people right from the start, which is why we had comparatively short lines of communication and got an answer very quickly when we had questions. Especially for the start of the birth preparation course, AOK PLUS gave us excellent support. We received content-related, legal and also communicative help. And last but not least, the initial impetus for the course came in part even from within the internal organization of AOK PLUS”, explains founder Victoria.

Furthermore, she states that SpinLab has given the young startup team access to key players in the E-Health industry that they would otherwise have had difficulty reaching. The great cooperation with one of the largest health insurance companies was more than valuable and definitely one of the greatest successes during the time at SpinLab. Also, the connection to other health startups and the community of the Smart Infrastructure Hub were very beneficial for the startup. Since the end of 2019, the Keleya app has been a medically certified product. 

As part of the cooperation, the Keleya premium version was offered to pregnant AOK Plus employees. In this way, the startup received valuable feedback from users, which could be used directly to improve the product. While participating in the Spinlab accelerator program, Keleya has developed strongly and was able, for instance, to attract the attention of numerous investors as the winner of the best pitch at the HHL SpinLab Investors Day.

From lifestyle only product to certified medical product

During the 7th SpinLab class, Keleya has expanded its concept into health product, including CE certification. AOK PLUS product manager comments: "Keleya recognized the potential of digital childbirth education courses and acted quickly - launching such a high-quality course in such a short time is remarkable." A pilot project turned into a success story. Several corporations with health insurances and with the German Midwives Association, increasing user numbers as well as several awards show that the hard work has paid off.

During the participation in the SpinLab program in 2018, the product has developed remarkably. “In the beginning, we had an app for pregnancy with a focus on exercise and nutrition. It was more like a lifestyle app. Over time, we have evolved into a medically relevant app thanks to the collaboration and mentoring from SpinLab partner AOK PLUS ", says Victoria Engelhardt.

Meanwhile, Keleya has a team of 20 employees and over 20,000 active users every month. The number of users has been increasings even more during the corona pandemic. Victoria says that they cooperate with 18 health insurance companies, and more partners are coming. Since its founding in 2017, the startup has quickly established itself as one of the most successful E-Health startups in Germany. The product range of Keleya has expanded. Now there are not only courses for mothers but also for fathers-to-be. In addition, a fitness program (for the time after pregnancy), a postpartum course and a postpartum box were added. In 2020, the founders additionally developed a digital platform: Via ammely, the new central platform for a simple, transparent search and mediation of midwife services, expectant parents can easily search for their midwife. 

If your startup also wants to take off like Keleya and have the chance to run pilot projects with real impact then apply for the SpinLab Accelerator program. Follow us on social media to not miss the application deadline. Another exciting case study in the energy sector with SpinLab Alumni Die Energiekoppler can be read here.
Linh Pham

Written by Linh Pham

Linh holds a master's degree in media and communications. In the past years, she has worked as an employee and freelancer in different editorial offices. Since 2020 she is part of the SpinLab team and is now responsible for public relations.

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