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Meet Nina Salomons: Founder of Anomie, the company using a Virtual Reality headset for your mental health!

Hey Nina! It’s such a delight to have this conversation with you here at FEM-START. Can you give us some insights into what fueled your journey into entrepreneurship and the driving force behind the inception of Anomie?

Coming from a background in filmmaking, my passion for connecting people and taking action led me to organize hackathons and establish the women in VR meetup group in London. Unfortunately, at the time, it wasn’t a safe space for women due to prevalent locker room talk. Despite feeling insecure and being told I didn’t belong because of my film background, my journey evolved through co-working spaces and journalism. I interviewed startups in immersive tech, leading to involvement in tech-for-good initiatives like the ‘XR Diversity Initiative.’ The turning point was my project using virtual reality (VR) for foster parent training, rooted in my personal experience as an adopted individual. The project, ‘Being Me,’ revealed the impact of abusive environments on neural pathways. Creative art therapy, as we co-designed with BAAT therapists during the lockdown to create the software laid the foundation for Anomie, driven by a desire to help those who’ve faced similar struggles.

What were some key steps and strategies you employed to kickstart Anomie?

My journey into the social VR world during lockdown revealed parallels with therapy. Seeking input from therapists and coaches, I engaged in co-designing to understand their needs. Winning InnovateUK awards, including the ‘Women in Innovation’ award, provided crucial capital for prototyping. I met my co-founder on Twitter before joining the accelerator. Joining an impact accelerator aligned with my mission proved instrumental. Learning and growth during the pandemic stemmed from this unique experience.

Building and growing your customer base must have been an interesting journey. How did you manage to achieve that?

Engaging in virtual events, conversations with early adopters in charities, schools, and NGOs, and being part of relevant WhatsApp groups formed the core of building relationships with customers. Paid pilots, trialling and finding ambassadors who support us are essential to our success.

Reflecting on your journey, what were some significant mistakes, and what lessons did you learn from them?

Attempting a Virtual Reality NFT auction in 2022, despite good intentions, proved challenging due to external factors like the war in Ukraine. It taught us to thoroughly evaluate events and community work beforehand. Additionally, handling data from various software without a proper framework was overwhelming. Adopting tools like Obsidian with metadata helped streamline data collection, emphasising the importance of organizing information efficiently.

Since founding Anomie, what stands out as your biggest achievement?

Transforming an idea into a viable business is undeniably the most significant achievement for Anomie.

Any advice for aspiring female entrepreneurs, especially those facing self-doubt?

Apply to awards and competitions, seek support, and build a network to propel your product forward. Embrace a growth mindset and view failure as a crucial part of the learning process. Surround yourself with cheerleaders, people who believe in your vision, challenge you, and provide constructive feedback. Don’t fear launching an imperfect product; the market will guide your improvements. Visualize your goals, identify obstacles, solve the top three, and move forward.

Exciting times for Anomie! What’s next, and what can we anticipate?

Anomie has some exciting developments in store! Contact us through our website if you are looking to buy and use Anomie. We are also collaborating with a charity to create a training program for clinicians to use Anomie for therapeutic purposes. The program will be accessible to anyone with a browser, headset, or WiFi. We’re also exploring generative AI, mixed and augmented reality, engaging in discussions with investors. Keep an eye out for the latest updates as we continue our journey of self-discovery!

If you want to know more about Nina’ company Anomie, click here!

Are you interested in getting your own feature? click here!

 

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