CEO of Sober Sidekick Speaks at Harvard Business School

CEO of Sober Sidekick Speaks at Harvard Business School

Chris Thompson, the CEO and founder of Sidekick Mobile Technologies, recently had the opportunity to speak at Harvard Business School. Thompson’s company has created Sober Sidekick, a sobriety and recovery app available on iOS and Android platforms. The app is designed to help individuals struggling with addiction or recovering from alcohol or drug abuse.

Thompson’s visit to Harvard was in relation to a case study that was written about Sober Sidekick. Senior lecturer Jeff Bussgang and case researcher Kumba Sennaar included the research in the Launching Tech Ventures course. This five-week program helps early-stage tech startups overcome management challenges. The case study focused on the business model of Sober Sidekick, in particular, whether they should pivot away from their successful lead generation model to charging health plans.

The inspiration for Sober Sidekick came from Thompson’s own struggles with addiction. After overcoming his alcohol addiction in 2019, he launched the app as a way to provide support and community to others on the path to recovery. The app uses an empathy algorithm to connect individuals with the right support at the right time, helping them avoid isolation and relapse.

One of the key decisions explored in the case study was the shift in business model from having treatment center clients pay a flat monthly rate to accessing the platform, to collecting behavioral health data to charge insurance companies. Thompson made this decision after realizing that the revenue model based on treatment centers conflicted with the values of the company. He wanted the success of the app’s members to be the primary focus, rather than financial returns for investors.

Since its launch, Sober Sidekick has gained significant traction. It had 5,000 downloads in its first year and has now surpassed 300,000 downloads. Thompson emphasizes the importance of healthcare being driven by consumer outcomes rather than financial interests.

The app is available for download on both iOS and Android devices, and Thompson continues to work on improving and expanding the app to help even more individuals on their journey to recovery.

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