Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

Can you give a brief introduction about your company?

We believe that every teen deserves to like themselves and be happy with who they are. Our mission is to prevent the loss of bright futures due to depression, bullying, and suicide.
We do this by creating mobile games for teens to improve their emotional awareness, build resiliency, and foster compassion for themselves and other people. We package our mobile games together with resources for teachers and schools, to create a student mental wellbeing program.

How did the idea of LULIO come across to you?

I’m completing my doctorate in clinical psychology on adolescent emotion and the effects of group counseling. Through my research and my work as a school counsellor, I saw many teens struggle with self esteem. I saw a lot of loneliness and teens not liking themselves.

To tackle this, I created an in-school program for small groups of teens. I’ve run it with many schools, and the results were great. It was proven to reduce depression and improve self-esteem, but it was limited in scale. After meeting my co-founder Mark, who has a background in technology, together we came up with the idea of translating elements of my proven program and research into a digital game that could help so many more students.

Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

How do you think this program can help youngster to stay positive?

Our first product is LULIO Game=Strong, a series of mini-games designed for teens to learn about their personal strengths and build awareness of their overall wellbeing.

Our second flagship product is LULIO Antipodes, a multiplayer role playing game for teens to build up positive strengths. There are specific modules and learning outcomes presented through game levels, missions and challenges.

We believe that by building up a young person’s emotional awareness, self esteem, resilience, and compassion, they will come out psychologically stronger and better prepared to cope with the challenges of school, relationships and society.

Teens like excitement and innovation, how can you make the game stand out and make a long lasting impact to people?

There are definitely a lot of games that vie for the attention of teens. We’re not looking to compete head-on in the App Store. Instead, our goal is to create a solution that can be implemented through schools, but is still fun to play.

All of our mini-games are designed bottom-up. From current scientific literature, specific measurable factors were identified that are strongly associated with adolescent mental health. We then create a game layer on top, making it interesting and not very obvious what we are looking for.

In addition to this, everyone is inherently interested in knowing more about themselves, and since our games provide insight into emotions, we feel that teens will be motivated to play to learn more.

What was your biggest challenge or the worst decision you had made and had to flip away from afterwards?

In the beginning, we saw potential in our algorithm for being able to catch early warning signs of depression and suicide. We were so excited about it. But in the end, people were a bit frightened by us constantly talking about suicide, depression, and early risk identification. After much user research, it seems like we were overly focused on the negatives and neglected the positives. So now we are shifting towards what works, being more positive, and increasing emotional awareness, resiliency, self esteem and compassion in young people. Our algorithm and game isn't changing, but our message is.

Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

What is your dream and vision for LULIO?

I dream of a world where everyone grows up happy with who they are and have compassion for themselves and other people. This will be a world where there is no bullying, loneliness, or suicide.

How do you get your brand out there? (Did you leverage any connections to other startups? Any other meaningful relationships or connections that helped you?)

We have won some competitions and grants such as CCMF, and also got to exhibit in places such as TedX and TechCrunch, which widened our networks and connections. This has led to many more opportunities for us to become more active in the social startup space. We got into SOW Asia’s i2i accelerator program, and we are learning so much and putting all that into practice now.

Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

You are growing your team really fast, how quick can or should a startup team grow? Any advice/ watch-outs?

The most important thing we look for in a teammate is a strong belief in our mission of helping prevent the loss of bright futures to depression, bullying and suicide. If everyone in the team is on board the same mission, then amazing things will happen.

TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. What keeps your team going? What do they value the most?

Learning and not being afraid of failing. It's also important that we can talk about everything without fear of being judged. If we want to help young people build resilience and compassion, and be happy with who they are, then we need to stay on that path as well.

What is the one reason to start a startup in HK? And what would be the reason not to do so?

It made sense to start in Hong Kong given that I have been working with schools in HK for many years now. Also, as a city that is working hard to raise its profile as a global startup hub, there are a lot of great resources available for startups.

One reason why Hong Kong might not be ideal for startups, especially social enterprises, is that there seem to be fewer investors willing to take a chance on earlier stage startups.

What is your #Startup Passion?

If not you then who. If not now then when.

Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

Meet Jamie Chiu, psychologist and founder, LULIO

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