The idea initially came from MBA Entrepreneurship Project.
‘We are luna’ is the UK’s first app dedicated to teen health and well-being. Acting as an ‘older sister’, it demystifies adolescent issues that have traditionally been difficult to explore.
It’s the brainchild of two Oxford Saïd alumnae, Jo Goodall and Jas Schembri, who met and conceived the idea while studying for their Oxford MBA back in 2020-2021.
Having secured £600k in funding, by winning over investors such as Octopus Ventures and the Syndicate Room, the 15th of November saw the free app launch on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Reflecting on the news, Jo said:
‘We're so excited to have launched luna today, after many months of hard work and raising investment. What started as a school project is now a venture-backed start-up that’s live on app stores – and this is only the beginning! We have big plans for luna, and ultimately want to take it global; there are millions of teens across the world, all with unanswered questions, needing a trusted source of information. We want luna to be the teen app of choice that’ll educate and inspire generations to come.’
The app, which was built in collaboration with medical professionals, adolescent experts, and teenagers across the UK covers topics such as skincare, body positivity, gender, sexuality and mental health through a mix of videos and articles.
Users can also take advantage of an Ask feature, where they can ask anonymous questions which will be answered reliably by experts.
Inspiration for the idea came from Jas and Jo’s own experiences, feeling they wished they’d had more access to accurate information about their bodies growing up. In their preliminary research, they found that 86% of girls and non-binary teenagers worry about whether they are ‘normal’, pointing to a much larger problem.
Their pathway to launching meant leaving their corporate careers post MBA and working on luna full-time for the last year Jas said:
‘Watching our peers take top tier jobs with high salaries post MBA while we’ve opted for equity and more risk has been hard. But nothing has been more rewarding than running every single aspect of this company, from finance to marketing, tech to people. Whilst there have been ups and downs, doing this together means that we always have support – picking each other up when we need it most.’
Their success testifies to the fantastic opportunities available to students at the school, as the idea initially came from MBA Entrepreneurship Project where students come up with a business concept to pitch to investors.
The investors and experts organised by the Entrepreneurship Centre, whom Jo and Jas pitched to, were so impressed with them and the idea that they wanted to know whether they would be taking it forward. Since then, Jas and Jo haven’t looked back.
Former MBA student and Oxford Seed Fund Managing Director, turned Octopus investor, Maria Rotilu stated:
‘We're thrilled to back Jas and Jo in building luna, helping teenagers transition to adulthood. With over 1 billion teenagers worldwide, we’re excited by the scale of opportunity and conscious of the depth of the problem. We’re proud to support the luna team as they build much-needed quality solutions for these adults of tomorrow.’
Their idea has gone from strength to strength, gaining wide acclaim from the business community. Back in February, luna was a joint winner of the Oxford Saïd Entrepreneurship Forum’s annual pitching competition.
Miruna Girtu, a partner at SyndicateRoom and a member of the oNetwork at the Entrepreneurship Centre, Saïd Business School, who was on their judging panel praised Jas and Jo’s ‘relentless energy and passion for improving teen health and wellbeing – providing support to young people at such a critical point in their development.’
Offering their advice to current, ambitious Oxford Saïd students, they said:
‘Our advice to current students is to take every opportunity that comes your way – you never know where it might lead. Don't feel like you need to stick to the "traditional" career routes, you’re in a brilliant position, with an Oxford MBA, to take a risk – so go for it!’
Reflecting on what the future holds, they said:
‘We raised the funds a few months ago with the goal of building and launching the luna app – which we have now met. The focus for us in the coming months will be to raise again so we can scale up and take luna global – reaching as many teens as possible!’