Interview with the winners of the ENSP International Hackathon

In an interview with the winners of the Hackathon, we discovered more about the team behind the Smoek application, its beginnings, their decision of joining the ENSP event, as well as the next steps into bringing their idea to life. Check the interview and get to know them better!

How did you hear about the Hackathon? What was your motivation to sign up for it?

Smoek: It all started when it was mentioned in our ClujStartups community channel that there is this hackathon that has a great problem to be solved and great rewards. After checking the details of the hackathon an idea sparked instantly. The idea was inspired by my old roommate who read Allen Carr’s “The easy way to quit smoking” and managed to quit tobacco use after 12 years of constant use. Seeing him go through the withdrawal stages, and speaking his mind of how he feels and what keeps him going, or talking about what clicked for him when learning how addiction works or explaining his “AHA!” moments when reading the book, were simply mind-blowing.

What was the idea of the project? Can you describe in a few words your solution?

Smoek: In our research, we found out that Alan’s book, besides helping over 50 million people to be free of smoking, had a quit smoking rate of up to 38%! While this alternative solution had many perks such as being accessible and affordable, we understood from our Hackathon mentors that it lacks depth on scientific approaches. Moreover, it is a solution that targets only book readers.

We at Smoek brought the advantages of the book and tackled the issues it was facing by creating a mobile application that acts as a digital journey for quitting smoking, helping its user understand addiction and how to overcome it. It is based on validated psychological findings that help the user in overcoming the challenge and we plan to incorporate an AI component that learns based on successful journeys of the users and can compute new journeys with higher success rates.

Our solution stands out as:

  • affordable – it is less than half the price of the book or half the price of a pack of cigarettes in Romania
  • accessible – everybody with a phone can download it and can go through the journey in even more locations compared to when reading a book
  • scalable – it is a technological solution that can reach multiple markets

Can you introduce your team members? and how did the team get together?

Smoek: We are a total of 13 coming from totally different sectors and work environments, but all connected through our passion for Startups. Our team is composed of former and active members of the ClujStartups NGO.

In our technology team we have Raluca, Calin Sipos, Sorin Cosma, Mihai Dornea and Moldovan Valeriu covering software development, mobile app development and UI/UX. In our product team, we have Andreea Bota, Florina Truta, and Ioana Dragu, covering behavioral science, healthcare R&D and education means. Lastly, our business team is composed of Alexandra Nadia, Madalina Sumedrea, Adrian Suteu, Matt Greenley, and me (Hunnyadi Endre). We are covering aspects such as PR, partnerships, sales, finance, and overall project management. 

Going forward, do you have any intentions with the winning project?

Smoek: We continued the work right away. Until the end of this year, we are focusing on validating the concept together with a psychologist and early 2021 to have an experimental pilot. 

Moreover, we are looking into making an NFT collection for the stakeholders that are willing to support the end of tobacco use! 

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