startup founder at startup event called red brick demo day

Founder Stories: Meet Elias Palpatzis from Brightlife

Bringing mental health services closer to those in need

Elias Palpatzis talking about his startup Brightlife at Red Brick Demo Day.

Hey there, this is Emily from Red Brick. Welcome to our “Founder Stories” series, where we celebrate and showcase different startup founders who were taking part in Red Brick Accelerator. Hope you enjoy reading them!

This story features Elias Palpatzis, founder of Brightlife. Brightlife enables access to mental health services by facilitating the laborious administrative work of therapists.

Therapists have a lot of tasks outside of their therapy sessions. Brightlife automates those tasks so that therapists can better concentrate on their clients.

Mental health issues are on the increase, affecting not only individuals but society as a whole.Everybody knows someone affected by these issues. Within the founding team of Brightlife itself, each member can relate in their own way.

We sat down with Elias to discuss his team’s early journey to entrepreneurship, working while studying, and the highlights along the way.

Emily: How was Brightlife founded?

Elias: Our founding team is quite young. We met at high school. We have always discussed different kinds of business opportunities together as friends. For me, starting a business felt natural, because I come from an entrepreneurial family — my dad is an entrepreneur and my mom is lately too. The most important thing for our team was to work on something meaningful and that matters. An impact company.

We founded the company together after attending a HUBS course at Tampere University, called “Startup Experience”. When I saw the ad, I thought “alright, maybe we should do this.”. At the time, it felt fun to take the course together with my friends.

Emily: How are the different roles split in the team?

Elias: The founding team is Timo, Eero, Antti-Ville, and myself. We are a SaaS company. The team is a good mix of coders, medical and business students. We even have a professional football player on the team!

I’m responsible for accounting and finance. The tech team is Timo and Teemu, who joined later. Timo studies coding at Tampere university and goes to medical school as well, and he codes the platform. Teemu is also a coder and he joined the team last spring. Eero also studies medicine, his role is partnerships, talking to customers, and sales. Antti-Ville is a professional footballer and does our marketing and product development, talks to customers, and does the mockups for coding.

You need to be a skillful individual. You need to be able to put different hats on at different times. Then you combine individuals into a team, they need to be able to work together in harmony. This is how we are able to do it.

Combining studying and building a startup isn’t easy. You need to be able to wear different hats and prioritize a lot. The role of good teamwork and communication is important.

This is how we operate as a team, as friends, and as coworkers.

Brightlife team after winning the Gisu competition. (Antti-Ville Räisänen, Timo Hartikainen, Elias Palpatzis, Eero Haikonen)

Emily: What are some highlights from your journey so far?

Elias: We started thinking about the idea in January 2021. The first year until December 2021 was mainly idea validation, building the basics, talking to potential customers, and getting ready. On December 1st, 2021, we started the company and coding our platform. So we are one year old today!

What I’m very proud of is that we got our platform ready-to-use in just one year; we had our pre-launch in October. In the healthcare field, there are a lot of regulations, and we met all of them. We were able to add our integration to Kanta, the national health digital service, after receiving our A1 certificate after our first try. This enables us to safely store our patient data in accordance with the government regulations.

We also won a couple of startup competitions, and that gave us more validation. It is always nice when other people recognise your idea and see the benefit in it.

Emily: How do you keep your motivation?

Elias: The team is the most helpful resource here. Having a team that can lift you up in the moments that are the most difficult. I wouldn’t have been able to keep going without my team. Most of all, they inspire me. I think all of them are doing great things in their lives.

Advice to future founders

Validate your idea, speak to your customers.

When you think you have validated enough, double it.

Red Brick Accelerator is supporting the growth of early-stage startups, ready to make an impact with their ideas. Check out our programs and apply now!💚