Company

Problem

Up to 3% of the population stutters (British Stuttering Association, 2019). This condition can have distressing symptoms that deeply affect social and professional interactions and can define the life choices of people who stutter (PWS): 60% of PWS suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) (McAllister et al., 2017). Even though it is not currently possible to cure stuttering, once it is established in adulthood, a variety of techniques has been developed that, when mastered, help PWS to gain fluency levels similar to those of a non-stutterer.

For many PWS, the largest problem is not learning the techniques themselves, but turning these practices into habits, as this requires patience and support with ongoing practice.

Patients usually attend speech therapy once a week for 1 hour. This is only a very small portion of the waking time they potentially have each week to learn and practice. We believe that technology can help in the endeavour to increase practice times and see faster, long-lasting results.

Solution

BeneTalk is the first wearable device, which helps people who stutter (PWS) to establish and maintain fluency enhancing techniques learned in the initial therapy process. This is achieved through a novel application of digital technologies that enable the first implementation of an out-of-the-clinic therapy, supported by real-time feedback and performance history tracking.

As a treatment centred on a wearable device, BeneTalk emerges as a new product linked to an innovative digital service that helps PWS to be in control of their own therapy. BeneTalk delivers a long-awaited solution to an old therapeutic problem with the potential to demonstrate significant step-changes in efficacy, speed and cost.

BeneTalk also benefits the speech and language therapists (SLTs), as a tool that improves the efficacy of the customised teletherapy delivered, by gathering more objective data during and between therapy sessions.

Therefore, BeneTalk acts as a virtual coach for PWS, as a therapeutic tool for speech and language therapists (SLTs); and as a scientific instrument.

Global Impact

Besides teletherapy, there has been no procedural change to the methods of treating PWS since the necessity was first acknowledged. While a few technologies have been tested (mainly Delayed Auditory Feedback systems), none have been widely adopted. BeneTalk is based on the same evidence-based techniques used by professional speech and language therapists (SLTs), enhanced by a radical paradigm change to the delivery of speech therapy.

Through the application of new technologies such as wearables and artificial intelligence, BeneTalk has the potential to:

  • significantly reduce costs of speech therapy
  • increase the effectiveness of fluency therapy for PWS

This disruptive strategy will deliver a competitive advantage, enabling penetration of the current underserved market, as well as delivering a vital solution to PWS with limited resources who cannot afford the cost of traditional therapies.

BeneTalk will help unlock the vast social and professional potential of PWS currently constrained by their condition, who often make professional and life decisions based on their inability to speak fluently, instead of their ambition or skill. Any society where BeneTalk is commercialized will benefit from its economic and social impact, particularly the UK, where the support to PWS is not adequate due to lack of SLT provision and training (Bercow, 2018).

Markets & Vision

We are a team of experts in engineering, product and speech disorders, and our vision is to build the most accessible and effective AI speech therapy that has the potential to transform the lives of 10% of the population affected by speech impediments.

We are focusing on stuttering as our primary target market (affecting up to 3% of the population).

Secondary markets include other speech impairments (such as cluttering, voice disorders, and language delay/disorders), breathing capacity training tool, eloquence tool for public speakers and virtual assistant for noisy environments.

We are looking forward to hearing from investors who would like to invest in our vision. If you are interested and would like to join our journey, please send an email to jordi@benetalk.com.