Anne Kristine Schwartzbach is the Founder and CEO of Confront, a digital concept dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of anxiety through the use of virtual reality.
For the past 12 years, Anne has worked as a special needs teacher, and her passion to help others is the core value of the company.
Two years ago, Anne was introduced to virtual reality, and immediately saw possibilities in using the advantages of this technology to improve the mental health of people suffering from anxiety.
Anne’s previous experience with and knowledge about anxiety serves as a great advantage, in working with the combination of technology and mental health to develop an easily used tool.
Anne has been working on the right format for Confront since 2016, and in January 2018 Confront was formally established as a Limited Liability Company.
Statistics from 2015 show that approximately 350.000 persons are suffering from anxiety in Denmark. Anxiety is used as a general term for several disorders that can cause apprehension, nervousness and panic attacks. The before mentioned disorders affect how we as people feel and behave and they can cause physical symptoms and affect a persons day-to-day living.
Confront focuses on improving the life quality of people living with anxiety in any capacity and uses videography and VR as a mean to educate, explore treatment options and recovery. VR has an immersive effect as it allows for the individual to be confronted with anxiety-provoked situations and provides an opportunity to practice difficult situations without being physically present.
In November 2018, Confront is ready to educate the first professionals in the use of the concept, and this will be followed up by a consumer and company part as well.
1. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LEARNING YOU HAD?
When you start making yourself noticed and standing out from the crowd, you get evaluated. Suddenly everybody has an opinion about what you are doing, how you appear and how you are living your life. For better and for worse. One of the most important things I have learned, is to accept that I can’t control what others think about me and my project. Realizing this, I have found a peace and confidence which I think is essential when running a start-up.
The opinion of others can quickly make you feel insecure and doubtful about your project. In situations like these, you must keep it cool and find your own balance between listening and sticking to you own beliefs. Not to say that I have a naive and narcissistic belief that I can do everything. I appreciate being challenged in an honest way that gives me input to reflect upon. Through mutual, constructive and investigative questions I get wiser about my project, myself and others. This doesn’t just account for entrepreneurs, but for people in general.
2. WHY ARE YOU THE BEST TO RUN YOUR COMPANY?
Because I manage to organize, execute and innovate, and because I’m courageous. When I’m completely engulfed in developing the next steps of Confront, or I see new opportunities in the concept, I can almost feel high. Apart from my abilities to execute, my background in teaching is just as important in the development of Confront. Having worked as a teacher for 12 years, I know the everyday challenges of the professionals, and I can see how my background knowledge adds substance and credibility to Confront. On this solid foundation, we have developed an easy and useful tool to help handling anxiety.
3. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND OTHER WOMEN TO START THEIR OWN COMPANY AND WHY?
Whether male or female, my recommendation is to think your entrepreneurial dreams through before taking the leap. Be aware that your choice will have costs. Not only financially, but also socially, personally and for your family. If you thrive with the idea of creating your own business, and your sincerely believe in your concept, then take the leap. However, you should make sure to have savings, as you can’t be sure to make a lot of money instantly – if ever. Prepare for ups and downs, happy moments and sleepless nights. And be prepared to never really have a day off. If you can accept this, you can make it a long way. That feeling you get, the first time you see your project developing and things working out, is what makes it worth having worked hard and made sacrifices.
4. WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP TO STAYING HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE WHILE YOU ARE RUNNING A STARTUP?
I focus on listening to my body’s signals, taking them seriously and acting on them. Especially when it comes to sleep. If I don’t sleep, I’m neither constructive nor productive. Besides this, stress is probably the most threatening disease for entrepreneurs. So far, I have managed to avoid being stressed, but it requires the ability to stop focusing on your work and relax when needed. For me, exercising is the best way to relax. I make sure to go for a run 4-5 times a week, and exercising makes me feel stronger which is also transmitted into my work life.
5. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU HAVE MADE?
I almost want to say – starting Confront 😊It requires commitment in a way that can be rather scary, and I sometimes feel that I must make a lot of sacrifices. But when I think it through, it’s also one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. If I must give a serious answer, it’s not having a co-founder from the beginning. I have really missed having someone to talk things through with.
6. WHAT IS YOUR BEST ADVICE TO FUTURE ENTREPRENEURS?
Keep on fighting, even on the bad days. I make sure to arrange meetings with others who’s either in or has been in a start-up. It gives me so much energy to meet all these super inspiring people.