From a noble idea to a tool that changes lives, this is the story behind moonbird

December 6th, 2021,

4 min read

From a noble idea to a tool that changes lives, this is the story behind moonbirdfeatured image

Moonbird originated in Belgium, as the brainchild of Stefanie and Michael Broes, a brother and sister duo. When they noticed more and more people in their environment struggling with stress, sleeping problems, and anxiety disorders, they wanted to come up with an idea that could be of help.

And so it happened: welcome to earth, moonbird. Moonbird serves as a breathing coach in your hand and guides you in doing breathing exercises, in an easy and intuitive way. It all started as a noble idea, and today it has already helped thousands of people relax, calm down and sleep better.

The origin of moonbird

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One evening, when Stefanie and Michael were at home having dinner together, they talked about the problems some of their friends and relatives struggled with: lots of stress, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. A number of them were prescribed breathing exercises by their psychologist or physiotherapist, but it seemed difficult to actually practice breathing on a regular basis.

Stefanie: “We noticed that many people are in fact open to meditation and breathing exercises, but find it difficult to maintain their practice. It’s great to practice together with your coach or therapist, but if you want to continue doing your breathing exercises at home, it becomes more challenging.”

“If you’re practicing alone and without supervision,” Michael continues “the question is often whether you are doing breathing exercises properly, and whether they have the intended effect. You don't really know. We thought that if we could come up with an idea and develop a tactile tool you can put in your hand, that guides you in a simple way, and gives you feedback about the effect, then we can solve those problems."

And so a fruitful brainstorming session started in the Broes household. Literally, because the fruit bowl played the leading role that evening. Lemons, apples, pears, and avocados were picked up to see which one fit best in the palm of a hand. The avocado came out on top. Now you know where the shape of moonbird comes from.

From a smart idea to an actual working product

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The entrepreneurial siblings had thought about ways to help people deal with stress and sleep problems before. But until then, no idea excited both of them so much that they decided to pursue it further. This time was different. Michael: “Literally the next morning at 9:00 am we sat down with a product developer to discuss our idea. From that moment on things were gaining momentum.”

Even though it all went pretty quickly from then on, it wasn't necessarily easy. Developing a tool that consists of both hardware and software, without any product development experience, is a challenge. Especially in a time when everything suddenly comes to a stop due to the pandemic.

Stefanie: “I think we’re blessed with a good portion of healthy naivety. In a year's time, we went from idea to prototype to working product, an impossible task according to many. Fortunately, we received a lot of great support along the way.”

Michael: “The clinical world turned out to be very interested. They believed in the added value of moonbird in health care and therapy, which resulted in certain subsidies for further development. In addition, we received positive feedback and financial support from the start-up incubator Imec.istart. Thanks to them - along with the drive and enthusiasm to turn the project into a success - we succeeded in developing moonbird in a short amount of time.”

Moonbird’s future

Moonbird has its roots in Belgium and is now also available in most European countries, including Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, and the UK. The next step will be crossing the ocean to the USA. Stefanie: “It’s our mission to make people worldwide feel better just by breathing. Moonbird can make a meaningful difference.”

Curious to learn more about how moonbird is made? This is also a Belgium story. All devices are made with a lot of love and care, bird by bird, on Belgian soil. Read more in this article: Behind the scenes - How moonbird is made.

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