Shoorah: how a female celebrity-turned-founder enhances wellbeing

If there’s one market that continues to boom, it’s wellbeing tech. From digital journalling, mood tracking, sleep analysis and even diet monitoring, technology has made it easier for us to remain connected to and better manage our inner selves. The wellbeing market shows no signs of slowing down, with recent figures indicating it’s set to be worth over eight and a half billion euros by 2032. What’s more, it’s estimated there are over 350,000 health apps now available globally, with around two hundred fifty of them being released daily.

Even celebrities have become figureheads for mindfulness and wellbeing. Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Michael Phelps and Harry Styles are just some of the stars supporting and, in some cases, co-founding apps that aim to promote wellness. Another celebrity who has recently deep-dived into the wellbeing apps space is Ferne McCann, Co-founder and COO of the new wellbeing platform, Shoorah. The TV personality, who is best known for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, BBC Celebrity best home cook and, most notably, ITV reality series, The Only Way Is Essex, is using her fame and previous experience journalling to help promote positive mental health.

We spoke with the TV Presenter, mum turned Co-founder, about her new app, the concept behind it and how she juggles both motherhood and innovation.

Tew wellbeing platform, Shoorah

Where did the idea for Shoorah come from? 

Both Lorri (my fiance and business partner) and I regularly used wellbeing apps before we met and it wasn’t until we started talking about it one day that we realised that the hardest thing about using them was having to dip into different apps for different tools, whether that was affirmations, meditations, journalling, or expert advice. So we decided to create an app that’s a one-stop-shop and that has all of these wellbeing features, and more in one place. We wanted to create something that fitted into people’s lives and was convenient and simple to use.

What problems are you looking to solve? 

I feel like a lot of people want to look after their mental wellbeing, and they know how important it is, but that they simply cannot find the time to prioritise it. Life is so busy and it’s incredibly easy for our own wellbeing to slip down the priority list, especially if it feels like it’s a big effort to do things to help ourselves. We wanted to design something that people didn’t have to make a lot of time for…that encourages small, simple steps to help support their mental health whilst recognising how much else they have to fit into their lives.

What makes Shoorah different from other meditation/mental wellbeing apps? 

I think the wellbeing space can be overwhelming at times and we wanted to keep it simple by creating one app that allows people to access all features without having to jump into different spaces for different things. We have an amazing team of Shoorah experts who have helped us create content that people can use and listen to anytime, anywhere. Later this year we’ll be introducing a ground-breaking new feature that is not offered by any other wellbeing app and yeah, we’re really excited about that!

As a female founder and parent can you tell us a bit about the challenges you faced in setting up and operating your first tech startup? 

Time is always a huge challenge! But I manage the juggle through trying to be as organised as possible, scheduling in both work and family time. I’m lucky to have an amazing supportive team around me and that helps with business and family. Another big challenge for me was learning to understand some of the technology behind what we’re delivering and having the confidence just to crack on and tackle things that I’ve never done before. Things like hiring staff, creating business branding and carrying out a crowdfund raise. But it’s all been very exciting.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are looking to take the leap into establishing a tech startup? 

I’m still new to it myself so I’m not sure about advice, but, for me I like to start not with what we want to deliver, but with what our customers actually need and how they hope to access it, and build it out from there. I think you have to be fully invested in it, not just as a business proposition, but because it gives you meaning and you have a wider mission beyond simply business success. I also think you should always work with people who know more than you and learn from them as much as you can!

What are your ambitions for Shoorah? 

I genuinely think we are building something really special in Shoorah. I believe it will go on to be one of the most-used and most-successful wellbeing apps in the world and I would love to think we’ll help millions of people feel less stressed and enjoy life more.

How many users do you currently have and what has the feedback been like so far? 

Our user base is growing every single week and it’s amazing to see. Plus we have so many 5 star reviews that it really does make all the hard work worth it! It means the world to see them.

Is journalling something you would have done when you first got involved in television?

I’ve been in the TV world for 10 years now and when I first started I didn’t even know what journalling was. Six years ago I started to really work on my mental health and one of the first ways I did that was through journaling and also practising gratitude. I think journalling is under-rated. It gives me so much clarity and helps me write down my thoughts, feelings and intentions. I can’t recommend it enough.

And finally what’s next for you? 

I must say I’m so happy with where I am at in my life right now. I just love Shoorah, my media work is also so enjoyable and we have a gorgeous new baby in the family, so I feel very blessed. The future hopefully holds many more exciting adventures. Shoorah will be a huge part of that and I’m looking forward to it!

Rebecca Lee is a journalist and broadcaster of over 23 years. She also works in tech communications with ClearStory International. To date, she has written for and continues to contribute to The Business Post, The Irish Times, The Irish Daily Mail, The Sunday World, and, most importantly, European tech publication 4i Magazine. Rebecca also worked as a radio presenter for 13 years with leading Irish stations Q102 and FM104. Alongside balancing her PR and journalism work, Rebecca moderates events, WebSummit 2022 and Dublin Tech Summit being the most recent.