2022 Most Disruptive Business School Startups: Sobriety Hub, Washington University (Olin)

Sobriety Hub

Washington University, Olin Business School

Industry: Behavioral Health

Founding Student Name(s): Clayton Canfield (’23)

Brief Description of Solution: Sobriety Hub is an operations management software solution built from the ground up for sober living homes.

You might be wondering: What is a sober living home? A sober living home is halfway between inpatient treatment (rehab centers) and normal life. Although sober living homes are not medical facilities, they help their clients remain sober and track their progress in recovery.

Sobriety Hub enables sober living operators to track drug test results, and monitor resident chores, recovery meeting attendance, emergency contact info, rent payments and more!

What led you to launch this venture? During some time away from school, I worked in a sober living home and read an article about data analytics on Tik Tok. It disgusted me that you could get better data analytics on your last Tik Tok post than you could in modern-day sober living software. That feeling was—and still is—my primary motivation for building Sobriety Hub.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? In three months, we went from just an idea and market research to a fully operational software package. Shortly thereafter, we were able to secure four paying users.

How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? Probably the most practical and useful skill I’ve learned while studying business is accounting. Knowing how to do journal entries and properly categorize in and outflows of funds has been incredibly useful. It’s been empowering to be able to manage Sobriety Hub’s books.

Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? The famous “Hatchery” startup business planning class at WashU last semester was a fantastic opportunity for us to develop our idea and get tons of feedback from industry experts and future customers. The number one lesson from the Hatchery was to get TONS of customer research before even thinking about product development.

What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? Doug Villhard has had a profound impact on the trajectory of our business. He was our professor for “The Hatchery” and now “The League” class—a second-tier course that builds on The Hatchery—which has been awesome.

Doug is very big on feedback. He taught us to obsess over our customer pain points. If we hadn’t spent three months focusing on customer pain points and doing dozens of customer interviews, we would have built something completely different, and it would not have worked.

What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you?  One entrepreneur who really inspired us early on was Katie Silversmith, a WashU alum who co-founded a successful co-working company, ThriveCo. She took the time to understand our idea (which was hard for us to articulate at the time) and help us simplify and narrow our focus.

Once she understood what we were doing, Katie enthusiastically supported our venture and urged us to keep working hard. I knew that Katie’s enthusiasm was genuine, and that was a great source of confidence that helped inspire us to spend the summer working on Sobriety Hub.

What is your long-term goal with your startup? Our long-term goal is to become the de facto choice for sober living homes all around the United States. If you are starting a sober living operation, you need Sobriety Hub. We hope to be able to provide aggregate, anonymized data sets for universities to practice data science, ultimately revealing important insights into behavioral health. For instance, how does recovery meeting attendance determine recovery outcomes? Is there a statistically significant relationship between involvement in 12-step recovery and passed drug tests? Today, no one has the data to sufficiently answer these questions; we are hoping to change that.



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