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Founder profile: Zoe Stones, Co-founder & CEO of Ambr


Elena Ghinita

· 5 min read
Founder profile: Zoe Stones, Co-founder & CEO of Ambr
How HR Tech can help prevent employee burnout

Zoe Stones is the co-founder and CEO of Ambr, a B2B SaaS platform that helps managers prevent burnout in their teams. She is a former CEO of the travel tech company Traveldeal, leading it to its exit to BookUnited in 2019. She also worked as a Regional Lead at Uber and Management Consultant at Accenture, specializing in Talent & Organizational Consulting.

Seeing the high number of employees that were exhausted and close to burnout, together with her co-founders Steph and Jamie, they decided to create a product that will help managers help team members facing this chronic occupational phenomenon.

We asked Zoe a few questions about the team, the product and the investment round. Find the answers in the following lines!

Hi Zoe, you are the co-founder and CEO of Ambr today. Ambr seems to be a very much- needed solution that can change the growth trajectory of burnout cases we witness today.

Let's go down memory lane – how did you develop this idea?

Me and my two co-founders met whilst working together as managers at Uber, and we had a problem. So many of our team members were either exhausted, going off sick, or leaving the company, that it was making it difficult for us to do our own jobs as managers effectively. The common strand to all of these problems was, of course, burnout.

So the three of us went away to do some research into the problem, using my background in academic Organizational Psychology, ultimately with the goal of finding a solution we could bring into our teams to help us prevent burnout. But we couldn’t find one, so we created the tool that we had needed, and we founded Ambr.

What is your and your cofounders’ background? Why are you the right team to develop this business?

Although all three of us have worked at Uber and have backgrounds in consulting, we have very different specialisms that we bring into the business and into our individual roles.

Steph is in the role of Chief Commercial Officer. She managed large client relationships whilst as a Manager at Accenture, and led B2B Retention for EMEA at Uber Eats. She was also most recently the Lead for Strategy & Operations for Spotify UK.

Jamie leads product for Ambr. He previously led Product & Analytics for Uber in the UK, and was a technology consultant at Deloitte & Accenture. He has a degree in Computer Science.

I am in the CEO role for Ambr. I’ve been a CEO before, leading the travel tech company Traveldeal to its exit to BookUnited in 2019. I’ve also been Regional Lead at Uber, and started my career as a Management Consultant at Accenture, specializing in Talent & Organizational Consulting.

Why did you decide to make the switch from “employee” to “entrepreneur”?

For me, it was the people and the problem.

Jamie & Steph are two of the best people I have ever worked with over the course of my career, and the opportunity to become co-founders together was simply an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

Secondly, the problem of workplace burnout is something I passionately believe needs to be solved. And the chance to be fully dedicated to solving this problem, using cutting edge technology, to improve businesses and people’s lives, is something I am hugely driven by.

What problem does Ambr solve and how do you help your users?

Workplace burnout costs organizations hundreds of billion dollars a year in loss of productivity, absenteeism and staff turnover. Burnout also has terrible impacts on the individual, and is affiliated with dozens of negative health outcomes, from depression to diabetes.

We prevent workplace burnout by targeting its root causes, directly taken from academic research. We do this by measuring burnout risks within teams, then alerting managers when there is a burnout risk factor they need to be aware of or take action on. This allows managers to take action before the burnout risk factors take hold in their teams.

Which clients are you targeting?

For now, we are focusing on two major customer segments: scale-ups, and professional service firms.

However - a solution like Ambr is required across industries, and in the long-term we want to create versions of the Ambr product that also cater for industries such as healthcare, the gig economy, and education.

What is your competition and how do you differentiate?

There are two broad categories of competition. The first focuses only on treating the symptoms of burnout, such as coaching or therapy platforms, which come far too late to actually prevent burnout in the first place and can be extraordinarily expensive for organizations.

The second category are solutions that focus on adjacent problems to burnout, such as meditation apps for personal stress management or mental health platforms for employees with depression or anxiety. Ambr is specifically targeted on burnout prevention.

What’s happening in the industry you are in? What are the key trends?

I would say there are two key trends in the broad Corporate Wellness space at the moment.

The first is that as the industry matures, clear individual strands are emerging. So whereas previously, solutions covering culture, people management, mental health support, or burnout prevention, were viewed as one category, they are now emerging as separate strands that companies recognise they need to consider separately.

Secondly, there is a real focus on quantifying the impact of a product, and the value for money it is providing for its customers. At Ambr we believe it is critical that we can demonstrate to our customers the impact the product has had, and also that, as a software product, we are able to provide them this value at a fraction of the cost of other people-led products, such as coaching or therapy.

What makes Ambr special? Why should investors choose you?

  1. Our skillset as a team that combines a specialism in Organizational Psychology with a deep understanding of predictive modeling and analytics. As experienced people managers ourselves, we also have a deep understanding of burnout from a leadership perspective.

  2. We are focused on preventing burnout, not just treating it. This means we can have a much more significant impact on companies than any of the established solutions out there.

  3. Because we’ve already had exceptional engagement metrics with the product, such as 91% of employees being Weekly Active Users, and 100% of users telling us that Ambr has had a positive impact on their company.

Ambr is raising a €680,000 Pre-Seed equity round to prevent workplace burnout through software.

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