Software-focused start-up Pogo Studio’s looking to reach new heights with Long Covid tech platform set for rollout

Edinburgh-based software-development company Pogo Studio's Long Covid technology platform is set for rollout across NHS Lothian following a pilot phase, with a mobile app to launch within weeks.

The firm says its Long Covid digital pathway, which involves GPs onboarding patients to the platform, was developed with NHS Lothian, and Chest, Heart, and Stroke Scotland (CHSS), and uses Pogo’s flagship information-sharing product Tailored Talks that is part of its fast-growing digital healthcare division Pogo Digital Healthcare.

Pogo added that the pathway enables patients to receive such Tailored Talks by filling in a Covid questionnaire, and it lets CHSS provide remote guidance and care to patients. The tech firm’s partnership with NHS Lothian was announced in March of last year.

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Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said: “The Long Covid digital pathway developed by Pogo Studio, NHS Lothian, and CHSS, is a great example of how the NHS, and the third and private sectors can work together to build a truly innovative solution to the challenges faced by people with long Covid.”

Pogo noted that in the last year it has made several client wins, and embarked on its first external investment round, adding that it has built on double-digit revenue growth in 2021 and is forecasting a sales increase of around 50 per cent in the current year.

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Chief executive Jack Francis, who founded Pogo in 2016, said: “The Long Covid pathway has really shifted the direction of the business, and it has been fantastic to see such great feedback from patients, clinicians, and the charity sector.”

It has also made a series of senior hires over the last 12 months, with Elaine Taylor joining as head of product in November, Zoe Strong hired as an account director, and consultant stroke physician Lucy Sykes brought on board as a clinical advisor.

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From left: Elaine Taylor, Jack Francis, Zoë Strong, and Jack Fisher of Pogo Studio. Picture: Stewart Attwood.

Tailored Talks, which is already being used by NHS Lothian and CHSS to help patients as they are coming out of an intensive care unit after Covid, was developed alongside Professor Timothy Walsh, director of research and innovation at NHS Lothian.

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Samantha Bedford, former head of innovation at Virgin Money, joined the team last year as commercial director to drive growth in the healthcare sector, both in the UK and internationally.

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Pogo Studio’s client base also includes NHS Scotland; Signal Mutual, one of North America’s largest shipping and port authority insurance groups; Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, Miller Homes, and social enterprise Hey Girls, which aims to eradicate UK period poverty,.

Mr Francis, who was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2021, added: “We have got amazing clients across a range of sectors, and our next phase of growth is going to see us win more business outside Scotland including in North America. It’s an exciting time for myself and the team.”

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Pogo moved into its new Edinburgh headquarters in CodeBase at the end of 2021, coming after Paul Reid, founder of tech start-up Trickle that looks to foster better engagement in the workplace and is also based in the Scottish capital – was appointed to the company’s board in 2020.

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