A NORTH-EAST health and wellness platform has been selected as one of twenty finalists in a national rising stars competition.

Discova, formerly Myndr, has been awarded a spot on Tech Nation’s Rising Stars 3.0 competition, which brings together some of the brightest tech start-ups from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Aiming to support early-stage companies in their scale-up efforts, the top twenty companies in the competition showcase their work to an audience of investors and the tech community.

Just ten of these companies will be selected as the year’s ‘Rising Stars’.

After being shortlisted for the regional finals, Discova founder Lizzy Hodcroft pitched the company to a panel of judges for the nationwide selection process.

Discova, which offers an AI-powered mental health, wellbeing and resilience app, was then selected as one of 20 that stood out.

Ms Hodcroft, who is also the company's chief executive, said: “To be accepted this year and then make it to the finals is amazing. It certainly means that we are on the right track with our business, moving in the direction that we should be. It's also a great time to take stock of how far we have come and celebrate the success.”

Founded in 2018 by Ms Hodcroft and Emma Reilly after the pair battled with their own mental health, the digital platform promotes wellbeing by helping companies and its employees tackle common mental health problems via peer-to-peer support.

Designed for both personal and corporate use, the soon-to-launch platform utilises data and machine learning to give personalised support which is informed by personality traits, learning styles and life experiences.

The firm says one of the app's "unique features" its inclusivity, with the creators taking steps to make the product accessible and representative to different cultures and backgrounds as well as tackling unconscious bias which is often found in large datasets and algorithms.

Ms Hodcroft and Ms Reilly’s came up with the idea after being personally left frustrated when trying to access mental health support through the NHS.

The pandemic, which has had wide-ranging effects on mental health, further stresses the important of accessible support.

Ms Hodcroft said: “Building a business seeking to bring positive change into the daily lives of people at home is something many connect with at the moment.

“Mental health and wellbeing has recently had a lot more attention and Covid-19 has helped highlight this.

“The pandemic has radically accelerated efforts to promote work-life balance, raise mental health awareness and provide emotional support to those that need it.

“Mental health and wellness support can no longer be location-dependent and I believe there has been a shift from treatment to prevention. We are all dealing with so much right now, trying to balance our lives at home while also planning for a future that, at times, seems non-existent.

“Discova is important because we are helping people to gain the coping skills they need to get through this tough period.”