Success Story

Chris Thompson turned his alcohol addiction into a startup venture, here’s how he did it

At the age of 19, Chris Thompson was suffering from alcohol addiction and found himself hit rock bottom in suburban Philadelphia. In 2018, he decided to withdraw from alcohol and turn his addiction story into a business venture.

He recalled in an interview with Fortune waking up on the sidewalk in the rain on Thanksgiving Day in 2018 in a parking lot, then getting rejected by two hospitals until getting the help that he needed.

“I had two DUIs. I’ve made all the mistakes you could possibly make while not being able to stop drinking. I just want my personal story to be one that tells people wherever they’re out there that it doesn’t have to be this way. All we have is today, and today can be day one of your comeback story,” Thompson said.

He is now the founder of Sidekick Mobile Technologies which launched Sober Sidekick, a sobriety and recovery app on iOS and Android for people struggling with addiction or recovering from alcohol or drug abuse, according to talkbusiness.net. The app, which was launched in 2019, is now approaching 150,000 members from over 100 countries.

“One of the most impactful stats for me is that by the fifth time someone engages with their peers on Sober Sidekick, their monthly risk of relapse goes down by 300%,” Thompson told talkbusiness.net. “We’ve gamified empathy to the point where for every member who posts, at least six other members will respond in minutes, if not seconds.”

The app has features like a sobriety tracker, in-app accountability messaging with other users, 24/7 AA meetings, and an option to chat with professional help. Currently, the app is free to users. It was generating about $50,000 a month in revenue from leads it was passing along to substance abuse treatment centers.

Thompson said he expects to close a $2 million seed funding round in early 2023 after he raised $140,000 from a recent Wefunder campaign, with significant support from Northwest Arkansas investors.

28-year-old Thompson currently lives with his girlfriend near Bentonville after they moved to Northwest Arkansas from Los Angeles earlier this year as part of the Life Works Here incentive program. According to talkbusiness.net, the nonprofit Northwest Arkansas Council started the $1 million campaign in 2020 to bring in talented people to the region. Anyone chosen gets a $10,000 grant and a bike.

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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