Leiden centre for
innovation and
entrepreneurship

Venture Academy 2018 winner Anna Pelgrim realizes Healing Pod

10 July 2020

Anna Pelgrim joined the Venture Academy in 2018. Thanks to this program, she chose the path of an entrepreneurial career. Now she is realizing the dream of her uniquely designed Healing Pod. With this innovative creation she combines physical health and emotional wellbeing for hospitalised patients and caregivers. In this interview we talk with Anna about her Venture Academy experience and of course about her innovative solution. 

“If you have ever been hospitalised, or visited someone in a hospital, then you know how stressful and chaotic this can be.” As a designer and founder of Architecture of Cure, Anna has been working on redesigning healthcare experiences for both patients and caregiver. Architecture of Cure is a studio focused on doing research and creating design solutions within healthcare environments, using nature and design as tools.

The Healing Pod

“During the beginning years of Architecture of Cure, I joined the Venture Academy. This is an incubation program by PLNT Leiden. My aim was to work on a viable business opportunity for my platform. During the Venture Academy I developed a product for Architecture of Cure: The Healing Pod.”

The Healing Pod is a small space, or ‘pod’, which provides a connection to nature. It is specifically designed for patients and caregivers that have little to no access to the outdoors. It is inspired by nature and incorporates five specific elements: aromatherapy, light therapy, sound, natural materials, and a green environment to softly stimulate the senses of the user. By using it, you sooth all five senses, all while comfortably laying in the middle of a bustling hospital.

Entrepreneurial guidance

“I found the incubation program extremely useful. The various educational workshops at the Venture Academy included learning how to pitch, how to tell your story, managing income and expenses, marketing and selling your product, and prototyping.” 

At the time, Anna was an art academy student and she had little experience in business. But she had a good idea and wanted to improve the life of other people. Thanks to the Venture Academy, she got the entrepreneurial guidance she needed to realize her goal.

“During the workshops, I built the first life-size prototype of the Healing Pod. This was a great success! It was the first step (of many) into the startup world. After winning the final pitch of the Venture Academy, I was inspired to continue with the product and my business.”

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From prototype to reality

“After my research phase, I started a crowdfunding campaign to start building the second prototype of the Healing Pod. It is an improved version: this one will travel to various locations to inspire hospitals and healthcare facilities to get on board. It would be great for these pods to be added as an option for patients and caregivers in hospitals.”

Are you interested in Anna’s research? Find out more about the effects of green environments in her documentary. Find out more about the Healing Pod and see how it works for yourself on her crowdfunding page. If you believe in her invention and want to support her work, feel free to donate!  

Interested in joining The Venture Academy yourself? Find out more!

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