Company description

Silentus helps high skilled workers improve their personal productivity and wellbeing, by enabling them with a smart app to increase focus and beat procrastination.

Silentus, a Founder Institute alumn, launched its Android version in August 2022, and iOS in November same year, and joined Station F (world’s largest startup campus, based in Paris) as part of INSEAD’s LaunchPad.

Problem and Solution

The global economy bears a price tag of more than $320 billion to afford the impact of burnout on high-skilled workers. This scenario comes as a result of professionals not being able to deal properly with both setting clear boundaries between personal time and work hours as well as having clarity on what (and how) they need to achieve in terms ofbusiness objectives, in addition to managing increasing notifications and distractions that come from the new ‘normal’ of remote work or hybrid workplaces, for instance, households tasks that add up to existing business responsibilities. All this results in an unhealthy work-life balance and lower personal productivity, including poor time-consistent behavior, like procrastination.

From the whole group of professionals, there is one subset that presents the worst statistics. According to McKinsey, there is an estimated 165 million high-skilled freelancers and independent consultants on a part- or full-time basis, and research shows that each of them gets about 50 to 60 distractions per day on average, taking it approximately 23 minutes to regain focus every time. As a result of all these interruptions, these professionals lose around 500 hours of productive time per person per year; time that could be used to improve their work-life balance, or grow their businesses if they wanted to.

In order to avoid this problem, digital workers currently use some well-known best practices recommended by productivity experts, like using phone’s ‘Do not disturb’ or airplane modes to manage their notifications, or to-do lists to keep track of their tasks and finish work on time; nevertheless, these tools don’t solve the core issue of decreased workers’ well-being nor manage to maximize their time and energy levels to create a better work-life balance. For instance, ‘Do not disturb’ mode silences mobile phones at the expense of missing relevant calls (i.e. from their most important client), whereas to-do lists only provide visibility on a set of tasks that need to be tackled or delivered within a certain timeframe; however, they fell short on providing clarity on whether these tasks are realistic and achievable, or what necessary steps are required in order to help users remain time consistent.

Additionally, this problem becomes greater when we consider that these high-skilled professionals are solopreneurs who don’t have a team to rely on or to use as support to brainstorm how best to approach their challenges, adding a layer of ‘loneliness’ to their work routines.

Based on the previously mentioned problematic scenario in combination with the feedback we have collected during our interviews with more than 300 high-skilled professionals, we decided to work on Silentus, a productivity app that helps high-skilled freelancers not only setup a focus mode that keeps them on top of their most relevant notifications (by creating allowed lists for both contacts and apps) but also beat procrastination (by providing them with a smart ML-enabled tool to get visibility on how to achieve their goals).

Take the example of a freelance copywriter. On a given day she needs to deliver some articles for three different clients. Depending on her schedule, she can create three allowed lists with names of stakeholders for each of her clients and turn them on and off accordingly. Moreover, when she’s working on client A’s assignment (for instance, deliver a 50,000-word blog article), she can use Silentus’ ML tool to forecast her success rate on completing this task on-time and in-full. The way this smart tool works is as follows: our freelance copywriter enters few parameters like deadline, number of words, or client linked to this task. Based on her past activity, our tool forecasts her success rate. If this rate is below certain threshold, Silentus will recommend her different options to increase her success percentage; for example, extending the deadline, splitting the task into smaller chunks, etc.

As a result of using Silentus, our freelancer benefits not only from gaining extra time by working on focus mode but also from getting clarity and time consistency when working towards clear and achievable goals, improving her work-life balance and well-being. Furthermore, she could use the time regained during her workday to grow her business (bill additional hours) or for leisure (more quality time with friends and family).

Four aspects are part of Silentus’ competitive advantage. First, our AI/ML personal assistant that allows our users to keep their business running even when they are enjoying time off or logged off from work after ‘office’ hours. Second, sense of belonging to a Community of like-minded high-skilled professionals (who share their stories and tips on both our Slack channel and online community forums), contributing to fighting the loneliness of a profession like freelancing. Third, an extra week per month (equivalent to regain 500 hours per year) that workers can use for leisure or to create additional income (more hours to bill). Fourth, the ability to build upon new habits that will be instrumental to increase their personal productivity as well as their well-being.