Team Smartphone Detox

Social New Venture Challenge (SNVC)

We are excited to have been invited to take part in the social impact track of the University of Chicago’s nationally ranked accelerator program. We are pitching to scale up this challenge through an exciting new product offering!


Laurence Warner

CFO (Chief Flip Officer)

My fascination with the intersection of technology and human behavior led me from Oxford to UChicago’s MA Computational Social Science, where I found myself applying my UX Design skills to digital minimalist apps like CheckMates. Since my stage acting days in London, I’ve been brimming with enthusiasm to get up and pitch: I’m so glad to have found a practical project to promote to my generation.


Abe Pandit


As a polyglot linguist and development economist from the University of London, I have been fascinated with the applications of communication technologies towards international development. And more generally to the human quest for happiness.

During my project with Innovations for Poverty Action & the Harvard Kennedy School, I'd had to visit villages and slums across India to conduct surveys on clipboards. The arrival of smartphones made everything so much easier. It even allowed for tracking and systematizing every aspect in daily life- which appealed to my statistical sensibilities. However, as a Reiki teacher and spiritualist, I have been concerned with how this generation seems to have lost touch with themselves and the present moment courtesy the pinging phone.

At First Week Flip Phone, I am contributing my training in linguistics, behaviour change communications and data science. So that conscious technology usage supports our search for joy and meaning. Instead of getting in the way.

Bhargav headshot.jpg

Bhargav Desikan

Storytelling; Analyst

I’m a budding sociologist deeply involved in the computer science and technology community. A former researcher in artificial intelligence and a python developer, I was highly dependent on his cell-phone. After having done the flip-phone challenge for a week and seeing the difference it can make, I’m committed to making as many possible people experience the same. Our smartphone experiences are largely characterised by attention seeking apps and poor management, and by giving the people power over their phones, it is possible to make a very discernible change in their lives. Believing in something is the first step to making others believe in it, and that's why I think I should be a part of this team - because i believe this can make a positive difference.


Yuxin Zhang

Design; College Outreach

Growing up in the 00s, my first encounter with cellphone was already an iPhone 4. The whole concept of flip phone is just completely distant and alien to me. I once believed that the technologies that I grew up with had granted me greater control towards my life, yet recently I started to feel controlled by them. The likably idealized self that I’ve created with social media leave my real self all the more isolated. I communicate incessantly with friends on the smartphone but is afraid of face-to-face conversations. Eventually, these activities got me to worry, in a weird nostalgia sense, that I’m missing out on something fundamental. That’s why I decided to onboard this project when I was introduced to it in the last December: to talk to the real world.



Finance; Partnerships

We are seeking one more U Chicago professional grad student to join the team.