Simon and Sebastian brainstorming for Stella

College is a unique time. We are all trying to figure ourselves out, while having to worry about a thousand other things like studying, internships, relationships, etc. For me, the stress became too much, and I burned out. I ended up taking a year off to get my head straight. My own struggle motivated me to do something about this. That’s why we started GydEd.

My name is Sebastian Thomas, and I graduated from Chapman in 2019 with a degree in Strategic and Corporate Communication. After graduating, I moved to Sweden, where I worked in venture capital. This, along with my Chapman education, taught me important principles about starting a company, and that’s what I did in January.

GydEd was born out of the shared experiences of myself and my co-founder Simon Norrman. As recent graduates, we ended up having many discussions about our own college journeys. We realized that there were numerous areas for improvement, most of which could be solved if the universities had a better way of understanding their students.

Our conclusion was that, if we could help universities understand their students wellness in real time, we could improve the entire student experience. If we can improve the student experience, then we could improve the well-being of the student body and help students reach their full potential.

For us both, this is about more than creating a successful company, this is a passion project. We wanted to create the tool that we would have wanted as students, but never had.

To do this, we took a two-pronged approach:

  • For students: we created an interactive chatbot (Stella) that pops up directly in Canvas. Students can check in with Stella once a week. The check-ins are quick, interactive and rewarding; a one-minute interaction gives me personal stats and individual feedback.
  • For universities: we created a live dashboard that allows them to understand what their students are feeling, when they are feeling that way, and why. With this information, the university can take a proactive approach to improving the student experience.
    Gyded Founders

    Gyded Founders in Stockholm

We are launching GydEd on Chapman’s campus for the coming semester, so be on the lookout for Stella popping up in your Canvas! If you are interested in reading more, please feel free to check out our website ( If you want to help improve student well-being all over the world, and are interested in working with us, reach out to me directly on LinkedIn or email (