In January 2017, Melissa Kjolsing Lynch and Luke Kjolsing founded Recovree, a software solution for substance abuse treatment. Over the past year, the two co-founders have been on a mission to strengthen the relationship between the clients and recovery programs with the assistance of technology. “I have suffered from substance abuse disorder for 15 years; now I am passionate about helping others go through the same things,” said Luke Kjolsing.
The Family Connection
The Kjolsing sibling grew up in southern Minnesota outside of Mankato. Although they do not claim that entrepreneurship ran in the family, the two look to the lessons of hard work and dedication that their family instilled in them. “We have always been close, but we recognize that we are very different people. Luke is very laid back, and I am very detail-oriented… We work together as a great team,” said Melissa Kjolsing.
After graduating high school, Luke pursued a military career in the Air Force and attended college, but was sidetracked by substance abuse. Melissa Kjolsing received an undergraduate degree in mass communications from Minnesota State University Mankato, and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. They were reconnected in 2017 when Luke moved to St. Paul after receiving his 2nd DUI and entered inpatient treatment for substance abuse. “I like to say that I went to the school of substance abuse… It is strange to think that my past circumstances can help people the who go through substance abuse now,” explained Luke Kjolsing.
The idea for Recovree was built around the gaps in recovery treatment. The Kjolsings used Luke’s peers in the outpatient program and worked towards creating a solution for all of the gaps that were determined. “We took our ideas and information to Prime Academy who helped us create our prototype… Recovree has been a business that was built on client experience and needs,” said Melissa Kjolsing. In 2017, Luke Kjolsing earned the top veteran-led startup prize in the 2017 MN Cup, a start-up competition hosted at the University of Minnesota.
Over the past year, the Recovree team has moved from a prototype that was tested with four different treatment programs across Minnesota. Along with this testing, The Kjolsings have immersed themselves in the recovery industry by becoming peer recovery specialists. “We have come to learn more about the recovery and treatment industry… We see our platform as an all-inclusive approach to using technology to create stronger connections between people and engaging clients at higher levels than what is currently available with paper-based recovery programs,” said Melissa Kjolsing.
The success of Recovree is credited to the community’s positive response to the start-up. The healthcare industry and government officials see the benefit of a recovery program that brings deeper connectivity between clients and recovery professionals. “The validation from the people is very encouraging for us along with the support of the community. There has been an unbelievable amount of doors that have been open to make this start-up a possibility… We are fortunate within the Minnesotan start-up community,” explained Melissa Kjolsing.
Learn more from Melissa Kjolsing Lynch and Luke Kjolsing and Recovree as they speak at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage in Island Park.