Personal. Collaborative. Practical.


During a trip to the playground, down on all four, founder Taino Bendz saw a crying child and looked up to meet the eyes of the parents. What met him instead was the backside of a dozen of phones, as all parents were absorbed by their devices. Realising the impact that his own use of digital technology is having on the people around him, he decided to get off the bench and create impact. After successfully starting the initiative Phone Free Day, he wanted to create a platform and concept to help people create a lasting change in their use of screen based devices. Sharing this passion with Dr. Lena Waizenegger at Auckland University of Technology the two developed the first workshop: a hands-on & research based session to instantly become more in charge of your phone usage. Further workshops were developed and several more collaborators are constantly joining, all sharing the same mission to change how technology rules us. 

PhoneSmart is a start-up focused on digital habits to promote wellbeing, productivity, and increased human connection. 


We believe that digital technology is amazing, but that we need to be smart about how we use it. The exponential digitalisation and innovation wave has caught us off guard in some aspects, leaving people overwhelmed by the abundance of information and distractions.

Our mission is simple: 

To raise awareness about the side effects of digital technology and

help people with implementing practices to use technology - not getting used by it. 


Taino Bendz

Founder & Director

New Zealand

Taino works with partners to develop and deliver research based frameworks and concepts to clients. He is a visionary with 10 years' of industry experience across a range of sectors such as IT, logistics, health care, renewable energy, management consulting. He holds an M.Sc. in engineering and management and is a published research collaborator of Auckland University of Technology. 

He is a keen basketballer with two young boys who keep him busy. 

Dr Lena Waizenegger

Collaboration partner

Researcher and co-developer of PhoneSmart

New Zealand

Lena co-developed PhoneSmart™ and is a key part in the process. She is a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology in areas such as constant connectivity, team collaboration, robotic process automation and artificial intelligence. She has been featured in many renowned channels including BBC, Daily Mail, Psychology Today, Forbes and top journals. 

She is an ex professional snowboarder and still keeps very active, at the gym, in the snow, or on some epic hike. 

Sohail Kashkari

Collaboration partner 

1-1 coaching specialist

New Zealand

Sohail is a health coach who specialises in self discipline and tech distractions. He has a B.Sc in psychology and is a certified Personal Trainer. Previously he has been a President at Toastmasters, a public speaking, confidence and leadership training organisation. He was awarded Toastmaster of the Year 2018. He has also mentored on innovation and innovative thinking with corporate and governmental organisations.

In his free time Sohail enjoys relaxing in nature, rock climbing, yoga, learning languages and reading.

Teodora Pavkovic

Collaboration partner

Psychotherapist and parenting coach

United States

Teodora is a NY-based psychotherapist, parenting coach and international speaker who specialises in utilising principles of emotional intelligence and positive psychology to facilitate digital wellness. She works with children and adults in her private practice, delivers workshops and trainings in schools and corporate settings, and speaks on expert panels and at conferences around the world. As a member of the Digital Wellness Collective, co-chair of the parenting professionals group at the Children's Screen-Time Action Network and an advisory board member of several educational and mental health organisations, Teodora is committed to helping individuals and groups preserve and protect their wellbeing and relationships in this increasingly digital world.

Sven Rollenhagen

Collaboration partner

Addiction specialist


Sven is a Swedish author, public speaker and trained social worker who has specialised in addiction and addiction care since 1986. With a background in drug addiction, he now works mainly with dependency and addiction to digital media such as video game addiction, mobile phones and social media. He travels the breadth of Sweden and the nordics working and presenting the topics surrounding digital dependence and generating digital balance. He has an extensive client base around the world and offers his services remotely.


He loves the outdoors but is also an avid computer game enthusiast!

More partners are in the process of joining. Do you share our passion? Get in touch to discuss collaboration opportunities!



Unplugged provide beautiful cabins just an hour from city life for you to fully switch off and choose amazing wellness experiences to enjoy during your stay. They offer a digital detox for busy city folk to unplug from devices and recharge without flying halfway around the globe.

Yes, they lock away your phone!

More friends are on the way! Do you have an idea or are actively working with digital balance? Reach out to see how we can collaborate.