A story of VU startup Fitsurance

September 15, 2020

Fitsurance and how they ‘pivot’ during COVID-19, as a VU ‘personal health’ startup

All was lost (well, almost)
After a great pilot-project in Zeeland, where we measured runners on the beach, to see what a 3-day running event did with runners’ health,  we stepped up our efforts to prepare for 2020, in order to make that a year to ‘accelerate’ and ‘scale’.

Like many other corporates and start-ups  we had a roadmap figured out with 8 events, with one even in Cambridge, UK when the first items regarding covid-19 hit the news in Q1. In Q2, it became clear that all of our plans could be moved to the bin. So, then what?

Our ‘eureka moment’
We quickly figured out that we’d prefer to move to a mode where we could still do something, as an alternative to ‘just wait until covid-19 was past’. As a next step, we switched to tools like Slack, Zoom, Jitsi, Skype and Google Drive, to make sure our team could still collaborate, even though we were all in different locations (Netherlands and India). Later on, it dawned upon us that the pandemic is making the platform we already saw burn even brighter: more and more people were ‘coming out’ to confess that not only lockdowns and self-isolation were worsening ‘bad’ (sedentary) patterns and health conditions but also mental health was taking a huge toll.

After this ‘eureka’ moment, we decided to step up our efforts to get in touch with eligible partners with a similar vision and drive, regarding ‘personal health’. With such partners to collaborate with, we would be able to accelerate our ‘go to market’ and our understanding of the rapidly shifting ‘customer journey’, moving towards ‘on-line’ and ‘at home’ alternatives.

Collaborating for growth
This has led us to Clear., a leading start-up in providing personalized nutrition recommendations, based on continuous measurements via Abbott’s renowned Freestyle Libre sensor. With them, we have launched the ‘NutriFit’ program, where Fitsurance’s measurements were added at the beginning (T0) and the end (T1), allowing us to calculate a ‘delta’, e.g. regarding eligible physical and psychosocial parameters.

We have found out that this stimulates intrinsic motivation, as well as it improves the overall ‘customer journey’, therefore opening the door to cross and upselling.

These best practices have also led us to Fit4Taal, a fresh start-up founded by Lina Tellez, who recently moved over from Columbia to the Netherlands, with the mission to teach people a language, during a fitness program. Like with Clear., our ‘delta’ check can help to give people an extra ‘boost’, for example when they have just entered the country, and when they need to get in shape and get comfortable with the Dutch language, in order to improve ‘Social Mobility’.

‘Fit for the future’
So, it’s ‘staying alive, staying alive’, for us. We are now getting ready for a proper growth phase, where we can boost our revenue and service development. We have enjoyed the ‘Demonstrator Lab’ and we want to thank Prof.Dr.Davide Iannuzzi and the D-Lab team, as well as Art Bos and the IXA team. Per October, we will ‘promote’ to the Amsterdam Venture Studios, also located at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Incubation in India
In addition to the above, we will make a second promotion, since founder Sauvik Das Gupta has incubated Fitsurance India at SRM Innovation and Incubation Centre, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Hopefully, we can make our contribution in India and in the Netherlands, in our effort to help people to make a change towards a healthier or more active lifestyle, with ‘personal health’ services with a human touch. After all, we hope to see our idea grow worldwide!!