MEET OUR MEMBERS: ROBERT LOUW AND JOLIJN SPIJKERMAN!
by Tribes Inspiring Workplaces, on 1 Jun 2018
To introduce you to the members of this week, we travelled to the most central point of the Netherlands: Tribes Utrecht Central Station! We’re meeting Robert Louw, Head of Business Development at Wexer. He invites us in his office, while he is completing an international skype meeting. No problem for us, because we can enjoy ourselves; a train from Amsterdam has just arrived at the platform that is right next to Tribes Utrecht Central Station, and that is quite some view.
Robert is Head of Business Development at Wexer, and is responsible for the Europe, Middle East and Asia region. He tells us more about Wexer: 'our mission is as follows: we make world-class virtual exercise accessible to more people through the use of technology'. Wexer is an international company: Wexer's headquarters is located in London, the technical colleagues are located in Denmark, there is another office in New York, and Robert and his colleague Jolijn Spijkerman have been working with us in Utrecht since February of this year.
Robert continues: 'Wexer is the market leader in the field of digital fitness. Think of a virtual instructor, allowing the consumer to exercise at any time of the day. We live in a 24-hour economy, and we want to be able to plan our days ourselves. In addition, we no longer want to be dependent on issues that could confuse our schedule, such as gym opening hours, or fitness lessons at fixed times. With Wexer's technology, large health club chains can provide their guests with a digital solution, both inside and outside the physical club'. That reminds us of the countless film scenes of housewives moving in front of the TV, but it's not like that: 'the virtual instruction on the clubs themselves takes place in a spacious, dark room. There’s a tablet on the wall, on which you can set which lesson you want to follow and for how long. After that, the instructor is projected on a huge video Wall, so the experience is very different', explains Robert. In addition, users of virtual fitness, can now exercise at any time of the day and anywhere in the world. Robert: ‘It works with a digital membership. The consumer can use an app in which he can indicate which lessons he wants to follow, also the lessons created by health club chains with local influencers.’ In other words: ideal for real business nomads, we think!
Wexer focuses on health clubs, but also hotels and corporate gyms, for which Robert travels a lot to talk to their CEOs about the technology. Wexer not only offers the technological knowledge for virtual fitness, but also virtual lessons, created by external parties. Robert tells us why this is important: 'that makes us a strong company: the overall picture is correct. We are the only party in this business that has such a large team and that has put so much time and energy into developing the technology, that we can now offer the most robust, stable, user-friendly and future-proof technology. But when your virtual lessons are not good enough, it doesn’t matter what technology you have. It is the combination with strong partners that makes Wexer a unique concept'.
When asked whether Robert is an intensive user of virtual fitness, it turns out that he has been working in the fitness world for years: 'I still exercise in the center where it all started! When I was a student, I played handball at a pretty high level. We supplemented our training with a lot of fitness, which I quite liked. In the end, I also did a course about fitness and went on to do an internship at a large fitness center in Nieuwegein (city near Utrecht). From there I became an instructor, and after that a manager in a health club chain, and finally started working for a supplier. After that, I worked for a similar company for two years, and their technology was taken over by Wexer, so I actually moved together with the technology to Wexer.
The question of whether Robert feels like a business nomad is not really one we have to ask: of the first 60 working days of this year, he has spent at least half of them abroad! He is very happy with his office at Utrecht Central Station. Robert: 'I live in Nieuwegein, and when I was asked to work for Wexer in 2016, I had only one condition: I don't move to London. I told them that they could put me on the plane as many times they liked, but I just didn’t want to leave my home. When it became clear that Jolijn would join in February this year, I went to look around for an office. Tribes Utrecht Central Station is of course on a perfect location, but besides that fact, I also liked the concept. Tribes has a beautiful look and feel, and I can appreciate that!
For more information about Wexer go to www.wexer.com.