Improve Your Health and Wellbeing with Tribes and Fitsurance

Meet Fitsurance, the impact-driven company helping you reach your health goals

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We all know that prevention is better than cure when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Meet Fitsurance - an Amsterdam start-up helping people take control and enjoy a happy, healthy life through quick and easy health checks that measure the important things you need to know about your health.
Tribes are excited to partner with Fitsurance to offer our members health checks on location in NL throughout October - book yours here.
We sat down with Founder and CEO Tommie Koppens to learn more about the inspiration behind Fitsurance, the highs and lows of starting a new business, and some key tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Tell us about yourself and your background!

My name is Tommie and I'm a human movement scientist by nature. I graduated with my bachelors and master’s in Human Movement and Behavioural Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, which involves studying how the body works and how the mind works, so you can coach people towards a better lifestyle. I am also a certified lifestyle coach, so we are partly reimbursed by the Dutch healthcare insurances.

How did Fitsurance get started?

It started out as a project within our masters course of Entrepreneurship and Human Movement Sciences. We began it with a group of 4 friends and we had a great start, receiving our first subsidy of €40k from the NWO take-off phase 1. This helped us to begin with research and development from the get-go, and that's when we also incorporated the BV in Feb 2019, so a flying start!

We made several health packages in terms of what we can measure, including a bioimpedance scale for your body composition to measure your fat mass, muscle mass, and visceral fat (fat around the organs) and a bunch of other important things like blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, grip strength, lung function, inflammation markers, endurance tests, etc. Basically, anything that you would need to measure your physical health! We also created a database of scientifically validated questionnaires that can be used to gain insight into someone's mental health or lifestyle data, such as how well you sleep, eat, move, etc.
This online model really helped us through COVID times, and now things are getting back to normal we’ve adapted to a hybrid model, which has proven to really be successful both business wise and impact wise, because you’ve got the personal touch of in-person health checks, and also the convenience of being able to do it both online and at home with the FitKit.

2019 was a great first year, and then COVID came along! We had a really rough time during 2020 and 2021 to be honest and were staring bankruptcy in the eyes for quite a long time, then we pivoted to an online business model. That’s when we created the FitKit, which is a small test kit that we send through people's mailboxes. It allows them to take a small finger prick blood sample themselves at home, and we can then analyse it at a lab and explain the results via a digital consulting video call.

What inspired you to begin Fitsurance?

What drives me the most is that both of my parents have diabetes type 2. Most people in my family have a chronic disease from dementia, coronary heart disease, cancer, to COPD. Basically, everyone has something, except for me and my twin sister! Since my parents got sick, I saw them changing their mindset and lifestyle, and it made me think if they had known at an earlier stage, they could have taken steps to prevent it.

I think there really is a lot of room for prevention if people know that they are at risk at an earlier time. That’s why we’re doing health checks that are fast, on location and easy to access, so that people at least get the opportunity to do such a health check.

Of course, we are a company that needs to make revenue and profit, but we’ve consciously made a decision to be an impact-driven company, meaning that most of our profits go back into research or development for new products and other interventions. We’re really striving for a better world in that sense, reinvesting to make sure we can give the best preventative checks and interventions possible.

What are the challenges of starting your own business?

One of the biggest challenges initially was diversity within the team. Although we quickly built a multidisciplinary team, we started off with only Human Movement scientists, so we were missing some diversity and different skill sets to begin with.

Another challenge we have struggled with is funding. We weren’t able to secure funding in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, which was the most difficult period where we weren’t able to generate as much traction. We really suffered during this period, but we survived! Now we’re just pushing onwards and upwards and the funding will come when it’s time.

What has been your favourite thing about starting your own business?

Personal development for sure! I’ve learned about myself, and I have gained new skills - soft skills, entrepreneurial skills, marketing, PR skills. I’ve had a crash course in all facets of the company over 2-3 years, and I’ve grown a lot with the company as well. That, and creating a network really are my most favourite thing about starting Fitsurance.

Can you leave us with 3 health tips?

● Awareness! It may sound a little biased but start to measure the things that you are interested in with your health. Obviously, you could do a health check, but you could also easily start measuring the number of steps you take in a day, or log your food intake for a day, just to get the awareness of what you would like to improve in your health and where the challenges are.

● Try to embed movement as much as you can throughout your normal day, so maybe commute to and from work, or after dinner take 10 minutes to go for a walk. Whatever suits you best, but if you can embed it into your day, it feels less like a must.

● Don’t listen to what works for others, try to see what works for you! There are many diets and people who swear that they’ve found the golden diet tip. Whatever it is it might work for them, which is cool, but look for something that works for you. Everyone is different!

To learn more about Fitsurance you can find them at www.fitsurance.nl
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