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Ruslan Kravchyk

rst-it.com

Can you tell me about Still Active and what it actually is?

Pei 5488

Michael Sprenger

StillActive

StillActive is an online concierge service - a website where you can easily discover and book different activities, whilst meeting new people.

by Ruslan Kravchyk — 12 DEC 2017

Hi Michael, it’s a pleasure to meet you! We had a little talk before we started, but can you tell our readers, please, a bit about yourself and why did you decide that startups are something for you?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Hi Ruslan, sure, where do I start… I’m 28 and I studied at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, the world leading hospitality management school in Switzerland where I gained a passion for creating high-quality services for people. That’s also where I met my co-founder Signe. With entrepreneurship in our bones, it was a natural fit for us. For example, when we were younger, both of us were selling collectibles, we’d go to summer camps to work and stuff like that. We realized that there’s a huge market that’s being underserved and we decided to do something about it - quickly!

So you came up with an idea and started working on it, right? Can you tell me more about Still Active and what it actually is?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We are an online concierge service - a website where you can easily discover and book different activities, whilst meeting new people. On our platform you can find a huge range of daily activities - such as food tasting tours around Stockholm city, kayaking courses or interactive art and cultural exhibitions. We make it easy to try new things and stay active! As of now, our pilot city is Stockholm and if we succeed, we’re going to start offering our services in other cities throughout Sweden, and eventually expand to other European countries.

Where did you get the inspiration?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We got our inspiration from our families and friends who are now entering retirement. When you retire, your life changes drastically. You suddenly have much more free time on your hands, more money to spend on yourself, you might lose some of your friends from work and start looking for new social groups outside your previous work environments. However, very few companies realize this gap and create tailored services for them. There are only a few companies focusing on the fastest growing age segment, people aged 60+.

So you target people aged 60+, right? Do you believe that an internet platform is a good fit for your demographic target? Tell us more about the senior’s lifestyle in Sweden.

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Yes, we are targeting people aged 60+ in Sweden. I think it always surprises people to hear how many Swedes over 60+ use internet daily - over 65% and almost the same percentage are active on social media! We are not targeting the old-fashioned term “senior citizen”, we are targeting the youthful, active and fun empowered generation - the baby boomers. They are also very active, they do enjoy sports, outdoor activities, learning new things etc.

Did you do anything to validate your idea outside of your friends and family circle?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Yes, we have conducted almost 200 interviews with our target market in Stockholm to see what their needs and wants are. Quite interesting is the fact, that many of them said they were looking for a central place that would be very simple yet provide them with access to many activities. We have also worked together with some of our activity partners in order to create a tailored booking system that suits all types of activities.

Is there any big scale statistical data to back up your point?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

This is the fastest growing age group with a 32% growth rate in Sweden in the next 15 years. 65% of people aged 60+ use internet daily today and 75% of them partake in weekly activities. Switzerland has an even faster-growing rate of the senior citizens with 53% growth rate by 2030! We need to find creative solutions to keep them healthy, active and happy quickly!

Are there any competitors in your local market?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

There are no direct competitors that target the same age group as we do. We do have competitors from booking websites that focus on sports classes or wellness treatments. There are also event booking systems. However, we combine all of these categories together with the social side of the Still Active Community!

What about SPF or PRO - senior-oriented organizations? Do you think they can be a potential threat to your business?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

No, we do not want to be seen as a senior association. These are too old fashioned for us and our users. We want to provide something youthful and exciting. We do not offer “old” activities, we just create a simple service for a target group and provide an online social interaction through our members’ chat system and by enabling our members to attend activities together.

How are you different from all of them? What’s your advantage?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Our main goal is to tackle the old fashioned stigma of what being a “senior citizen” is all about. We target a bit younger people, aged 60 to 75. Amongst our advantages I’d point out the fact that you are not tied down by a membership fee, you are in control of how much you spend on activities per month, you can have a great overview of what exciting and fun activities are happening in your city and the ability to conveniently book them with just a few clicks on our website, with instant confirmation. You can also connect with other members and build a social network outside your work environment. We often find great deals for our members too!

Where’s the money? What’s your business model and how do you plan to earn money?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We do not charge our users any additional fee but rather take a commission per activity booked from the activity partner. An established model from online travel agencies.

What does success look like for your startup from your perspective?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We’d like to gain trust from our target and motivate them to stay active and healthy. Which we believe, eventually, can bring even bigger change to our lives if we’re going to stay happy even after retiring from work.

And what could be potentially the biggest risk?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Our biggest risk is if we won’t be able to keep our retention rate low. Our community encourages our users to purchase our services from us, without going to our partners' websites and buy straight from them. We also offer price parity of our offers compared to direct sales by our partners, ensuring the best price available on Still Active.

Do you have any plan on how to keep your users on your platform?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Yes, we do. One of the reasons why we want to build a community, rather than just another platform, is to build a relationship with our clients. To give them more value than just buying a ticket to some event. That’s also why we are working with our partners to create some unique offers for Still Active users.

What’s in it for your partners besides another sales funnel?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We are helping them to utilize their facilities much better. Quick example: a gym’s peak hours are between 6am and 9am, and then later from 6pm to 10pm. What happens between 9am and 6pm? They still have all of their equipment, staff and all of their rooms available, but there are only a few customers. That’s where we come in. By creating with them an exclusive event for our community, which has way more free time, you can have, let’s say, yoga class at 11am or 2pm. That way our partners can be sure that they’re gonna have people. Or a restaurant: 2pm is a very slow time for a business like that, and to use it more efficiently, we are going to organize cooking workshops for seniors. Again, they have clients, we have clients, our clients are happy, everyone’s happy.

OK, I see. And where exactly are you at this particular moment?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We have launched our services in Stockholm in late August. Since then, we have signed over 25 activity partners with over 60 activities on the website. Some bigger brands have also joined Still Active, which is very exciting! We also managed to reach almost 900 members to-date, growing our community every day.

What are your short terms plans for the next 6 months?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We will be working actively in Stockholm to increase our member and activity partners count. We have been featured during big events and fairs such as the Stockholm senior expo. Our goal is to prove our concept and co-develop our service with our members to something that they love and can’t stop using! We will also be raising our seed financing round within the coming months, in order to roll out Still Active on a bigger scale.

Can you tell us more about the IndieGoGo campaign you did? How did it go and what was the main goal?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

It is not common for a service company like us to use crowdfunding like IndieGoGo. However, we used it as we wanted to test our online presence and gain some capital. With IndieGoGo, we were able to test demand in Stockholm, test our audiences on Facebook Ads and increase our SEO ranking with more relevant online content. The campaign is over now, we managed to raise just a bit over 100% of the goal, so that’s also some great news for us. People are interested in what we offer.

As far as I understand, your primary focus is placed on offline activities, but what about online? Do you think that seniors won’t be interested in getting into some webinars that have rather educational purposes?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

Of course! We will be offering educational activities and perhaps in the future, these can be hosted online. Our goal is, however, to trigger offline interaction between our members after using our online service, as social interaction is an important factor contributing to good mental and physical health. This means: we hope that two members connect on Still Active, both have an interest in pilates, both attend a pilates class and then grab a coffee and become friends. Loneliness is a major threat to senior health and that is something that we want to help prevent!

Can you tell me more about your team? Where are you based, how do you work, communicate etc?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We have two team members in Sweden at the moment. My co-founder Signe Larson and our business development specialist - Sofie Bacci. They are in charge of sales, every partner’s onboarding and scouting as well as our localized marketing efforts. The tech team is in charge of all the operations on the website - everything from bug fixes to ensuring the payments are handled properly. It consists of me and our developer Martin Macke from Prague.

So you’re quite a remote team. What do you think of it, is it working out for you? We believe it’s quite difficult to work remotely all the time. Do you maybe plan some integrational working marathons? How do you handle integration and communication?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

It is not easy to work with such a remote team, obviously, however, we have set in some standard processes to ensure that we have constant and efficient communication with each other. Every Monday morning we meet on a Skype call with the whole team to go through our objectives for the week and ensure that everyone knows their weekly objectives. For daily communication, we use Skype and Slack. For our project management, among other tools, we use Asana. We do, however, try to meet frequently in person, in order to ensure proper communication. We have developed a trust with each other’s independent work, which for now is working well. Nevertheless, we do plan to move into a centralized office in Stockholm in the near future.

Any plans for expansion after you conquer Sweden or am I getting too far into the future?

Pei 5488

MS

StillActive

We want to expand outside Sweden as soon as we can and feel ready for it. We are primarily looking into Western Europe and the US for now because of similarities in demographics and culture. The first step after Sweden is probably Germany, where we will expand to as soon as we have proven our concept in our pilot market Sweden.

Fingers crossed then. Thank you very much for the interview. It was a pleasure to meet you.

 

Questions? Comments? If you are considering launching your own tech startup, feel free to drop us a line below or pop me an email at ruslan.kravchyk@rst-it.com. We're ready to help.

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