Hi Lothar! Tell us your origin story. How did you get to know each other, and how did the idea come about around Bevoy?
Lothar: As an entrepreneur with ten years of experience and several startups under my belt, I can confidently say that the common thread that ties all of my ventures together is the pursuit of innovation and problem-solving.
My journey began as a student, where I dabbled in entrepreneurship and started an e-commerce company that rented ski clothing and festival equipment during the summer months. Our hard work and dedication were quickly rewarded with the prestigious award for Student Entrepreneur of the Year.
Building on this early success, my next venture focused on democratising solar panels and selling the power generated to the residents. In Brussels, this model proved highly successful and was a source of great pride for my team and me. Through trial and error, we learned valuable lessons that ultimately led to the sale of the company to Energyvision.
This experience paved the way for my latest project, Bevoy (Best Version of Yourself), which started as a platform for testing DNA, blood, and microbiome to provide valuable insights into the body. However, we soon pivoted towards developing an app that incentivises positive behavioural changes around mental and physical health for employees of companies.
My business partner, Christophe, and I have known each other for over fifteen years. We first met while tinkering with a scooter and bonded over our shared passion for problem-solving. Christophe became one of my first employees in the solar panel company, and we have been a perfect tandem ever since.
Entrepreneurship is not just a career path for me; it’s a way of life. It requires grit, determination, and a willingness to learn from successes and failures. Through my experiences, I have come to appreciate the value of perseverance, teamwork, and innovation in achieving success in any entrepreneurial endeavour.
How did your mission to encourage office workers to engage in more physical activity come about, and what are the advantages of doing so?
Lothar: Living a healthy lifestyle is essential to feeling good and achieving success. However, most white-collar workers sit at their desks for prolonged periods, leading to physical discomfort and reduced energy levels. To help address this issue, we developed an app to improve employees’ physical and mental health. The app rewards users with Lifecoins for completing various activities, including answering weekly health questions, giving feedback on company culture and engaging in physical activities like walking, cycling, or meditating.
We strongly believe in the ‘mens sana in corpore sano’, a healthy mind in a healthy body. People often need a little bit of nudging to achieve this. Walking for just fifteen minutes a day, for example, can positively impact overall health.
Of course, employers also stand to benefit from their employees’ improved health by reducing absenteeism and promoting happiness and productivity among the workforce.
Cristophe: That’s right, the employees connected to the app can win Lifecoins by simply using the app. With those coins, you can claim excellent rewards such as supporting a good cause, planting trees, vouchers at bol.com or even an extra holiday day.
You can earn coins by doing mainly two things. The first is by answering questions about mental and physical health. These are short weekly questions that take less than a minute to fill in. For example, you can also give feedback to your company about the culture and how you feel within the organisation.
Of course, everything is treated anonymously and confidentially. Privacy and security of data exchange are important to us.
After that, you will receive feedback and a score on how well or less you did on a topic. You will also receive tips through, for example, scientifically based articles we recommend via the app about the relevant subject.
And last but not least, you will also have the opportunity to talk to a psychologist if you wish. We will never oblige this; the choice must lie entirely with the employee. The employee should be in the driver’s seat, not the employer.
A second way to earn coins is to fill the Beviy-circle. This visualises all your activities where you are stimulated to move more daily. As Lothar said, this can be earned by walking, cycling, moving, or meditating.
Our app does not have the ambition to replace other professional sports apps. Still, it is grounded scientifically, mainly about getting a daily healthy nudge to do something, no matter how small.
We want to avoid the corona zombies who go from their bed to the desk, to the sofa and back to their bed. The science is clear; you don’t have to be a marathon runner to stay healthy. Moving a little every day can do wonders.
There was a news article last year about the software company Halito! who rewards his employees with extra vacation days when they make more efforts to exercise. More and more companies are thinking of linking rewards to not only work-related performance but also health performance.
Lothar: Rewarding employees for being healthy is a great idea, but it’s not just about the individual. In fact, it’s part of a broader story that can benefit companies in multiple ways.
One of the benefits of rewarding employees for being healthy is employer branding. As the war for talent heats up, companies need to do everything they can to attract the best and brightest. Offering collective rewards for health, such as fun team-building activities, can be a great way to make your company stand out and attract top talent. It also immediately highlights the positive culture that exists within the company.
But the benefits don’t stop there. When it comes to onboarding new staff members, it’s crucial to create a sense of connection across departments. That’s where rewarding healthy behaviours can come in. By encouraging employees to work together on healthy challenges or participate in sports activities, you can help foster a sense of community and belonging from day one.
At the end of the day, rewarding employees for being healthy is about more than just individual health. It’s about creating a culture of wellness and community within the company and reaping the benefits of that culture in terms of recruitment, retention, and overall productivity.
We want to avoid the corona zombies who go from their bed to the desk, to the sofa and back to their bed. The science is clear; you don’t have to be a marathon runner to stay healthy. Moving a little every day can do wonders.Lothar De Keyne, Co-owner Bevoy
‘Gamification’ is an essential part of the Bevoy app. It is a powerful psychological concept to reward people for a specific achievement. What did inspire you to use this as a tool?
Lothar: Our app is a unique combination of existing applications worldwide. We have employee engagement surveys, well-being challenges like walking and cycling, and employee benefits that reward your efforts. We scoured the globe, learning from our competitors and discovering what worked best.
As a startup, it’s vital to reflect on the value you bring to the table. If your solution doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, it may be a sign that there’s no real need for it. Fortunately, the parts of the Bevoy app that we’re developing are already popular around the globe, making our gamification strategy all the more exciting.
In many health apps, there is also an AI component that does cross-data intelligence and gives targeted advice to the user. Is this already present in the Bevoy app, and are there plans to develop this further?
Christophe: For now, there isn’t an AI component in the Bevoy application, but we want to look at it in the future. The power of AI is to provide more intelligent insights based on data, which is an obvious pathway we have to invest in.
We hope that, on the one hand, we can motivate the user of the Bevoy application better and brighter to live a healthier life. And on the other hand, we want to use AI to give HR or management the right tools to create a more vital organisation based on the data the employees provide within the application.
The added value of the Home of AI is, on the one hand, that you are surrounded by brilliant people who are always ready to give feedback. Everyone is also in the same boat and trying to make something of their startup. It is very inspiring to hear other perspectives.Christophe Ballet, co-owner Bevoy
You are also very concerned about nature. For example, you support the ‘Belgian Welfare Forest’.
Lothar: The welfare forest is an initiative of Bevoy, which we joined last month with about twenty companies. Together we want to improve the well-being of the employees by planting a forest.
The intention is that by using the app and completing activities such as cycling, exercise and meditation, trees are also planted as an additional reward.
The nice thing about this is that you help improve the planet while working on your personal health.
What’s remarkable is that there is also a timing attached to it that offers an extra challenge. Many companies are very enthusiastic about this. Next year we will start with a new edition.
What do you think of the Home of AI, and what added value does it offer young startups such as Bevoy?
Christophe: The added value of the Home of AI is, on the one hand, that you are surrounded by brilliant people who are always ready to give feedback. Everyone is trying to make the best of the resources they have, it has a feeling of being in the trenches together. It is very inspiring to see other perspectives.
A second element is office space, which can be a high cost for many startups. Especially at the beginning of your startup, you want to put as many available resources as possible into your company’s growth. But an office is super important. A great office with employees is highly stimulating for productivity and collaboration. We are therefore grateful to use this at the Home of AI.
Another advantage over incubators is that it is a reasonably straightforward application procedure focused on ensuring you get into a suitable environment of like-minded people. That’s why we are grateful that something like the Home of AI exists!
You are invited for the future of HR webinar series
During a 7-part webinar series, Bevoy will cover all the key aspects of a healthy organizational culture, detecting and addressing toxic behaviors, building trust and transparency, promoting diversity and inclusion, balancing work-life, and much more!
Whether you’re an HR professional, a manager, or just passionate about creating a better workplace, these webinar series are for you.
What can you expect? HR experts share their insights and experiences every 2 weeks during a short and informative webinar that lasts only 20 minutes.
Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge.
The next event is thursday 16th of March. You can register via this link.