Fireside chat with CEO and Founder of Stebby (previously SportID), Marti Soosaar.
With all the recent changes in 2020, we wanted to take a moment to speak to one of Funderbeam’s first investment opportunities. Stebby, formally SportID, was the 2nd funding on the Funderbeam platform back in 2015. Since then, they have established themselves as a way for businesses and employees to access healthy lifestyle choices.
We sat down with CEO and Founder, Marti Soosaar, to understand more about the recent rebranding, how COVID forced them to be agile and what is next for Stebby.
What is Stebby?
Stebby is an employee wellness management platform for employees. We are the biggest in the Baltic States and in Estonia our status is almost the synonym of physical wellness among companies – everyone who does not use Stebby is a bit lower-level employer and gets what is left from the rest in the employment market. That is of course not because they use Stebby but because of their mindset in general and Stebby is very well fit in the mindset of best employers in Estonia. For sure we aim more than that. We are making our moves to get in the same pole position in the rest of the Baltic market soon and then the rest of Europe and the world will follow.
You recently rebranded from SportID to Stebby, can explain what drove this?
The reason of rebranding was the fact the more we developed as a company and platform, the less sports was in the centre our focus. When we started it was all about fitness and sports. Everything that has followed has made sports just a puzzle piece in the whole picture. We have added massage, physiotherapy, nutrition plans, active free time activities, health insurance etc At one point it became inevitable that the name that includes the word “sport” is a party stopper for us in the long run and drives people thinking inside the box when they hear first time about us.
Of course, for our current customers this change has brought some confusion. We could not do it like TransferWise changing the name for Wise and keeping the logo. Putting the name ID for a company would sure have been ambitious move that we considered, but decided to pass. We hired an agency Neway to do the job together with us and I think they helped us a lot. The concept of taking every next step with us is good – step by step towards your wellness goals. The motive of a heart and step as a logo, depends on what perspective you take, is pure genius. Sure, we gave the input, but final touch was their’s and I am happy with the end result.
Now our mission is to carry this message to the world and be relentless and successful in doing this.
What were the biggest difficulties during the rebranding and what surprised you the most?
For me the biggest difficulty was letting go. I am the founder of the company as well I invented the SportID name and sure I was proud over the fact.
Our next fail was the .com chase that failed. One of the demands from our side was that the .com has to be free and it was. But then something strange happened, once we confirmed that Stebby is our next brand and went to purchase the domain it was already taken by some Chinese company. I am not sure how they figured our plans out but I am quite sure they did not acquire the domain by accident. Most likely, while someone was doing research, they entered the desired name into some wrong database couple of times and someone took a notice. So my takeaway is this – if you are looking for .com and find a free one and think that there is 10% chance that you will end up with finding this the best option then purchase it right away. If you end up buying 10 names you do not need and prevent losing the one you need, it is still worth it.
The other challenge we had was announcing the change of name to customers. This is of course lack of inexperience of doing this. Our plan was to do the change so that we switch off sportid.com and turn on stebby.eu, then send e-mail to all of our users and the hard work is done. The reality was that the e-mails from new domain ended up in our users spambox and lot of the information went missing the first day. This caused lot of hard days for our customer support team and quite unprecedented unsubscribe and spam reports that ranked our domain even lower for e-mail spam filters.
During the first months of COVID people moved from sports clubs into online training, how did that impact your business?
The first impact was horrifing. The drop of GMV was 10x. So we figured we need to do something to prove our value for our customers. Fortunatley we figured that the trainers had tough times as well. We put 2 and 2 together and started our own video workouts. We collected money from our users and paid it out for trainers. We did not earn lot of money but we offered people a chance to work out and trainers a chance to earn living and proved our value to our B2B customers. The latter was our victory. In summer, when corona numbers decreased we decided that this video workouts tool needs to be formed as a new company and new product and that was the beginning of FitQ Studio. At the moment Stebby is a shareholder in that company and happy to see the user numbers in FitQ Studio grow day by day, but for us it is just a service provider. But on the other hand, we want our service providers to be successful and happy in co-operating with Stebby and find new customers.
What is next for Stebby?
We had such huge plans for last spring. We had a site open for Dubai and huge marketing campaigns planned in Latvian and Lithuanian markets. So, at the moment the plan for a full year has been to survive. But sure, we are looking for post corona times as well.
We are registered as a participant for EXPO2020 in Dubai that will start in October, so Dubai plans will be looked over this spring. Also our long awaited app is almost ready and will be pushed to App Store and Google Play stores within 1 month. This will not be just an enhancement of UI/UX, making user’s purchase experience slightly more comfortable. I am sure it will be a totally new standard in searching and purchasing wellness services in Estonia. And after that we will bring this experience to other countries as well.
There will be also some more news in the front of health insurance companies’ and Stebby cooperation coming in the next few months, so stay tuned.
My top advice for all Funderbeam users would be to purchase 1 Stebby token to get our updates. The name of our company is SportID International OÜ, so the tokens are named SportID. This is not an investment advice to buy more, since legally this is not allowed. Just with the ownership of 1 token you have monthly access to all of our Funderbeam updates in realtime and this way you can be up to date with Stebby news.
As mentioned above, Stebby is noted on the Marketplace as SportID 1 & 2. You can find out more about the company and their updates here.