founder

Founder Profile: The Team Creating Gains From Losses – Thomas Querton, Magali Mathieu, and Oliver Kaeser

Summary

When it comes to the intersection of doing well and doing good it’s hard to find a company that embodies this quite as much as atlasGo. Founders, Thomas Querton, Magali Mathieu, and Oliver Kaeser sat down with us to discuss what atlasGo’s get fit while doing good mantra is all about.

Be it becoming a certified B Corp., to why the intersection of corporate wellness programs and non-profit contributions is such an on-trend business right now, this team breaks down how they are upending corporate wellness with social good. Already selected as a Deal To Watch, we dive into how this team is building a global organization for good!

Who knew that losing weight could raise money for good? Talk about a win-win!

Chris Lustrino

Thomas, how did you come up with the idea for atlasGo and how does your background enable you to lead this company?

atlasGO

Thomas: 4 years ago I was running the 20Km of Brussels. 40.000 people joined the race. Everybody supporting a non-profit they care about. That day I felt part of a community like I never did before. I felt like I belonged. I also felt like I was doing some good for the world and for my body. When I was cooling off I wondered if this model could be replicated every day and leverage technology to scale the impact! I then embarked on a flight to San Francisco to create a global community of sweaty changemakers that sweat daily for causes around the world!

I started my first company when I was 18. It was a great way to lose my virginity to entrepreneurship early and demystify the experience of a startup. I have always been very engaged with non-profits throughout my youth, founded a foundation in Belgium and had the privilege to travel with Pr Muhammad Yunus in 2015 who opened my eyes to social entrepreneurship. He was the trigger towards combining my entrepreneurship thirst with my social impact ambitions.

Chris Lustrino

For those that don’t know how do you define atlasGo as a business?

atlasGO

Thomas: atlasGO is a global fitness for good movement:

Our community app allows anyone to convert their workout into charitable contributions. Thanks to corporate partners every Km/Mile you walk, run or bike (new sports coming soon) raises between $0.25 – $1 for a non-profit. The app is a great way to get fit and make an impact at the same time. The social media part of the app allows like-minded people to chat, compete and share stories about their workouts and impactful goals.

Our corporate wellness app allows corporations to leverage the atlasGO platform to create exclusive challenges for their employees. Corporate wellness challenges allow companies to boost company culture and teamwork, increase the healthy habits of their employees and give them a platform to make an impact with their colleagues.

Both our products allow non-profits to raise more funding from corporations and generate more visibility for their mission through our sweaty community!

Chris Lustrino

What is the monetization strategy for atlasGo?

atlasGO

Magali: Our main monetization strategy is through our corporate wellness challenges. We run employee engagement wellness campaigns tied to a company’s philanthropy goals. Companies pay atlasGO on top of the donation they make to the cause for the service we provide. Companies pay us a setup fee per challenge and a fee per employee per month.

Chris Lustrino

How has this offering been received by corporations and is there a lot of education involved in making a sale?

atlasGO

Magali: In today’s world, it’s being received very well, companies are fighting for the best talent and paying more attention to keeping their employees happy. The health and wellbeing of their employees are becoming an increasing priority for companies as well as giving back and taking care of their community. Growing, global companies are probably those that need the less education, they’re hungry for a way to create more community engagement at the global employee level and that’s just what we do.

Chris Lustrino

What do corporate sales cycles look like for atlasGo?

atlasGO

Magali: Sales cycles vary mainly on budget decisions of a company, like most businesses. For larger clients, it can take up to a year and our patience is rewarded in larger contracts and long term partnerships. Some companies are more eager to start a challenge because of a recent merger, as a way to boost employee morale or because of different internal business needs.

Chris Lustrino

For organizations that have adopted atlasGo, what do they look like and how has it been received by users?

atlasGO

Thomas: Our corporate clients vary in size. Some of our larger clients love atlasGO because of our flexibility. They utilize atlasGO in different ways depending on their needs. For example, SwissRe organized a 3-month challenge for their 15.000 employees with users engaged in 24 countries at once. 

Another use case is Salesforce who will leverage our platform to create a digital walk-for-good during a 2-day conference. Lululemon worked with us last year this time engaging their clients around the issue of homelessness through our community solution.

Chris Lustrino

Have you found any challenge in trying to sell a wellness app that also integrates this donation component? It seems like it could create some confusion amongst other offerings in the space?

atlasGO

Olivier: It mainly is a great differentiator for us and we really see atlasGO as a great complementary product towards other offerings in the space. As an example, we are currently working on creating partnerships with another fitness application, a company that sells wearables and a donation platform. It’s great to see that so many businesses around the world have an interest in collaboration and learning from each other to create additional value for everyone in the process. 

From a sales perspective, we sometimes encounter a bit of confusion in the understanding of the product itself in the very beginning. It also isn’t always easy to sell a product that impacts various decision makers within a company as we usually have to talk to a variety of people within a company to get atlasGO “approved”.

However, the one thing we saw in 2018 is that our clients and their employees are super happy with our product and that they really appreciate the fact that we approach certain things in a different way and that we bring in a whole new aspect with our focus on social impact.

Chris Lustrino

You recently became a B Corp. How did you decided to become a B Corp and how does it help you execute on your vision?

atlasGO

Olivier: We fundamentally believe that the “business as a force for good” movement is both the right thing to do from an impact perspective but also a competitive advantage in many aspects of doing business.

Selling atlasGO is very much in line with that approach, positively impacting our clients in terms of company culture, employee engagement, health and fitness just to name a few. We believe that our product helps our clients to become a better company very much in line with what the B Corp movement stands for so we decided to “walk the talk” and become certified as an early stage startup. While the whole process of getting certified was a lot of work, it really helped us to engrave our vision and impact model into many aspects of how we’re doing business and to create the culture we believe helped us to be where we are today.

There are so many things in the B Corp assessment you probably wouldn’t think about as an early stage startup, but thanks to the process we are now all set to further improve our company and our product according to this criteria.

Chris Lustrino

The team has discussed moving into Europe. How will you target that market and what challenges do you think you will face overseas?

atlasGO

Thomas: The founding team is from Belgium, France & Switzerland. Europe is a market we know very well. In Europe, corporations understand the importance of investing in their people and communities as a key component of growth.

We wanted to invest in the traction we have observed there by hiring in Spain and France and by creating broker relationships in Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany. The main challenges are cultural differences and additional languages. We are working on the culture part by adding new sports to the app and broadening our offering and have translated the app in all major languages.

Chris Lustrino

Do you have any sense of gross margin on atlasGo?

atlasGO

Olivier: Yes, we are definitely getting there with further understanding our product, sales process and the cost we face to develop and innovate our product. 2017 and 2018 were definitely front heavy with the development of the product itself while focusing on early revenue. For 2019, this learning curve helped us to create tangible goals for business development and they are based on the understanding we have today about our unit economics.

These numbers give us a great sense of where we are and on what we need to focus on to make atlasGO a financially viable business, focusing on the scalability of our platform and recurring revenue streams.

Chris Lustrino

How do you think about exit strategies and do you see another corporate wellness program purchasing a company like yours?

atlasGO

Olivier: Yes, absolutely. As founders, we have a responsibility towards our investors and our employees to keep certain exit scenarios on the radar and to work towards them. At the moment our strategy is to focus on creating value and generating revenue to make atlasGO an interesting company for a Series A in two years.  

To solely focus on a strategic acquisition and to “build to sell” without having that big vision of becoming the world’s biggest fitness for good movement would potentially hinder us to think big and to be bold.

Chris Lustrino

With the capital raised in this round how will you build out your team?

atlasGO

Thomas: We have 2 main targets: Delighting our customers and finding new ones. Our first round was focused on building a strong tech team. Today we have a stable technical team. Their focus is on improving our existing products and innovate with new integrations to further generate value for our users and customers.

 

With this round, we are investing in our sales force with a clear focus on acquiring more paying customers and strategic partners. Now that we have proven our model and worked with some of the largest companies in the world we will focus on growing our customer base through SEO & case studies, word of mouth & referrals, and a kickass sales team.

Chris Lustrino

Why did you decide to do an equity crowdfunding round?

atlasGO

Thomas: We have closed 80% of our $1M seed round thanks to remarkable angel investors.  On top of their investments, these accredited investors offer great value to the company and are always there to help grow with us. We wanted to allow all of our stakeholders to be part of this growth. So we decided to open up part of our round to the public.  

This way, our users, friends, clients, and anybody that believe in the fitness for good movement can participate in our round. This way we can continue building atlasGO together, and offer anyone the opportunity to be part of our journey. We also see huge value in expanding our network of supporters.  

We believe that having more people with a stake in the company to see us succeed increases the chance of our success. Even if you invest $100, we want to be able to hear your input and work with you. We organize live Q&A sessions and are very accessible to hear from all investors. Accredited or not. We believe that there is more in a hundred heads than a dozen. We really see that as a crucial part of how we grow!

With almost $1M raised in seed capital, a business that has already garnered business from Lululemon, Salesforce and other major corporations and global ambitions we think this is a really intriguing play on the corporate wellness market opportunity. And the team is a group we can get behind, each bringing his or her own strength to the table!

 

If interested, be sure to invest HERE.

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About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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