We talked to Tassilo Weber, founder of Yolife, about healthy living and exercise and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tassilo Weber: Thanks for asking, my family and I are well. We all faced some challenges but managed to keep our businesses, jobs, and good health. I even enjoyed the privilege to go on vacation twice during the time of the crisis. So I really won’t complain about the rather small daily sacrifices that the new normal is asking from me.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Yolife.
Tassilo Weber: With my M.A. in Philosophy, I’ve always been driven by humanity’s big questions and how to answer them through my work. I concluded that fostering longevity is the most meaningful thing I can do, as a healthy life is the foundation of everything. Starting with myself, I spent years going through all studies I could find, tracking my health data, and translating it into something I could do.
I also published a book on my journey that caught the attention of my now co-founder Roope who had gone through the same hard work of self-transformation. We decided to make this easier for other people than it was for us. As an innovation consultant and a lead designer, we had great jobs. But as I had already co-founded 2 startups before, we decided to go for it. It just felt like our calling.
How does Yolife innovate?
Tassilo Weber: We are driven by the vision of adding 15 healthy years to the lives of 1 billion people. Longevity is a universal need; nobody would say No to replacing sick years with healthy years. Providing all those people with a tool that helps them to change their lifestyle accordingly can only be done digitally. Then again, this is not an easy task. Longevity comes from science-based, holistic lifestyle management. All the data, range of actions, and services are completely overwhelming. Our innovation lies in a service that simply helps you to focus on the 1 thing that makes you live longer.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Tassilo Weber: First of all it kind of blew our funding round in 2020. With little resources, we had to pivot and we created a new source of income from affiliate partnerships. This led to a new funding round as well as a new product vision. So it may have been a blessing in disguise.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Tassilo Weber: Yes, we had to reduce the team and other expenses. We decided to focus on product development. Business momentum got replaced by silent tinkering. I cannot say if that was the right decision, but it wasn’t the wrong one either. My lessons learned: Letting go of people is never a good experience (like ending a relationship is never really good). But if it is necessary for the sake of the survival of the business, at least it makes sense for all parties involved. And that eases the pain.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Tassilo Weber: Yes, we got some help. And it saved us. Thank you so much.
Your final thoughts?
Tassilo Weber: Startups always face crises and challenges at some point. In a pandemic, it just becomes a more collective experience. Still, it revealed the lack of infrastructure for true collaboration and mutual support among businesses. There was little we could do for other businesses and little we could get from them. Survival became a lonesome struggle for most. It also revealed that standing still is not an option for most startups. There is growth or insolvency. On a planet with limited resources whose future will be shaped by startups, the paradigm of limitless growth and fierce competition instead of collaboration is downright wrong. It’s time for entrepreneurs to truly think outside the box, question those lead values, and develop ecosystems where startups can survive and thrive beyond growth and competition.