Tero Lehtonen is CEO at Firstbeat. In this article, he gives his thoughts on the year ahead including the exciting opportunities available for new customers and partners interested in Firstbeat Life and Firstbeat Sports and shares some of our greatest learnings and successes from 2022.
Reflections and Learnings from 2022
My summary for 2022 would be that I think we are onto something big, both with Firstbeat Sports and Firstbeat Life. We are in the right place, at the right time, with the right products. Our plans and focuses are clear, now it’s about realizing the benefits and pushing forward with growth.
With Firstbeat Sports, we have an established role as a leading performance management solution for team sports. There are still many opportunities to develop the way that we help teams better and in more impactful ways, as well as expand to other sectors and performance-critical professions such as the military and rescue services.
With Firstbeat Life, we have brought something to market that fills a gap and is clearly needed – helping well-being professionals to serve their customers in more holistic and impactful ways by incorporating professional-grade physiology into their services. We have confirmed that we can greatly improve the delivery and business of different kinds of coaches in the health and well-being sectors – there’s a great need, a great fit, and the timing is better than ever.
There’s a tremendous need right now for health and well-being services where professionals help individuals with realistic and easily approachable steps to cope better in this increasingly complex and new world. The challenges of our lifestyles are increasing – with more demands in our working lives, constantly moving, and trying to navigate a new post-COVID environment of hybrid working without a blueprint.
Then there is the more fundamental need for a long-term transition from reactive healthcare to preventative healthcare. Together with occupational healthcare providers, we’ve discovered that we provide critical ingredients to their services – such as understanding recovery from stress, and people’s ability to cope with the psychological and physical load of their work.
2022 Highlights and Success Stories
We launched Firstbeat Life for service providers as a completely new kind of offering to the market, and 2022 was the first full year of operation. Now we’ve acquired more than 800 ongoing partners in more than 30 countries who have adopted Firstbeat Life into their businesses.
It clearly demonstrates that there’s a need for what we do and an approach that is universally applicable. This is exciting for us because that means that our business can scale globally.
Another highlight would be the collaboration with occupational healthcare providers where we’ve been able to make big moves with customers like Terveystalo and Mehiläinen being part of some of the core services and processes of occupational healthcare where we add specific, well-understood value.
2023 Outlook – What Lies Ahead
What lies ahead for 2023 is our businesses’ expansion and growth. We are actively building new partnerships, not only direct service provider relationships, but also distribution and sales collaboration-related relationships too. One great example of this is the renewed and expanded distribution agreement in China for the next 10 years which we just signed at the end of December. This marks the next chapter of a broader and deeper collaboration that will begin this year.
I already mentioned expanding Firstbeat Sports beyond the use of coaching in team sports to adjacent segments such as performance-critical professions as well as sports-related stakeholders in a broader sense, such as research and education or more data-driven services.
Then in the wellness business, global expansion is what lies ahead of us. Seeing value realized in some of the strategic partnerships we have, for example, in occupational healthcare, and at the same time expanding to new markets with Firstbeat Life.
Trends in the Wellness Industry
I think that what we do fits in with wider trends within the wellness market in two ways. First, is fact-based decision-making. I think that’s one of the clearly identified megatrends. We use more data to support and help us make better decisions. This applies particularly to well-being services.
The other trend is the more holistic approach to well-being where Firstbeat Life helps all kinds of healthcare and well-being service providers to develop their services to be more comprehensive, by considering a combination of factors that impact the quality of your life. For example, stress and recovery, the impact of exercise, and sleep, as a whole – the comprehensive balance of lifestyle is what Firstbeat Life has been designed for. It addresses the total balance of a healthy lifestyle with professional-grade accuracy and reliability.
In the market, there are a lot of solutions for the consumer, which have been primarily designed for them to use independently. Our specific angle and specific value that we add to the market is a comprehensive solution that is built for the interaction between a professional and an individual. That’s where our specific role is.
CEO’s Message for Partners in 2023
To any service providers or potential partners who are interested in becoming a Firstbeat Life Partner in 2023: there is clearly a demand and plenty of immediate concrete business opportunities for our partners and potential partners to grow and improve their businesses, along with the opportunity to be more valuable and impactful in your work.
Firstbeat Life is easy to adopt, with low barriers and no upfront investments needed. It’s a universal solution that can fit many different types of services compatible with various business models. It’s a very flexible and universal platform that can support any type of business and is easy to start.
I think Firstbeat is in a unique position as a growth company because we have products and business models that are fully scalable and globally applicable in both businesses. Most start-up and growth companies dream of a position and a story that we have – a great product that is unique, and valuable, and competitors don’t offer. And then fully scalable. We have all of that. Firstbeat is the leading platform for physiology-based coaching.
When we introduce something new to the market with a unique approach it is a very demanding task because there are no existing market structures for exactly what we offer. But I’d like to remind us and encourage our team to remember that when we think of the opportunities and the position we are in and what we’ve been able to achieve. Within a year Firstbeat Life has seen the launch of a new product that brings in multiple millions in revenue from 30 countries, and our sports business has a specialist role serving elite and professional sports teams in more than 70 countries. It’s against the odds for any start-up or growth company to get to such a position. We can be very proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
Tero Lehtonen, CEO of Firstbeat