[Interview] Marc Thouvenin, President of ActivUP: the walking desk keeps you fit while you work

Marc Thouvenin is the founder ofActivUP, the solution to health problems linked to sedentary work 🔥

ActivUP keeps you fit while you work

ActivUP's objective? Improve employee health by keeping them on the move, even at work.

How do you get there? With the walking-desk 🚶‍♂️


The story of ActivUP and its founder, Marc Thouvenin 📚

It all began in 2014. Marc personally uses a walking desk. However, given the interest generated by the concept among his friends and family, he decided to sell his former company and embark on the ActivUp adventure. Covid didn't boost sales, but it did bring about a change in demand. Telecommuting was leading to the abandonment of premises by large companies, and therefore to a reduction in the purchase of equipment, and an increase in the need for walking desks among individuals and very small businesses.

"Initially, I thought the concept was great for me! When people asked me where to get some, I thought there was a way to improve everyone's health by starting a new business! "

Marc started out as an engineer in a large group, but after a few years he got bored of having a boss 👔 He then embarked on a career in entrepreneurship. He then faced successive failures that led him to become an employee again.

It wasn't until 2009 that he once again dared to set up his owne-commerce business.

"It took me a while to realize that I needed to be an entrepreneur to decide my own destiny. I'd wandered around, starting out in a bit of a haphazard way, hence my return to salaried employment. It took me a few missteps to get there."

The ActivUP walking desk


Health and productivity benefits ✅

Marc has drawn on numerous studies promoting regular physical activity. Workers who spend their days sitting down may not be fully aware of it, but theimpact of a sedentary lifestyle on health is not negligible. It is even dramatic in the long term.

"I positioned myself on a vertical solution in order to relieve people suffering from chronic illnesses: overweight see obesity, diabetes, but also all back pathologies."

For workers, productivity gains are the primary benefit. For employers, the purchase of a walking desk is proof that they care about their employees' health, and avoids high staff turnover thanks to reduced absenteeism.

"Researchers have shown that a physically active workforce, consumes on average 27% fewer sick days."


ActivUP's business model 💬

Renting or buying? It's all possible. Individuals and very small businesses prefer to buy, while large companies prefer to lease for their employees. Some people opt for rental before committing to purchase. Marc adapts to all types of customer.

"When dealing with individuals or very small businesses, the business model is essentially purchase. When we're talking about businesses, what works well is to start by renting so you can experiment before launching into purchasing."


The impact of Covid-19 on ActivUP? 🤔

Covid hasn't boosted sales, but it has brought about a change in demand. Telecommuting is leading to the abandonment of premises for large companies, and therefore to a reduction in purchases for equipment, and an increase in the need for walking desks among individuals or very small businesses.

"Since Covid, we've developed a kind of fleet rental. The company takes several walking desks for its employees' homes. If an employee no longer uses his walking desk, he can give it to one of his colleagues. We take care of all the transport.

A designer walking desk that lets you work out


Lighting 📺

You're probably wondering where you've seen or heard of ActivUp? On television or radio! 📻

Marc is well aware of the opportunity that these TV appearances represent, and of how lucky he is, as a start-up, to appear on shows as popular as Télématin, for example. Nevertheless, he warns against the TV effect. Knowing how to talk to journalists is a skill not to be neglected! Future entrepreneurs, surround yourself properly 😉

"Talking to journalists is a challenge, you have to be able to get into their editorial topics with relevant information that is non-commercial."

If you'd like to find out more about walking at the office on a walking desk, visit the ActivUP website.

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