An interview with our Co-Founder DanBy Daniel Angelini
At what point did you feel ready to leave your 9-5 and take on MOVI as a full-time commitment?
Back in 2013, I started researching the facts about standing, sitting, physical exercise and sedentary behaviour and I discovered fascinating medical research that helped me understand the importance of physical activity. What really hit me was how big of a problem physical inactivity had become for our health. I was reading medical journal publications, workplace trial results and case studies from all over the world. The reality the research depicted was quite frightening. The fact we spend 11+ hours a day sitting contributes to many of the common problems we see in society today: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and lower back pain. Minimising daily sitting time and regularly moving and exercising combats this modern-day health epidemic. But, almost every professional in the world today sits in front of a computer for the majority of their working day.
I decided to take the leap of faith and focus on MOVI full time when I felt so compelled to create a solution to this health problem, that it's what I wanted to do every day. My vision for MOVI has been to create healthier workplaces by encouraging changes to our working habits and promoting movement throughout our day. Don't get me wrong, it was a very difficult decision to make, it was an enormous leap of faith, and as a result, I now work tirelessly on design and build what I believe to be the best solution for most people around the world for their desk. But I'm sure I'll look back in 5 years time and see the amazing results from everything that's gone into it.
What have been some defining moments personally in starting your own business?
There's so many but I want to share one in particular. I was in China recently. I've been a few times. It really is an incredible place. Stepping into the world of manufacturing over there, you see things that you've never ever seen before - enormous factory floors with machines, components, people, processes, and automation all merged together. On one of the day's on my trip, we visited an electric motor company, the company who is making the motor we've selected to use in MOVI for the height adjustment. After our meet and greet and initial chats, we start on a factory tour. After about 10 minutes into the factory tour, there was a moment where I had five people around me, two from MOVI and three from the factory and they we all looking to me to show me something about the electric motors or the facility. It was at that point, where I had this incredibly overwhelming sense of realisation that I am really creating something special - something tangible, unique and has never been done anywhere in the world. It felt real, like this is a real thing, and this isn't just an idea anymore, soon there will be one of these manufacturing floors building MOVI. I had taken my idea out of the scrapbook and onto the factory floor. That was amazing. I felt like Elon Musk! lol.
You’ve had your own businesses before - in what way is MOVI different?
I started my first business at 21, and it was very much a case of looking for a niche, something that wasn't being done yet in Australia that could be set up pretty quickly and inexpensively. I was only involved in it for a short time but this startup, Bongo, now operates in 15 countries globally. I had no idea it would go on to grow so much. After that I worked for some large companies in Tech and Digital Products, moving to work as a founding member of Uber Australia HQ team, launching in Melbourne, Victoria. Often while doing that, I needed a creative outlet, often in the form of a business venture. So Bongo did well, then the next 3-4 startup ideas didn't. They all failed miserably.
The reason why MOVI is different, is the reason why those other ventures didn't work out. And that is that MOVI is being driven by a true passion to make a difference. MOVI is not about business and money, it's about people, healthy people, all around the world. When I work, I focus on that and how healthier workplaces, means less health problems, diseases, cancer, diabetes and so on. I'm sure we can all say that we know someone who has been affected by one of these health problems. It's highly likely that they spend a lot of time sitting down. So MOVI is really on a mission to create change; healthier workplaces all around the world.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are thinking about leaving the safety net of corporate life, and branching out on their own?
1) Understand why you do what you do and work out if it truely satisfies you. Too often, we hear the phrase from people, "wow this year has flown by", when looking back on a calendar year. And yes, that's reality, time flies. So for me, I got to a point where I wanted to make sure that my time was being used in a way that I was truly proud of, regardless of the end result. What is my mark on this world, what is my difference, how do I make a positive impact? Ask yourself these questions and explore them. If they excite you, then follow your intuition and act on it. I definitiely don't recommend quitting at the drop of a hat or thinking it'll be an easy ride, it's extremely challenging and always uncertain, but despite all the time and effort, it's very rewarding and satisfying. If you do start something, remember, it takes time.
2) Have a personal mantra to keep you going. Mine has been 'The 4 Ps', something I came up with to summarise values that I believe are essential for success, based on reading a lot about entrepreneurs and founders. Here they are:
- Positivity - It’s vital to stay positive. It can be difficult when you’re doing challenging things and have false starts, but you have to train yourself to shut down the negative thoughts immediately and reinforce positive thoughts.
- Persistence - Keep going and keep putting your plans into action. Things generally don’t work because you give up too soon - so just keep going. I have found a lot of ventures I have entered have failed because I gave up that little bit too soon. Believe in yourself and keep going.
- Patience - It’s easy to give up if we’re not patient with the process it takes to start a new journey. Success needs time to come to fruition. Though it’s challenging, calm yourself down and practice patience regularly.
- Passion - Everyone always talks about passion, but it’s very easy to get passion and money confused. You have to be authentically, genuinely passionate about why you want to do what you want to do.
Can you tell us about your product, the MOVI Workspace?
Our standing desk is the most innovative, ergonomic, spacious standing desk add-on product available. It lets you sit and stand effortlessly with one-touch electric lift. MOVI is an ergonomic, electric, spacious standing desk, crafted from bamboo. MOVI gives you the ability to sit and stand effortlessly, with the touch of a button. MOVI comes fully assembled, all you need to do is plug it in and away you go. MOVI has been designed with no compromises.
Where did the idea for the setup of the MOVI Workspace come from?
It all started four years ago when I brought my DIY stand-up desk into work. It inspired the team to roll-out stand-up desks. The problem was they weren’t getting used because they were uncomfortable, bulky and didn’t look good. So my wife and I set out to invent a stand-up desk that was functional, safe and stylish, one that would get used all day everyday so everyone could experience better health. In 2017, we launched MOVI!
How does the (space) desk encourage movement?
MOVI makes it easy to get moving. Over the last four years, we’ve tried just about every standing desk on the market but never found a product that suited all our needs. There are often major issues with standing desk add-ons, in terms of design, lifting hazards, stability, space and ergonomics. In consultation with health experts and through hours of user testing and extensive feedback, we designed MOVI to overcome every limitation of desk add-on products.
Should we be standing on a particular mat or wearing a specific pair of shoes when using standing desks?
It's best to use flat footwear and stand on a surface that is soft. If you have a hard concrete floor, than an anti-fatigue mat is highly recommended. And it's best to avoid high heels!
Can you talk about who you’ve worked with in developing this project?
MOVI has been created by Melbourne-based couple, Daniel and Nadia Angelini. We’re passionate about making a positive impact on the world, helping people experience better health, all with the environment in mind. Along with MOVI’s co-founders, a team of experts with deep knowledge and experience in product design and mechanical engineering have been involved to create this product. The Tricycle Developments team have years of experience in the development of consumer, industrial, scientific and healthcare products. Their team work with subject matter experts around the globe to bring world-class innovation into MOVI.
What inspired you to research the health concerns associated with sitting long hours at a desk?
We clock up so many hours working and sitting: 11 hours, 12 hours a day every day. We fill our day with so many things: meetings, emails, Facebook, calls, commuting, couch time. There’s not a lot of spare time left to keep fit and healthy.
Many health problems come from physical inactivity regardless of how much exercise we do. I was shocked when I first found out the facts. Sitting is impacting everybody around the world, and we don’t talk about it much. To me, the easiest way to solve this problem and get moving more, is to change the way we work. This way we are improving our health while we work, without putting in the extra effort or time after hours.
Where can we get our hands on a copy of The Sitting Epidemic?
Check out sittingepidemic.com for more info
What are the health concerns related to long periods of sitting?
Here are just some of the facts about sitting too much.
- Sitting for 12 hours a day puts your risk of being diagnosed with heart disease and cancer at the same level as a chronic smoker.
- Some studies have suggested that prolonged physical inactivity can increase heart disease risk by as much as 147%.
- Sitting puts 40% more pressure on your spine than standing and lower back pain problems lead to annual health care costs of US $500b p.a. and AU $9b p.a. as a result of loss of working hours, therapies, treatments, rehabilitation etc.
What are your top tips for being healthier whilst working at a desk job?
Move regularly. Experts recommend moving every 30-40 minutes. Changing your posture often helps to avoid health problems, even if it's for a few minutes. Stretch, move, walk.
What do you hope to achieve from the Kickstarter campaign?
We hope to establish a community of engaged early adopters that are excited to come on the journey with us.