#BusinessSpotlight on Alex Swaab of FIKA

Alex joined TableCrowd in August this year and already has three dinners under his belt! Most recently we met him for dinner with Howard Kingston, who shared key digital marketing tips for rapid business growth. We wanted to learn more about Alex and his business – Fika


Explain your business in one sentence!

Fika is an emotional wellness app aimed at mainstreaming emotional fitness through real anonymous conversations with real anonymous people.


What were you doing before you launched your business?

Before Fika, I worked at a personal and career development company called iDiscover, a Human Development company fully aimed at teaching people emotional intelligence and self-awareness through a boutique approach. At iDiscover I structured and helped set up the business for growth. Prior to that, I worked at Starcount a Big Data/Data Science company focussing on the science of purchase and intent, rotating around the business but focussing mainly on corporate systems to streamline the business and business development.


If you have any business partners, where did you meet them?

Fika has 3 co-founders, 2 of which I had the pleasure of working with at Starcount. We stayed in touch over the years so when the time came for me to transition into Fika, it was a very smooth process. It’s great working with people you know and have worked with before as you already have a strong basis from which to continue to build your personal and professional relationship on.


What’s your biggest ‘hindsight’ moment?

Personally, I am quite a believer that every path you take, both personally and professionally is just a stepping stone to get you to the next stage. It’s the experiences, both the good and the bad, that shape you and funnel you into a direction closer to your passion. It is therefore hard for me to talk about my biggest ‘hindsight’ moment but if I had to pick it would be that I didn’t push hard enough for a certain opportunity that could have completely reshaped one of the previous businesses I worked in. This was a great learning for me as it taught me that without being too pushy, being tactically persistence more often can turn a no to a yes.


What will the next year bring?

Growth, growth, growth! We have just launched our Fika app, now available in the App and Google Play Store. With continuous product development, our aim is to really grow the listener community and users of Fika, and make people trust the construct of talking things out rather than keeping them inside and ruminating as we believe this format can become a preventative measure to mental health issues like anxiety, stress, loneliness, etc.

We want to expand the team and really create awareness among key target groups such as students, stay at home parents, the elderly and others, as well as speak to corporates to explore benefits the Fika format can have for their employees as well as for the business itself. We also want to continue more strategic partnerships, collaborate with Educational institutes and conduct more research into the benefits of the Fika format from a psychological and maybe even physiological angle.


Give us 1 piece of advice for someone starting in your sector!

For anyone starting any business really, it is so important to establish a culture of openness and transparency. You’re all working towards a common goal/mission and it will be all hands on deck. Time is, therefore, a scarce resource and so if you are discussing ideas and something doesn’t seem right, flag it, as it may be something people may not have thought about and could save you immense amounts of valuable time trying to fix, change or implement later. Also within the business, if you are bothered by something, something feels uncomfortable, or you need to share something that impacts the team, do so with the team. They will support you and most importantly, respect you for it.


Convince someone to use your product in under 50 words!

We believe emotional fitness is just as important as physical fitness. By using Fika, you’d create a proactive, healthy habit and very valuable exercise for the mind, focussing on your emotional and mental health habits to be more relaxed, resilient, happier and more balanced.


What’s your favourite business in your sector – not including your own?

We are big fans of Mind, a charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding, supporting over 513,000 people across England and Wales. Their services include supported housing, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counseling and befriending.


Tell us about your TableCrowd experiences!

I have gone to a couple of TableCrowd experiences now and have really enjoyed them so far because the format is great. There are countless networking opportunities out there, most which, at least to me, felt forced, inauthentic and where I left not actually feeling I made a genuine connection with someone. TableCrowd is different because by taking the dinner format, people are a lot more relaxed, and so are able to share and talk about what it is they do or are looking to achieve in a much lower pressured environment. This makes people more authentic and creates an atmosphere of sharing, discussing and talking, rather than one that encourages people to be pitching robots.


What’s your favourite London restaurant?

I am a big fan of Street XO in Mayfair. They have taken a very creative, unique approach to serving a great variety of European/Asian fusion dishes in a “street food” format. It is fine dining in an informal way which combined with the atmosphere of the restaurant, create a very special overall experience. Also not to ever be excluded here are the amazing cocktails, which not only taste wise but also presentation wise can be quite surprising!


Connect with Alex through TableCrowd!


Want to see who you could meet for dinner? >> Go here!


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