Bring-your-kids-to-work-day!

Aniek Hanneman

Just any other Wednesday? Not at Futurewhiz, because it was bring-your-kids-to-work-day! The kitchen was transformed into a children’s paradise where the kids could play, color, read, craft and join fun games. A day packed full of fun! Read all about it down below.

In for a treat

All the kids were welcomed with open arms at the Futurewhiz office from 10:00 AM till 3:00 PM. There was a kid-friendly lunch and snacks throughout the day (so the kids could go home like sugar bouncing balls). The team also organized two activities throughout the office: a bingo and a scavenger hunt. The kids were in for a treat!

TikToks and Squla-fun

That was not all the kids could expect at the office. They were also invited to record some jokes for TikTok. Coming soon on TikTok! There was also a try-to-break-Squla-corner setup. The goal was to ‘break’ Squla. If they succeeded, they could win a cool tattoo! Overall: fun all around.

Join our next bring-your-kids-to-work-day!

Does this day sound like a hoot? We are looking for new colleagues who want to join us for the ride. Take a look at the vacancies and see if there is an opening that was made for you!

Time to celebrate: 10 years working at Futurewhiz!

Aniek Hanneman

July 5th was not like any other day at the office. It marks the day that two of our colleagues have been working for ten years at Futurewhiz! Everybody at Futurewhiz celebrated this moment with cake, speeches, and trophies.

A decade at Futurewhiz

The CEO of Futurewhiz, Serge Bueters, started working ten years ago on this very day. When he walked through the door, he was mistaken for a consultant because of his sophisticated outfit. Little did they know, that he would become the CEO of Futurewhiz!

We asked Serge to share his thoughts about this milestone. Serge: “What is most dear to me are the people I have had the pleasure of working with over the past 10 years and who we have built wonderful learning platforms like Squla and WRTS with!”

Pascal Teuling started working at Squla when the platform was just taking off. He had one of the leading roles in the rebranding of Squla. Pascal started as a Visual Designer at Squla and through the years, he worked his way up to Senior Designer / Art Director.

Pascal also wanted to share some words about his role at Futurewhiz: “Designing digital products and brands for kids is an incredibly fun thing to do!”

On to the next 10 years!

At Futurewhiz, we want to celebrate all the milestones. Small or big. Do you want to work at a company that never passes on a chance to eat cake? Take a look at our vacancies and join us!

Embrace the difference day at Futurewhiz

Aniek Hanneman

On Thursday 30 June 2022, Futurewhiz organized an afternoon that was focused on our company value “Embrace the difference”. This means we want to accept and enrich diversity in our team, product and customers. In this blog you will read how we all embraced the difference on this day.

Making our companies more diverse

On this day, all the employees of Futurewhiz took various tests to discover if they have biases. This led to some eye-opening insights about ourselves. The next step was to discover if our platforms are diverse enough. To explore this, a few colleagues of WRTS and Squla teamed up together to investigate. They talked to parents and users of WRTS and Squla to discover how we can improve all of our platforms so everybody feels included. There were some very interesting insights that we are going to use to improve our platforms!

Documentary

One of the activities of the day was watching a documentary called Three Women. About slavery and freedom. The documentary is an expression of a worldwide movement in which black people and people of color take strength and pride in their history. Ellen-Rose Kambel (researcher) had a leading part in this documentary and came to our office to discuss this documentary. Everyone was free to ask questions and participate in the discussion. We have learned a lot from her and her story.

Keti Koti

Ellen-Rose Kambel also explained about Keti Koti, an annual celebration on 1 July that marks Emancipation Day in Suriname. In addition to the explanation, she brought all kinds of Surinamese and Antillean snacks.

A day full of learning!

Do you also want to work at a company that touches on important topics, like diversity and inclusivity? Take a look at our vacancies!

The Spring Fling of 2022

Aniek Hanneman

On Thursday the 23d of June, Futurewhiz organized an event called Spring Fling. All the employees of Squla, scoyo, Futurewhiz, and WRTS came together to participate in various outdoor games, have a drink with their colleagues, and enjoy good food. It surely was a time to remember!

Something with bubbles and football

The party was full of sing-along songs, catch-ups whilst enjoying a drink, some very good food cooked and prepared by an old friend of Futurewhiz, light outdoor games, and one very big outdoor game: bubble football. After a couple of soccer matches in the plastic bubbles, the creative minds stuck their heads together to make a tower!

Spring Fling was organized by the Culture Crew, an enthusiastic group of employees who are striving to create a workspace full of happy employees. One of the organizers of this eventful night, Nick Hogan (Data Scientist at Squla), tells how it all came together. Nick: “The organizing went very smooth I think, partially because we didn’t commit to anything like building a coffin or coving the office floor in a layer of soil like the Halloween party haha. The goal of the event was just to have fun. We initially were going to announce the results of some other Culture Crew activities, but they are all still ongoing so we just kept the party and dropped the speeches. In the end, I’m just glad people had a fun time and got to spend some time with colleagues they don’t normally meet.”

What is Culture Crew?

Culture Crew is an initiative by the employees of Futurewhiz, where the focus is on how to improve our company culture and make our employees happy!

Overall, a great success!

Does team outings like this sounds like something you might enjoy? Check out our vacancies to see if there is an opening!

Moin Hamburg!

Lisa Potma

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” 
– Gustave Flaubert

It is Friday July 30, 2021, when I jump on the train from Amsterdam Central Station to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. With a suitcase and a backpack I am ready to start my new adventure in Germany. After working for 5 years at Squla and WRTS (both part of Futurewhiz), I now have the opportunity to work for scoyo, a German online learning platform for primary school children. I will reinforce the marketing team with email / loyalty marketing and help build a bridge between the Amsterdam and Hamburg office.

After a few first days of sightseeing in my new hometown Hamburg (checking out the beautiful Alster, Rathausmarkt and Elbphilharmonie), I start my new role as Loyalty Manager scoyo on the 1st of August. The team gives me a very warm welcome: fresh flowers, a nicely decorated desk, snacks and a welcome’s lunch with the Marketing Team!

scoyo was founded in 2007 but completely rebuilt and rebranded at the end of 2020. The challenge is to find the right market / product fit in the German market. I learn a lot from my colleagues about the German school system, the German consumer (market) and how to do business in Germany. I try to mix my knowledge from Squla and WRTS with my new German market knowledge to help scoyo grow into the next phase, so we can help more and more children with personalised fun learning. 

At the end of August I have an intensive German language course at “De nonnen van Vught” – an awesome experience! We focus on office conversations, interviewing teachers and parents, discussing school topics, writing emails, cultural differences and of course some grammar. 

When I return to Hamburg I switch to speaking German in the office, which results in some great entertainment for my colleagues. Some examples:

  • Saying the German word “krass” in an official meeting (I thought “krass” meant ‘cool, awesome’, but it means something like ‘dope’…)
  • Accidentally translating Dutch sayings, such as “Das ist geschnitten Kuchen” or “Etwas unter das Knie haben”, which are sentences that don’t make a lot of sense in German
  • Trying to tell someone that I know my way around this area by saying “Ich bin hier bekannt”, which actually translates into “I am famous here”…

In the next months I start to feel at home and settle more and more into the role and the country. I learn a lot! For example, did you know that the Germans actually prefer to “duzen” (an informal way to talk to someone), but to be polite they still often start with ”Sie” (which is a formal way to talk to someone)? And that there is quite some innovation in environmental consciousness and eating vegetarian / vegan? And, not unimportant, that you always need to have some cash with you since you cannot always pay by card (this caused some missed bus trips and sprints to cash machines)? In addition, I try a lot of German food, such as Franzbrötchen (cinnamon croissant), currywurst und pommes, Schmalzkuchen, Brezeln and Reibekuchen. And of course, drink a lot of Glühwein at the wunderschöne Weihnachtsmärkte. Even though I really like to join my colleagues for a warm lunch every now and then, I still prefer my Dutch brought-from-home-lunch: bread with avocado.  

Next to work I am discovering Hamburg together with my volleyball team, colleagues, flatmates and friends and family from the Netherlands who come to visit, which is a lot of fun! I also found an awesome language buddy, who I meet regularly to speak German and Dutch with and talk about our cultures. 

To conclude, I can definitely recommend saying yes to such an adventure! It teaches so much, you meet many new interesting people and it really broadens my horizon! 

Tschüss!!!

Liebe Grüße

Lisa

Celebrating good causes on GivingTuesday

Katariina

Tuesday the 30th of November is GivingTuesday, the annual global day to do good. On GivingTuesday we celebrate non-profits and give back to our planet and community, bringing a positive transformation together.

Helping children and contributing to education is at the core of Futurewhiz, but our people are also actively doing good – for example by volunteering and donating to charities. One way to give back is to participate in Payroll Giving.

What is Payroll Giving?

Payroll Giving allows employees to contribute to a sustainable and social world by donating directly to chosen charities from their own salaries, with an opportunity to receive a tax benefit while giving. In addition, 100% of the donations are going to charities! Futurewhiz partnered with The Social Handshake to offer employees an opportunity to participate in Payroll Giving in July 2021.

Meet our Content Coordinator Renske, who tells what giving back means to her.

Why is giving back important to you?

“I feel that it is kind of my civic duty, and I believe that since I could spare some money, it feels selfish not to give something back. I find everything important, but I have decided to support causes that I care about the most: health, environment and arts. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease, and I find it important to support the health sector. Nature conservation is very close to my heart as well. I also care about stimulating arts for the children and that is why I am supporting a cause that provides more music lessons for children in elementary school.”

Why did you decide to join Payroll Giving?

“My reasons for joining were mostly because it seemed so easy; I was already a donor to several organizations, but I was often being hounded by tele-marketeers and asked to make additional donations. By joining Payroll Giving I could still give to causes I care about, but I was not being stalked. That seemed like the best of both worlds!

Now, a few months later, I don’t regret my decision in the slightest. I must admit, I don’t really think about Payroll Giving anymore. And I like it that way. My donations are automatically given to the causes I chose. And because it’s directly deducted from my pay, it doesn’t feel like an expense. This is maybe just a mind trick, but it’s one that definitely works for me!”

“I get to choose up to three different causes to donate too, which is gold for someone who thinks everything is important. Now I can at least choose three different areas to donate to, instead of just one. I want to feel like I’m making a contribution to the causes dear to my heart, and now I’m able to do that without having to sign up for several different donation programs.

I am glad I’ve given the opportunity to give something back in such a convenient way. I feel that as a B Corp, we are all very aware of the ways in which we are contributing to a society as a company, but also of how we as individuals can make a difference. Therefore, I think Payroll Giving is a very good match for Futurewhiz and I hope people will continue feeling inspired to use it!”

Boss for one day at WRTS

Pim

WRTS, part of Futurewhiz, is again a proud participant of JINC Baas van Morgen. On Thursday, June 10, 2021, CCO Tijntje Louwers will hand over her chair to the young boss Imraan. Imraan is 14 years old. “Today he is thinking along about how we can get all secondary school students in the Netherlands and Belgium to study faster and get better grades”, says Tijntje. A total of 450 Dutch top men and women hand over their seats to new young bosses.

Boss for one day

Imraan experiences today what it is like to run a company like WRTS, from leading the stand-up to brainstorming about a new product that was recently launched for his peers in the lower years of VMBO, HAVO and VWO. Tijntje says: “For many pre-vocational secondary education students, doing homework is quite a thing. WRTS therefore offers a platform with online homework guidance and test preparation, which children can use at home and at school to achieve higher grades. We think Imraan’s opinion is important, he really has something to say today!” says Tijntje.

Equal opportunities

With Baas van Morgen, WRTS and JINC want to fight the inequality of opportunity among young people from neighborhoods that have to deal with a lot of poverty and socio-economic disadvantage. They often lack a role model who can give them the right example or help them make the difficult choices. That’s a shame, because this group has less chance of making it far than peers from ‘richer’ neighborhoods. Tijntje fully agrees: “Every child deserves good homework guidance, both at school and at home. That’s why we offer the majority of WRTS for free to high school students of all grades and levels.”

A promise and a wish

It was a busy, inspiring (and warm) day for Imraan. As every year, special compliments were handed out. Imraan also received a ‘promise card’ from Tijntje. With that card she promises that Imraan, later in his career, always can give her a call.

And the people at WRTS? They were very pleased with their new boss! Watch out, Tijntje…

Futurewhiz in the Top 250 fast-growing companies in the Netherlands

Katariina

We are beyond excited and proud to announce that Futurewhiz is mentioned as one of Netherlands’ 250 fast-growing companies according to the Erasmus Centre for Enterpreneurship. This is shown in their ScaleUp Dashboard 2020. 

What is the ScaleUp Dashboard?


The ScaleUp Dashboard is one of the annual research publications around scaleups in the Netherlands. In this report, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship analyses the latest developments of the Dutch scaleup ecosystem up to 2019: How many scaleups are there in the Netherlands and in which sectors? Have scaleups been growing and, if so, at what pace? And most importantly, what is their impact on the economy?


Why Futurewhiz?

Based on the ScaleUp Dashboard 2020, fast-growing companies can be the quickest to recover from economic shocks such as the Covid-19 crisis. Futurewhiz has been highlighted in the education sector, in which everyone experienced a massive change due to homeschooling and digital educational tools.

In total, the 250 scaleups on the list have created about as many new jobs as the Top 250 Scaleups before the pandemic,” says Martin Luxemburg, director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. Futurewhiz has managed to continuously welcome new employees to the team and grow the Squla, WRTS and scoyo brands.

The companies that are nominated have managed a high-growth by continuously improving, accelerating and adapting the organisation to future challenges, says Dr. Justin Jansen, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Academic Director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship. The article can be accessed here.

Do you wanna be part of Futurewhiz? Let us know or check our vacancies!

Fit with Futurewhiz

Katariina

The way we live and work fundamentally influences our wellbeing and our overall health. While looking after our mental and physical wellbeing is of course essential in everyday life, its importance has risen during the pandemic. Now that we are mainly working from home, gyms and other sports facilities remain closed, our social visits are limited to friends and family and we’re facing anxiety for a deadly disease, it is more challenging to remain healthy and active.

Continuing to care about health helps us to keep fit in the ‘new normal’.

“At Futurewhiz we recognize that we need to take care of our people, and help them take care of themselves. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is important. Self-care should always be your number #1 priority.”

– Nanique Dik, the Head of People

To support our employees balance work with health and wellbeing, we dedicated the full month of March to health by launching “Fit with Futurewhiz”. During this Health Month, we focused on promoting wellbeing as a whole and engaging employees throughout the company to make healthier choices. We chose a way that fits best our culture: by adding the element of fun and turning the month into a team-building competition!

Playfulness, games and competitions are a big part of our company culture. Our employees have often competed against each other either at the office with table tennis or football, or after work with board game evenings or bowling nights. Due to pandemic these activities have turned into online pub quizzes and radio shows, but having fun while competing remained to be the theme.

We partnered with the Health Challenge to create a month-long event for the whole company. With this event we challenged our employees to make healthier choices in everyday life, such as taking stairs instead of an elevator, eating fruit instead of a chocolate bar and taking a moment to relax and slow down in the middle of a busy work day. All employees were divided into teams, which competed with each other by performing health-promoting activities and logging them to the Health Challenge app. Next to completing activities independently throughout the day, employees participated in sessions such as workshops, bootcamps, yoga and meditation practices.

In addition we found a partner in the Happinessbureau, experts in creating happy employees, who organized a workshop on Happy & Healthy at Work. Through assignments, break out sessions and dancing they explained the importance of food, fun, connection, mindset, exercise and relaxing.

We closed the Health Month with the launch of Inuka chat-coaching. Through a short and simple survey employees can test their level of resilience, after which every employee can sign up for several coaching sessions within a year. The sessions are practical and easy accessible for all employees. With this last initiative we continue to highlight the importance of wellbeing going forward.

“All the work we do is built on teamwork, creativity and courage. We can only be this great place to work when we have healthy and happy employees that are able to perform at their best.”

– Serge Bueters, the CEO of Futurewhiz

Visual Designer Herman tells how he brings the Squla mascot “Q” to life

Pim

At Squla, our mission is to help every child develop their full potential. We are doing this by creating educational quizzes that transfer knowledge in a fun way. Using playful images help increase learning retention for kids, and it makes learning even more fun.

(meer…)