A flat belly or a healthy lifestyle aren’t the only incentives for exercise anymore. A Seattle startup is now rewarding users with money for completing tasks like walking, jogging and cycling. Heck, you can even earn rewards for mowing the lawn or walking the dog.
Western Washington is the first market that EveryMove is testing. It’s available online and on iOS devices.
Last May, the company announced $2.6 million in financing from Premera Blue Cross, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners and host of Seattle angel investors.
LifeWise Health Plan of Washington is the initial health plan rewards partner. Consumers can connect to their health plan and earn rewards like lower premiums and gift cards. It’s a deal that Benaroya calls “monumental.”
“People that are active and healthy reduce their risk. That creates real value,” he said. “What we’re showing is that a health plan is willing to share that with you.”
We’ve certainly seen a number of companies operating in this so-called Health 2.0 space, from Limeade to Mindbloom to Habit Labs to Keas. San Francisco startup Keas, led by former Microsoft and Google exec Adam Bosworth, scored $6.5 million from Ignition Partners and others last year.
Benaroya says that EveryMove is different, working directly with health plans to ensure individuals are rewarded for their healthy actions.
“Surprisingly, it is not that crowded,” Benaroya told GeekWire in May. “It is more crowded in the enterprise space, in the employer wellness space. It is not really that crowded when you think about delivering a service for the consumer, regardless of where they work of who their insurance plan is. Given portability of information to an individual is fairly unique.”
Benaroya said that the company is looking to “build a bridge” between one’s lifestyle activities — exercise and diet for example — and out-of-pocket health care costs.
I checked out the site for a bit to see what this was all about. Signing up was easy and I was able to immediately pick which reward I wanted. They included movie rentals from Redbox, donations to Make a Wish and Amazon gift cards, to name a few. I went with a $5 Amazon gift card.
I was asked to fill in my city, employer and health plan to unlock additional reward opportunities. Then came a Facebook-like news feed with the option to enter activities, check out a leaderboard and see what your friends (up to 24) have been up to.
I lied and said I played racquetball for one hour today at noon. That gave me 33 points, which meant I needed 1,967 more to get that gift card. That’s 59 more hours of racquetball — guess I should stop writing and hit the courts A.S.A.P.
But my test-run sparked a question: what about users who cheat the system? Can’t a coach potato post several “activities” he or she performed and then reap in rewards?
EveryMove is combating cheating in three ways. First is the way points are calculated — you get more points for when you do things with frequency and for when your activity is socially validated.
The second way is also part of the user experience.
“If you are a cheater and just doing manual entry, it will take a long time to earn a reward and you would have to consistently cheat on a daily basis, likely in front of your friends,” Benaroya said. “That’s unlikely.”
Finally, EveryMove has a back-end detection mechanism that flags dishonest activity before rewards are claimed.