Sometimes it can be a little tough to motivate yourself to go for a jog, paddle or bike ride. That’s where Earndit steps in. The 16-month-old startup, led by Harry Kautzman II and Andres Moran, integrates with exercising applications and creates an award system for users.
Just this month, the startup rolled out a new feature called “Challenges” that allows users to face-off with others to meet exercising goals. (Winners can earn gift cards or other prizes).
The online health and wellness space is a hot one, so it is not surprising to see a rewards system put in place around popular mobile apps like RunKeeper and FitBit. (See related story: The dreaded ‘G” word: Gamification).
We chatted with Moran, 32, to get his take on why he thinks Earndit is positioned to become the “de-facto provider of external motivation for someone to get his or her body moving.”
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Earndit rewards you for exercising. Simply link an approved fitness app or device to Earndit and we’ll automatically give you points based on how much you exercise. These points are then redeemed for premium rewards and used to compete against others.”
Inspiration hit us when: “We’ve had the idea of rewarding exercise for many years, but it wasn’t until we saw a rise in the usage of apps and devices to track exercise that we felt the time was right. Nike+ was the sensor that made tracking behavior mainstream, while smartphones made tracking apps easily attainable. We know that anything that is tracked is also rewarded. So here we are to do just that!”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrapped thus far. We feel it’s dangerous to take outside capital before you confidently know your approach to the market. We’re now hitting that stride and beginning to speak with investors.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “We make it super simple to be paid for exercising. ”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Integrating with RunKeeper’s HealthGraph API. Not only did we get a flood of new users from the integration, but it also validated our product in the marketplace. ”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Intentionally foregoing social elements. That has since been dramatically resolved with the launch of our Challenges feature which is entirely social. ”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos. He’s done just about everything right without upsetting people. Plus he’s the most grounded of the bunch. ”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “We become the de-facto provider of external motivation for someone to get his or her body moving. From a business perspective, we’ll be the preferred channel by which brands can reach a large audience of active people.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We are an extremely efficient team. We’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time and with very little money. Also, we’re quite charming.”
We are truly unique because: “We’ve taken the benefit of wellness programs that are typically reserved for employees of large corporations and made that benefit available to everyone. This direct-to-consumer model has never been tried before and we’re not afraid of it.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Our team is not all together in the same city. (I am) in New York along with a couple of our advisors, and Harry is in Seattle. We’ve had to rely on different collaboration tools to make it work. Fortunately, we communicate clearly and effectively with each other. It’s critical to maintain high levels of courtesy for each other when you don’t have the luxury of being in the same room.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Don’t be afraid to tell others about your idea. It’s a silly fear to think they’ll run off with your idea and execute it. You can get a lot of great feedback by sharing your idea with as many people as possible.”