Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe.
This profile on Nexercise, a Graduate of the Washington DC Founder Institute, was written by Emma Tzeng. Co-Founded in 2010 by Benjamin Young, Nexercise is an iPhone application that rewards users who complete at least a few minutes of physical activity each day with virtual badges, prizes, and fitness-related discounts.
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More often than not, the most beneficial life habits are also the toughest to maintain. Take exercise for one. Mustering the motivation to climb on the treadmill or even step outside to walk the dog after a full day’s work can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.
Washington, D.C.-based startup Nexercise wants to tap into that little voice from within that insists that exercise is the key to a wholesome, healthy life. Because that voice probably speaks the truth; and because co-founder Benjamin Young understands firsthand how difficult self-motivation can be to muster when it comes to developing a regular exercise regimen.
In 1997, while working a full-time corporate job, Young weighed in at 250 pounds. Although he knew it was imperative to get in shape, he admits that the motivation to actually do so was tough to summon.
Eventually, Young met Greg Coleman, a former Air Force veteran and D.C. National Guardsman with over 16 years’ worth of management and operations expertise, during their executive MBA program. The two put their heads together and devised a plan to develop an application that helps people manage and maximize workouts.
And thus, Nexercise was born.
Nexercise is an iPhone application that rewards users who complete at least a few minutes of physical activity each day with virtual badges, prizes, and fitness-related discounts. The app detects motion and physical location, then uses this data to measure the level of commitment to that activity and physical exertion one expends during each workout session. The more users exercise each month, the more access they gain to better prizes; and the more dedication one shows to his workout regimen, such as exercising in the rain, the more points they are rewarded.
"We're trying to create a lifestyle - not a quick fix," Young explains in a Reuters article. "We don't focus on how many miles you ran or how many pounds you've lifted. You get points in the game for healthy behaviors."
For the more social or competitive types, Nexercise also encourages group workouts and friendly competition. Users can compare workouts with friends and compete over hours logged or levels of exertion. Friends who exercise in sync also pull in more points, regardless of where they are. According to research studies, people who exercise with friends are more likely to continue the activity. In essence, Nexercise wants to help users establish and build healthy, active lifestyles.
Currently, Nexercise partners with Kiip, a startup that provides access to prizes from retailers such as Bath and Body Works, Zappos, and Pepsi’s Propel Zero Water to reward top users for working out and using the app. It plans to roll out new, better prizes as its user base continues to grow, and continues to generate revenue for itself through distributing these promotional items and through in-app purchase content inside the app.
And indeed, Nexercise is already rapidly recruiting a legion of loyal fitness enthusiasts. In January, the startup rose to the top five iTunes app charts in Brazil, a region they hadn’t targeted before. As Nexercise continues recruiting celebrities, such as World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation Pro Bikini World Champion, fitness instructor, an cover model Chady Dunmore, to advertise with them and to push its marketing efforts, the company will only continue to increase in scope.
To date, Americans spend an average of $127 billion on health food products and services each year. In other words, physical health is clearly a priority for many, so it’s not necessarily a stretch to predict that Nexercise is cashing in on a lucrative trend and has the potential to grow rapidly among an increasingly health-conscious population.
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