Lift, the mobile app incubated by Twitter co-founders’ Obvious Corp., launched last year to help people build healthier habits and achieve their goals by offering a simple way to track your progress while supported by a social community who provide pushes, motivation and positive reinforcement to keep users on track. Today, Lift is expanding its set of support options to focus on more serious goal setters with the introduction of a paid coaching model in version 2.0 of the app, out now.
The update is designed to aid those with specific and more complex goals by offering them the ability to receive personal guidance through the addition of one-on-one coaching.
According to Lift co-founder and CEO Tony Stubblebine, smaller support like that provided for free via the Lift community works for smaller goals, but users in Lift – who now number in the “single digit millions” – have been tackling goals related to productivity improvements, dieting, exercise, meditation and more, which sometimes require more direct support.
However, instead of bringing in just anyone who calls himself or herself a “coach” of some kind, the coaches in Lift are actually more like peer mentors. They have direct experience with the type of activity or habit you’re trying to change, and users can see what that person has accomplished within the Lift application. For example, Stubblebine explains, if you’re interested in learning to eat a paleo diet, Lift will find someone who does the same. If you’ve just read the 4-Hour Body, the coach you’re connected with has also read it and is practicing from the same book.
The company has been quietly trialing the coaching model since this summer, and has run a number of tests including those focused on productivity goals, dieting, and other healthy habits. Users converted to premium plans at just over 3% (a standard for freemium conversions).
Today, Lift now has 700 coaches trained for 4,000 goals, and is launching “instant coaching” to the public. Users who want to connect with coaches pay $15/week to message with their coaches through chat, and will soon have the option to pay for additional consultations or products – like phone call consults or diet plans – at higher rates.
Stubblebine notes that pro coaches traditionally charge much higher fees – sometimes as high as $1,000 per week. “I really do like having an accessible, base level price,” he says. “This is one of our goals: to make coaching, which is right now an incredible luxury, something that’s accessible to everyone.” At the price points available in the past, coaching would never have reached the broader, more mainstream market.
But does that mean the coaches in Lift – or peer mentors, really – aren’t of as high a quality? Stubblebine says he believes Lift can keep the quality level high because they’re able to measure who does well using Lift’s data, and recommend those coaches to end users. Also, because the coaching is reframed as just being “chat,” it doesn’t seem as time-intensive for potential coaches who may have never otherwise considered offering a more lightweight version of their mentorship.
Whether or not chat-based support can truly impact lasting change still needs to be determined, of course, but Lift is now one of several apps leveraging the power of mobile apps and social communities to connect coaches with customers. For example, a dieting app called Rise connects users with coaches who educate them on meal choices; Weilos connects diet and fitness coaches with its users; and Kurbo connects kids fighting childhood obesity with coaches who guide them to better food choices.
While most of these are focused on health and weight loss, Lift is similar except that it broadens the type of coaching that’s being made available through its app.
Ahead of Lift’s expansion into coaching, the company raised a $1.1 million extension to its A round this July, backed by previous investors Obvious and Spark Capital.