The startup says it has accumulated more than 5 million users in the past year and increased revenue by 266 percent in the last quarter. There are more than 2 million weekly active users on the app, and growing, making it one of the fastest-growing fitness apps in the App Store and second to the top in the free apps, next only to the Google Arts & Culture app that blew up over the weekend.
It works like this: users sign up and then hook up their smartphone’s health and fitness data and GPS location to the app. The app then tracks how many steps you take in a day and rewards you a monetary “sweat” value according to your movements. For every 1,000 steps recorded, the app will pay out .95 in “sweatcoins.” Users can later trade these coins in for fitness gear, workout classes, gift cards and a number of other offerings.
The app says you can only earn these coins by walking outside so it theoretically doesn’t count if you are walking on a treadmill at the gym, though the app on my phone seems to count steps inside my apartment, as well. That’s at least something.
Note: I’m in my third trimester of pregnancy so I’m not exactly going the distance (just walking up the stairs feels like I’m trying to climb Mount Everest some days). That makes it a bit hard to earn my coins — I’ve only earned .33 in sweatcoins today, for instance, so don’t feel badly if you aren’t hitting that 10,000 step stride.
Another reason you may hit a wall of motivation in the app is that the free version limits you in how many coins you can earn a day to just five. However, you can earn more if you’re willing to fork over some of those sweatcoins per month to get you in the upper tiers and make some real sweaty moolah toward that coveted Fitbit or whatever fitness gear you’ve got your eye on.
The startup has now raised its own coin to the tune of $5.7 million in seed from Goodwater Capital, which led the round, Greylock, which participated through its Discovery Fund, Rubylight, Seedcamp and SmartHub, as well as a number of angels, including Justin Kan and Rain Lohmus.
Sweatcoin founders say they plan to use the funding to expand outside of the U.S. and U.K. markets to other English-speaking countries, then on to continental Europe and Asia.
Co-founder Anton Derlyatka also told TechCrunch he’d like to “even include the ability to pay taxes with sweatcoin” in the future. Other co-founder Oleg Fomenko also mentioned plans to develop an “open-source blockchain DLT technology that will allow Sweatcoin to be traded like any other major crypto- or fiat currency.”
“We are out to fundamentally change the value ascribed to health and fitness and provide the motivation for people to lead better lives,” Fomenko said.
Those interested in checking out the app can download it on either iOS or on Google Play and start earning their sweat equity today.