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Do you typically have to fight the urge to stay on the couch when it’s gym time? You’re not the only one. We all struggle with fitness motivation, even though we’re well aware our sedentary lifestyles are taking the toll of our health.
On a global level, things are even worse: due to bad eating habits and poor levels of physical activity, the number of overweight people has increased, reaching a whopping number of 1.1 billion. In addition, obesity has become a number one killer in the U.S., followed by smoking.
No doubt about it, the problem is real. But, as with solving any kind of problem, it all starts with one small step.
What if we tell you there is a fun way to stay healthy and physically active, earn rewards, and support the local economy along the way? That’s exactly what Jaywalk enables you to do.
We had the pleasure of interviewing John Biggs, a full-time entrepreneur, writer and TechChurch contributor, programmer, and a consultant, who is also one of the people behind the app called Jaywalk.
Without further ado, here’s John and his story about the app Jaywalk (jaywalk.me).
- Your app Jaywalk kills two birds with one stone, given the fact it fights the problem of obesity and supports local merchants, which is amazing. Can you explain us how the app works and tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea?
Basically people walk and get discounts from local merchants. We are working with small shops to offer instant discounts for miles walked. You can also share your favorite spots around town so others can know what’s good to eat, drink, and buy. We came up with the idea when we thought about the power of Pokemon Go. People who had never walked were now under the hot summer sun gathering monsters! We figured that adults who didn’t like Pikachu wanted in on the action so we made Jaywalk.
- Jaywalk creates a win-win situation for both users and merchants. Can you tell us more about the JayCoins and how merchants can join? Is it free? Give us more details about the business model.
The entire system is free right now. We want to get people used to the idea that their miles are valuable. We’ll be charging the merchants down the line just for the advertising benefits of the platform.
- How are the walked miles tracked? Is walking the only way to earn JayCoin credits?
You can walk or run. We base the miles on either your phone’s internal tracking system or the miles registered by your wearable or Apple Watch. It’s iOS only right now so we have plenty of accurate data coming in.
- Walking one mile for $1 in credits doesn’t seem too hard, especially if you’re someone who’s used to being physically active. How do you protect merchants from losing revenue?
Merchants have complete control over how much they accept. If you ran a marathon that day maybe they’ll reward you with a full meal but in most cases you can only use one or two Jaycoin per day per spot. This ensures you’ll have to walk more to get to the next great place!
- Did you receive any funding for the app development or is it completely bootstrapped?
We received a little funding and we went through the Boomtown Accelerator. This sort of thing is hard to fund because nobody funds apps anymore. That said, we’re seeing some great acceptance rates.
- What were some of the main business challenges you faced so far?
Getting merchants to sign up. But we’ve perfected the model and we think we’re pretty close to a tipping point.
- You have just launched the app for iOS. What are some of the first users’ reactions you got? Do you plan on creating the Android version as well?
We plan on building an Android version soon. Users love it. The idea is so simple and it really rewards healthy behavior in a way that isn’t fake or silly.
- Currently, you’re building the base of merchants and users with Denver area in focus. How big do you expect Jaywalk to be? What are your plans regarding further expansion and locations you want to cover?
We want to go international. It’s hard, obviously, given our size – we only have five people – but we’re going to give it our best shot.
- Jaywalk helps users reconnect with their neighborhood as it draws their focus to local shops and cafes. Do you see potential in expanding the app features so to cover more things within the field of local tourism (in addition to your current focus of health and wellness)?
We’d love to. I think there’s a place for this at gift shops and tour groups and health clubs. I’d love to be able turn in Jaycoin for a Yoga class. Health for health!
- How important do you feel building online presence is for businesses? Can you tell us why you chose .ME as your domain name?
The .me domain was great because it’s so personal. It’s memorable and it’s cute, unlike other TLDs that are all business. Plus I love Montenegro!
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Download it and try it! Let me know what you think!
We thank John for taking the time to share more details about his new startup with us! We’re looking forward to seeing the future expansion of the app as the user base continues to grow.
If you’re planning to start your own business, we invite you to read John’s amazingly honest essay about what it truly takes to launch a startup – no sugar coating included. You can also check out our blog post in order to assess does the world really need your startup and commit to a more realistic business perspective. That’s the only way you can do it right.
Of course, you know you can count on .ME as your online home, regardless of the business phase you’re in! Domain .ME has been recognized as the most personal domain across the web, helping organizations, businesses, and individuals stand out from the crowd and communicate their uniqueness, loud and clear.