Earning a little extra toward workout products and fitness classes could be as easy as tracking the steps you take outside. London-based Sweatcoin, a company which “pays” users a digital currency based on their daily steps, has just landed $5.7 million in a funding round led by Goodwater Capital with participation from Seedcamp, Greylock Partners, Rubylight, SmartHub, and several angel investors.
The app officially launched for iOS in late December of 2016 and for Android in April 2017. Its founders claim that since September it is the most dowloaded app within the app stores' health and fitness categories. This new financial backing brings Sweatcoin’s total funding to $6.3 million, according to Crunchbase.
“We are really pleased that our vision to build a ‘Movement Economy’ powered by the economic value of people’s physical activity is supported by such great visionaries,” Oleg Fomenko, cofounder of Sweatcoin, said in a statement. “This round will allow us to build out the product and technology team to improve our step-verification algorithm and develop an open-source blockchain [distributed ledger technology] to allow Sweatcoin to be traded like any other major crypto- or fiat currency.”
The free app tracks users’ outdoor steps using their phone’s accelerometers and GPS location. The steps then get translated into the currency, called Sweatcoins. Currently, the currency can be used for goods, services, and experiences ranging from yoga classes to high-tech shoes, according to their webpage.
Alternatively, users can donate their coins to Sweatcoin’s partnering charities.
“We are thrilled to have backing from such a great group of investors,” Anton Derlyatka, cofounder of Sweatcoin, said in a statement. “More than 5 million registered users in less than 12 months and more than 2 million weekly actives is a good start. We will now continue focusing on great user experience and global expansion.”
As of now, Sweatcoin is only available in the US, UK, and Ireland.
This isn’t the first app to offer concrete incentives for working out. A former startup called Pact had users provide their credit card numbers and chose an amount of money they would have to pay each week if they missed their workout goal. The achievers would then get paid from the slacker’s money. The company used the GPS to track whether or not the users was going to the gym. In July, Pact announced it was shutting down.
On the surface, however, Sweatcoin’s business appears to be on the rise.
“The team at Sweatcoin have experienced phenomenal growth since launch just 12 months ago and have created a new, powerful ‘Movement Economy’ that rewards people for their physical efforts,” Reshma Sohoni, cofounder and and managing partner of Seedcamp, said in a statement. “It’s a sophisticated product that consumers clearly love and we have a huge amount confidence in the founders to take this ambitious vision of a new, global digital currency and execute effectively.”