I first met Zach when he was one of a few student "CEOs" pitching his team's business concept in hopes of becoming the next Entrepreneurship in Action company to get University funding (he wanted to help area event venues fill their empty seats via a crowd-purchased discount site... it didn't work out). After a couple years of advising these students teams, I began to realize that there are some students who rise above the rest; Zach was one of them.
That feeling was reinforced more than three years later when Zach shared his most recent project with me - a powerful health n' fitness activity platform called Perk Health. He'll tell you the story behind Perk, but before he does, I want to share that Zach learned how to code, he picked up the skills of seasoned UX designer and, with the help of his co-founder Doug, built one hell of beta website.
It's all very impressive. Drooling aside...
Reed: Zach, please tell us the story of why you started Perk Health.
Zach: Towards the end of college, Doug, a life-long friend of mine, and I decided that we wanted to start a business together. So, we looked to our pasts and realized that the things that had given us the most value were our teams and coaches - from our communities to our confidence, we could trace it all back to sports, and really, an active lifestyle.
So, we researched everything we could about physical activity and sports psychology, which produced two major revelations. First, most people want to be fitter than they are, but sorting through the one-sized-fits-all approach often leads to trial and failure. And second, the benefits of physical activity are far greater than we thought. We found that physical activity is driving healthcare costs more than any other single factor—and that US employers are bearing the brunt of that cost burden. And so, Perk Health was created to address these issues.
Reed: I like it. So, what's your most recent success?
Zach: Our roll-out with the employees at UCare, starting January 1st, has been fantastic. I've found myself sitting there refreshing our admin panel over and over again watching hundreds of workouts get logged as people reach their weekly goals. When we get feedback from our users telling us that our product motivates them to exercise it makes all of those late nights coding completely worth it.
Reed: That's awesome. Where do you think Perk Health will be in one year?
Zach: My vision for Perk Health includes a product that users love, lifts population activity levels, saves companies money on healthcare costs while increasing engagement and productivity, but it also goes far beyond that. I want to be the motivation company. What sets us apart is that we have users take a personality assessment, and then we motivate and guide them differently based on their unique psychology. By continuing to develop that IP we will have a unique understanding of the intersection of motivation and technology—something we hope to improve the lives of millions.
Reed: We hope that happens. Keep up the great work!
The guys behind Beta.MN continue to be impressed by the caliber of our inaugural start-up class; they are truly remarkable. We're doing this for them and we hope that you will join us in our support by attending Beta.MN - 1.0. It's coming up, so get your tickets before they are gone!