We’re already a week into the new year and how many people have already blown off their new years commitments? Every January through news channels and feeds we read jokes about how once again everyone will be making resolutions to change their diets, exercise more and lose that weight they’ve been feeling guilty about carrying every time they look in the mirror. Well guess what, since Motivade began the year by sending out a press release, I now get to sing the same refrain.

They’ve announced a partnership with Wellness Wallet through and signed their first paying customer. Since you might not know who Motivade or Wellness Wallet are let’s take some time to check out these two startups and what they’re hoping to achieve together.

Motivade, a nine person team hailing from Helsinki, was founded by two runners and a gym enthusiast that thought they had spotted a gap in a market filled with fitness apps for one that didn’t just record the exercise that a user had done but actively worked to encourage and motivate those users who want to get healthier but struggle with self motivation.

They began by designing a platform heavy on gamification elements to entice the user into wanting to exercise to level up, collect badges and all those other usual elements we’ve seen in various other forms across a wide spectrum of applications. However finding that this approach wasn’t being as successful as they hoped they pivoted and changed the focus to create a more social platform that used positive peer pressure as a motivational tool.

Now the platform comes with a range of social features to encourage users to exercise with friends, and against them. Tabs for messages, challenges, groups, calendar, friends, and workplaces stretch across the top menu bar of the platform’s website. These allow users to add friends, create groups, send messages, create schedules and appointments to exercise, set personal challenges or, and this might be my favourite personal feature, duel a friend. First a user would need to complete an exercise that met a minimum criteria, in the world of Motivade this is a score based on the estimated amount of calories an exercise would burn. A high enough score unlocks the option to duel, the selected friend would then have 24 hours to accept and a further 48 to complete the duel by performing an exercise of their own that beat the first user’s score.

They’ve been busy working on this for the last 18 months and there are associated apps for Windows Mobile and Android available while an iOS version is currently in testing. The whole thing is free to download and join, and they hope that the combination of legacy game elements, an active social network, and easy to use mobile apps will help them find popularity. Where they intend to make their money is through Motivate Boost, a service for businesses, and in partnerships, like the one they’ve made with Wellness Wallet.

Research to health in the workplace has shown that there are good financial reasons for a company to encourage their employees to live a healthy lifestyle. Motivade’s website quotes the US Department of Health and Human Services, and an article from Harvard University that describes cost benefits such as, “… medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absentee day costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.” This knowledge combined with financial incentives to encourage and promote health and fitness that are provided in some countries create a powerful reason for companies to care about the health of their employees.

Wellness Wallet, in partnership with Motivade in Finland, aim to offer a complete solution that engages with employees, helps motivate them to exercise, keeps track of their achievements, and provides visual reports to employers. With that information employers can then use Wellness Wallet to pass on financial rewards to those employees who maintain an active lifestyle.

Traditionally in Finland employers have purchased voucher books which are given to employees who can them use them at gyms, health clubs and in other health related activities. However there is no way for employers to track those vouchers and find out whether they are even being used, every unused or traded voucher is money wasted by the company. Wellness Wallet use a pre-paid credit card like service that only pays out to those people that have recorded exercise through Motivade. This allows active employees to profit and the company to save on waste, a win for both parties, and it’s easy to see why Motivade and Wellness Wallet got together, and why they believe they’ve found a path to success.

Apart from Wellness Wallet, Motivade Boost will soon launch which offers their enterprise service for a very low per-employee cost. The more employees the lower the cost, visit their website to find out how much, they have a really simple calculator that works it out for you. They hope that this will allow companies to offer Motivade to employees and encourage them towards a healthier, more active lifestyle. It will also allow companies to see the visual report tools to find out how much their employees then use the service, and set challenges and fitness goals to promote use.

It’s a new year, with new resolutions and along comes a new app offering to help you keep them. What’s your next excuse?

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