Sweatcoin exchanges steps for goods

Friday, February 2, 2018

A new fitness app that seeks to reward users with goods and services for the amount of exercise they do has raised $5.7 million in seed funding with participation from Seedcamp, Goodwater Capital, Greylock Partners and Twitch founder Justin Kan.

Sweatcoin, an app developed by Sweatco Ltd., lets users earn 0.95 “sweatcoins,” a new digital currency the company developed, for every 1,000 steps they take. Over time as users rack up sweatcoins, they can exchange them for goods, services and experiences, such as yoga classes and tech gadgets.

The funding round, which also included Rubylight, SmartHub and LHV Bank founder Rain Lohmus, will help Sweatco expand globally from just the U.S., U.K. and Ireland today, build its technology team to improve its step-verification algorithm, and develop an open-source blockchain distributed ledger technology with hopes that sweatcoins will eventually be traded like cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.

“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,” Seedcamp managing partner Reshma Sohoni said in a statement.

Currently, it’s akin to the way one might rack up points or tickets at an arcade, which they can then exchange for goods. But the company’s long-term vision is to turn sweatcoins into a global digital currency backed by physical movement.

The company has added 5 million registered users since its December 2016 launch and is currently among the top downloaded fitness apps on iOS, behind MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, Map My Run and Nike+.