Run to Play was conceived during the cocktail hour of Montreal’s 2015 Hackathon when a group of tech-savvy innovators found a common interest in promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst teenagers. Immediately they found a quiet and isolated space that contrasted with the upbeat atmosphere of the event and started conceptualizing their idea. They were so focused and driven that by the beginning of the last day they were ready with a prototype to present to the judges.
Their idea, named ‘Run to play’, was an application to encourage physical activity among teenagers. Their challenge was how to motivate teenagers to exercise instead of spending hours video gaming. Therefore, they created an app that rewarded young gamers redeemable points for video games based on their physical activities. Their prototype won first place in health promotion. The team felt that the Hackathon enabled them to actively find a viable solution to health promotion problems in Canada, and their takeaway, as they expressed it, was: «We have to innovate and use technology to make people’s lives easier and find solutions to our everyday problems. Events like the Hacking Health Hackathon bring together people with different perspectives to work on real problems and find creative solutions that we wouldn’t have thought about if we were in a special committee that always does the same thing, the same way. I think those events are a great way to improve the health care system.»
After the success of their first Hackathon, the newly-formed team was faced with a dilemma, whether to make Run to play a reality or to stop the adventure there. The decision was not an easy one to make, and even though three of the four members knew each other beforehand they had never worked together in such a setting before. Solene told us that it was important to build trust and to learn how to work as a team of entrepreneurs in order to bring this app to fruition.
The Hacking Health Bootcamp as a stepping stone
After spending ample time thinking about the future of Run to play, they were encouraged by the success of their work at the Hackathon and decided to pursue the opportunity through the Montréal Hacking Health Bootcamp. The Bootcamp was an occasion to focus solely on their project for five whole weeks, and as the team recalls, the demands of the coaches were high but so were the anticipated rewards.
From Run to Play to Run to Save
The Bootcamp was an eye-opener for them, and by immersing themselves in an entrepreneurial atmosphere and meeting potential clients they gained new insights regarding their business model, the target audience and new methods of financing. With all that valuable information, they decided to focus on a new target audience in order to better monetize their application. Still working in the health promotion realm, they now decided to focus on women aged 22-44. Their application, now called Run to Save, would offer coupons from retail stores based on the physical activity of the users. Their plan is to partner with the big retailers in order to deliver coupons to a highly sought-after market. For the customers, Run to Save brings much more than charts, goal setting and numbers by offering interesting saving prospects. It’s a win-win-win situation!
Their next step is to meet with more retailers in order to validate their new market of choice and solidify their business plan.
«It is because of the Bootcamp that we made promising plans for the future. Here we learned how to analyze our market and divide it into relevant segments. Because of this, we changed our strategy…. The Bootcamp opened more doors for us.»