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An Israeli App That Pays You to Walk

As malnutrition and obesity rates skyrocket around the world, an Israeli mobile app is encouraging people to prioritize their health by paying them to walk.

Yuvital (formerly UVTAL) Health’s flagship app Rumble converts steps users take into coins that can then be redeemed in order to purchase products or get discounts at stores and restaurants.

We can save a lot of money by reducing health care costs and by improving employee retention, productivity and so on

More than 800,000 Israelis use the app to stay in shape and that number is quickly growing each month, Yuvital Health’s CEO and co-founder Alon Silberberg said.

“By the end of the year we’re going to hit 1.3 million members, not including those outside of Israel,” Silberberg told The Media Line. “We are creating and developing a platform that helps us to incentivize positive behaviors within specific populations.”

Founded in 2017, Yuvital Health is based in the central Israeli city of Yavne. The company is named after Yuval (Yuvi) Dagan and Tal Yifrach, two fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers who served under Silberberg in the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, called Operation Protective Edge in Israel.

While Rumble is currently only available in Israel, Silberberg and his fellow Yuvital co-founders Lior Klibansky and Yaron Levi are hoping to launch it in Canada and the United States by the end of the year.

According to Silberberg, the app mainly has been deployed in three industries: retail, corporate wellness and digital health. In the corporate sphere, companies are using the app to motivate their employees to maintain a healthier and more active lifestyle.

“We can save a lot of money by reducing health care costs and by improving employee retention, productivity and so on,” he said. “You can convert 1,000 steps into 1 health coin and 1 health coin is equal to roughly 1 NIS ($0.31).

Those coins can then be exchanged for gifts, discounts and other benefits with participating retail partners, similar to a credit card rewards program. The amount that one can earn might not sound like a lot at first, but it adds up.

“By the end of this year we’re going to be somewhere between 120-150 million NIS ($36.9-46.1 million) that was spent using our coins,” Silberberg said.

The company is working with the General Federation of Labor in Israel Histadrut, insurance companies, hospitals and Clalit, Israel’s largest HMO.

Rumble can also be integrated into a variety of wearable devices.

It is not the only app that pays its users to exercise. In fact, a growing number of tech companies have ventured into the health and wellness incentives market in recent years.

One of them is Vitality Group, an international wellness firm that is a subsidiary of Discovery Limited, an insurance and financial services provider. Vitality works with leading global insurers in 26 markets and boasts more than 20 million users. Members receive Discovery Miles that can be exchanged for online purchases in partner stores for taking steps to promote both their physical and mental well-being.

Another notable player in the market is a mobile app known as Sweatcoin, which rewards users for healthy behaviors with a digital currency that can be spent on a range of products and services, such as Amazon gift cards. The app was initially launched in London in 2016 and has over 40 million registered users in 42 countries.

“We’re swimming in the same pool but each one of us is a little bit different,” Silberberg said, asserting that Rumble’s approach was more holistic in nature because it focuses on incentivizing a wide variety of healthy habits outside of walking, such as content consumption, drinking, mindfulness and going to the gym.

However, the app does not only use financial incentives to encourage healthy habits. It also relies on behavioral psychology in the form of goal-setting and encouraging users to compete against friends, loved ones and co-workers.

We’re swimming in the same pool but each one of us is a little bit different

Yaron Levi, chief architect and co-founder of Yuvital Health, told The Media Line that the company’s strength more specifically lies in its use of the cloud-based technologies and its ability to garner data-driven insights into its users.

“We use cutting-edge technologies to make this platform possible,” Levi said. “We use Snowflake, which is a kind of data warehouse, and Rockset, which is another data warehouse but it’s in real-time.

“Both of these technologies allow us to give users a really great experiences,” Levi said.