Start-up

Stepping up to the challenge at Active Ager

The Active Ager Asia team, with founder and managing director Aaron Kong (third from left).
The Active Ager Asia team, with founder and managing director Aaron Kong (third from left). PHOTO: ACTIVE AGER ASIA

Online wellness platform pays members for reaching target of steps taken on consecutive days

If you take at least 3,000 steps a day for five days in a row, Active Ager Asia, an online wellness platform, will pay you between $6 and $10.

The platform, which is the first of its kind in Singapore, was launched last month. It has step-based challenges for its members to complete and, if those targets are met, members will receive cash or vouchers. They can also win lucky-drawprizes such as staycations.

Active Ager, which started as an online health magazine two years ago, pulls this step data from third-party trackers such as Fitbit devices and Google Fit.

Mr Aaron Kong, founder and managing director of Active Ager Asia, said that the portal is meant to provide an extra incentive for people to get up and move.

"Those who are self-motivated and track their own data most likely will not use my service, because they are already motivated. And on the other end of the bell curve are the people who will not be motivated, no matter how much reward they get," said Mr Kong, who is also a director at communications agency SG Story. "So we're looking at targeting the people in the middle."

Active Ager currently has 1,500 users, of which 60 per cent are aged 31 and above, and 40 per cent are 30 and below.

Of these, 400 are paid members. The subscription fee is $36 a year, or $90 for an annual three-person family pack. Only members can take part in the paid challenges.

Currently, there are multiple challenges taking place each month, each with different goals. For example, the 7 x 7 challenge requires members to walk 7,000 steps over seven consecutive days.For the Walk Off The Monday Blues challenge, members have to walk 4,000 steps on a Monday.

Members who complete 7 x 7 can win a vitamin and supplements hamper worth $50 in a lucky draw, while those who complete the Monday Blues challenge will receive a $5 Watsons voucher.

Each challenge is currently limited to 30 people, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since the platform was launched last month, Mr Kong said that more and more members have been reaching their goals.

During the first weekly challenge last month, where members had to walk 3,000 steps a day for five consecutive days, only seven out of 30 people completed the task.

The second one, a week later, saw 14 people finishing.

"Now, we know that 3,000 is easy for people to take on, so the goal has become 3,500. Maybe next month it'll be 4,000, then 5,000," said Mr Kong. "Our goal is to slowly increase the general fitness of the people taking part."

Mr Kong is not worried about people unfairly inflating the numbers on their trackers.

"There will always be maybe 20 per cent who will do that, who will let their dogs run away with their tracker. But the other 80 per cent will do it properly, and then at least eight out of 10 will get started on a healthy lifestyle," he said.

Aside from collecting an annual $36 subscription fee from members, Active Ager will also draw revenue from corporate wellness programmes and sponsored challenges, where merchants will have to pay a fee to set up a challenge.

Active Ager also raised a six-figure sum in February this year, from angel investors led by Dr Khor Chin Kee, former chief executive of Parkway Shenton Group, and Mr Paddy Tan, chief executive of technology firm, BSTC.

Mr Kong hopes to sign up 5,000 paid members by the end of the year, and between 10,000 and 15,000 users in total.

Healthcare manager Charles Chia, 36, signed up for Active Ager three weeks ago and completed his first challenge last week by walking more than 7,000 steps daily for seven days.

He said that he has changed his habits in order to complete the challenge, such as walking from place to place instead of using a skate scooter like he used to.

"I usually check my step count throughout the day," he said.

"If I haven't hit the target by dinner time, I'll take a stroll after that. Walking is also good for digestion and it's healthy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2016, with the headline 'Stepping up to the challenge at Active Ager'. Print Edition | Subscribe