What keeps you from doing your daily workout — work, travel, your couch? Wouldn’t it be easier if you had a buddy to keep up with you and encourage you when you’re feeling lazy? Activvely wants to pair you up with a like-minded person, wherever you are, so you never miss another jog or tennis match-up.
Activvely, founded in 2015, is the brainchild of Stefanie Jewett, who found herself without a peer to hike or hang out with when she moved for a journalism gig. The app, to be launched soon, makes it easier to sync schedules with folks near you, with the same interests, so you avoid missing out on a fun activity with the excuse of not wanting to fly solo.
Jewett talks to Hypepotamus about why Atlanta is the perfect spot to grow her startup, her revenue model, and why you should use Activvely to not do that next sweat sesh alone.
Tell me about your career background and how it helped you lead Activvely.
Living in Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. inspired me to pursue a journalism career in earnest. This passion for news would see me at the U.S. Congress, National Republican Senatorial Committee, WSET, the Alliance to Save Energy and eventually landing a job at CNN.
My first story was the BP oil spill where I was thrown into the fast-paced world of breaking news — and on my very first day no less! The television control room taught me to think quick on my feet and helped me excel in cross-platform media technologies. Working on several projects and shows including Crossfire and the Situation Room, I held my own among the most elite journalists at the World Headquarters and the Washington D.C. bureau. After five years of covering hard news at CNN, my creativity breached the spillway.
Funding or bootstrapped?
Bootstrapped. The hustle is strong in this one, but I am always open to interested investors and business mentors in the Atlanta area. I would like to maintain creative control as I have a clear vision for my business. I was so keen to engage with every facet of my app development, I recently completed a code immersion course at Tech Talent South.
What’s your pitch?
Activvely is the premiere social-pairing app that connects you with people who want to do what you do!
If you have ever felt the cruel sting of having to miss out on an activity because your friends were busy, or working or out of town, then you can appreciate the appeal of having the answer in the palm of your hand.
How’d you get the idea for it?
It sucks missing out on something because all of your friends are busy or working or frankly just not into what you’re into. I know how you feel, because it happened to me a lot.
I’d just moved to Washington, DC for work and despite being an outgoing and friendly person, it was tough to find folks who shared my interests and whose schedules coincided with mine. It made me wonder, with all this social media at our fingertips, why are our social lives not actually getting better?
Think about it: We use our smartphones to find hookups and dates, furniture and restaurants recommendations, we check our bank accounts or get a ride to the airport — but not a like-minded person to play a game of tennis with? Or go for a run at the park?
And then it hit me — an app that makes it easy to find someone to do something, anything you want with. So, a year and change later, Activvely was born.
What’s the market impact of this app?
The foundation of Activvely is rooted right here in the streets of Atlanta. A bustling city with upwardly mobile, millennial transplants looking for new connections. The app is designed to easily transition to any city.
What’s your revenue model?
Freemium and ad-based. Potential advertisers and retailers can tailor their products based on the users’ proclivities.
Is Activvely mainly connecting others via exercise or can you use it for social events as well?
The genesis of the app will be solely active/fitness/sports-based to remain streamlined and corner a specific market. Once the understanding that this isn’t a dating app is established with the user-base, the app will evolve into a multi-platform activity model. Encompassing festivals, concerts, nightlife, etc.
What has been the response so far from the community using activvely?
Incredibly positive! Canvassing crowds along the BeltLine and King of Pops yoga has really solidified the fact I am onto something people want. The response has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. There is a deficit in swipe-based apps that are purely platonic and used to enrich people’s active lifestyles rather than simply hookup!
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
Most people already have friends and many of the apps out there are built on the assumption that you don’t, that you’re in need of a wider social circle. My app is target-based to solve a specific problem: you want to run a marathon, or pick up a tennis racket again but your friends aren’t into it? Activvely is your solution. Find a pal to do it with! Thus the slogan: don’t do it alone.
How does ATL weave into your story?
I returned from DC with Atlanta on my mind. This city is chock full of smart, independent and tech-savvy people who want an outlet for their specific fitness goals, with no strings attached.
Being a die-hard ATLien, I am frequently reminded that this is a city in dire need of a social-pairing app. I believe many Atlanta transplants would agree that this is a vibrant city socially, but can be a challenge to navigate without a core group of friends or a means in which to create a social circle around your shared interests.
Are you hiring?
We’re not taking resumes just yet, but encourage talented and ambitious people who are excited about Activvely to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.