In a tough hiring market, the workplace wellness industry continues to expand as employers seek ways to sweeten the deal for potential employees. A recent Harvard study found that workplace wellness programs can generate significant savings for both parties, and the market is expected to surpass $80 billion by 2025.
While there are many programs that allow employees to earn rewards or perks in exchange for healthy behaviors, many don’t get good engagement due to the impersonal nature of the rewards — most often gift cards or brand discounts. Seth Braddock saw that firsthand during the first iteration of his startup.
At the time, Kilter Rewards was in the fitness studio space. Their platform enabled gym members to check in before their workout and earn points to spend on a marketplace of local products and services. However, he quickly found out it wasn’t scalable, as they had to manually add rewards by contacting businesses.
While he was moving away from that idea, an advisor reached out with a problem he was seeing in his company’s employee wellness program: low engagement.
The advisor also mentioned to Braddock that the company placed a huge emphasis on social responsibility, and 80 percent of his employees had pen pals in a nearby low-income community school.
What if Braddock could connect the employees’ wellness goals to philanthropy — every 10,000 steps, for example, would earn them one dollar donated to the cause of their choice?
Braddock dusted off his startup and pivoted in the spring of 2018 to a platform that enables employers to make automated donations to causes when they complete a daily wellness goal.
“We want to drive more meaningful wellness engagement throughout the year. It brings huge benefits for a company. It will not only reduce medical spend, but with the alignment of values, it’s going to improve retention, work culture, and make a positive impact in their community,” he says.
The program is completely customizable for the employer. They have control over the budget they’re allocating and dollar value per completed activities. For example, company leaders can choose to donate 50 cents for every 30-minute physical activity the employee completes.
The employer pays a fee per each engaged employee.
Employees get to select what non-profit they would like to donate to from a pre-selected list. They are also able to connect their fitness wearable to the platform to automatically update their goals.
“We’re just focused on physical activity right now,” says Braddock. “In the future we do have a vision to expand the scope of wellness to things like meditation, nutrition, and tracking weight loss.”
The platform provides the employer with reports on participation rates, total donated amount, most popular fitness activities, and all the organizations they’re helping. Braddock says that they’re working on an integration to allow employees to choose any non-profit around the country.
They’ll also soon be able to update employees on exactly how their dollars impacted those organizations.
Kilter Rewards currently has a seed round open until the end of January. They will use the funds to drive customer sales for the next quarter.
Up next, Braddock and his team are working on a non-profit and charity portal to allow the organizations to create content and essentially market themselves to Kilter Rewards users. This will also function as a future revenue stream for the startup.
“They’ll be able to tell our network of users who they are, what their mission is, and what the impact the dollars that go to them do,” he says.
The startup has two paid pilots in place with a third with Comcast beginning in February. The team moved to Atlanta from Wisconsin when they joined Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator in 2018, during which they first made contact with the telecom giant.