New app lets people work out for a cause

July 12, 2012 10:47:00 PM PDT
Soon, you won't need a major event to turn your footsteps into cash for a good cause thanks to a new smartphone app created in the Bay Area.

This weekend's AIDS Walk will see thousands of people take to the streets raising money to fight the disease with every step.

Now, a startup in San Francisco is asking, "Why can't you walk for a good cause every day?"

"We think that you should be able to raise money for nonprofits and charities every time you exercise; it shouldn't just be for a specific event," GiveGo co-founder Cyrus Stoller said.

That's the premise of GiveGo, a smartphone app that's not even out yet, but has already won a regional award in a start-up competition.

Co-founder Max Schultz says users can pick a charity and invite friends to pledge a small donation for every mile of the person's daily workout.

"I'm going to press play and this basically tracks the GPS on your iPhone, lets you know how many miles you've run and how much money you've raised for that charity," Schultz said.

GiveGo will eventually support things like weight lifting, but for now, it's mainly running, biking, walking, the kind of things you can do out here and measure in miles. For some bay area charities, those miles could really add up.

"I started getting excited about forming a Tenderloin moms' walking group, and going out a couple times a week as a group," Bay Area Women's and Children's Center spokesperson Midge Wilson said.

Wilson isn't just excited about the donations, but also about how the app could motivate people to exercise, something even personal trainers struggle with.

"A lot of people get bored doing cardio, so I think the most important thing is to make it fun, make it something that you're going to do and not even think of it as cardio," Crunch gym fitness manager Mitch Rice said.

Rice says if people think of it as helping a cause, it might help them stick with it.

"There's a lot of excuses that people have not to work out, so I think that this program's simply giving people a reason to work out," he said.

GiveGo expects to launch on the app store in about two months -- and if you work for a big company, don't be surprised if your employer offers to sponsor you.

"It serves HR, you have healthy employees, and it serves PR, your company's doing some good," Schultz said.


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