GravityEight: A New Online Hub for Wellbeing and the “Quantified Self”
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Nike+, the Withings scale, and the Zeo monitor. Eventually, he predicted, these devices would be enhanced with application programming interfaces (APIs) that would allow any software or Web developer, even those outside Nike or Zeo, to tap the data the gadgets collect.
And that’s exactly what has happened, inspiring Wamsley and his wife Cindy to move back to the Bay Area to build a business around the trend. “In the last year, all of these companies have come out with open APIs,” says Wamsley. “So in the next six months, you are going to see an explosion of centralized dashboards which are pulling these devices into a central user interfaces, primarily in health. That’s wonderful and it validates our model—but we’re taking it across all aspects of your life.”
In addition to the high-tech dashboards, GravityEight will also have important social component. Users will be able to form groups or teams who can view one anothers’ profiles and dashboards and provide mutual support. “There is research coming out constantly about how sharing your information with other people can dramatically help you in your goals,” says Wamsley. Indeed, that’s a model already being exploited by mobile fitness app startups like Boston-based FitnessKeeper and San Francisco-based Abvio Fitness (I’ve profiled both).
The site unveiled today, Wamsley emphasizes, is very much a beta version—designed in large part to “show the clarity of the vision of where we’re taking GravityEight” before the bootstrapped startup seeks outside investment. So far, GravityEight consists mainly of its three co-founders—Dave and Cindy Wamsley and medical director Justin Mager, an internist and exercise physiologist who practices at the Clear Center of Health, an integrative health clinic in Mill Valley, CA. As the site gains traction, Wamsley hopes to raise money from individual and institutional investors. Among the top spending priorities, he says, will be to connect the site to more outside data feeds, and to hire general managers for each of the site’s eight channels.
Wamsley isn’t talking yet about how GravityEight might earn money, although some obvious options include selling targeted advertisements and premium content. And he isn’t offering any miracle cures. As with everything else, GravityEight users will only get as much back from the site as they put into it. “One of the problems with the self-help industry is that there are a lot of false promises—lose weight without exercising, make money without effort,” says Wamsley. “We are not about that at all. We are trying to bring the best research and experience to bear on encouraging people to get out and do that run, eat food that is more nutritious, spend more time with your family, get off the grid. But it’s still just about calibration, and helping understand how that’s all balanced.”
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