Interview with Nudge’s Co-founder & President Phil Beene

Phil Beene

In our latest interview we’ve got some answers from Phil Beene, Nudge’s Co-founder & President. Phil works to develop and refine all aspects of Nudge’s growth and monetization strategy, while taking primary ownership of the Nudge brand’s marketing, messaging and content.

Here’s what he had to say:

How would you pitch Nudge? What’s your elevator pitch?

Nudge is a lifestyle health app that brings health and fitness data from apps and wearables together in one place to provide a simple, unified feedback system to help you live healthier. We let you sync your favorite health-related trackers — such as Fitbit, Runkeeper and Sleep As Android — and give users easy to understand daily, and longer term feedback for their overall lifestyle. Our Nudge Factor takes in data on four pillars of any healthy lifestyle – exercise, nutrition, hydration and sleep – and indexes it into a single score up to 110 to give the user a simple snapshot of how they are progressing.

This makes Nudge the only place where a mom tracking steps with a Fitbit, her husband using Strava for cycling, and their son tracking his movement with Moves can all connect and compare how one another are doing, apples-to-apples, without being too invasive. Moreover, the indexing capability combined with habit-specific data will have significant further applications at the group and population levels, which we are pursuing as we extend Nudge’s reach further along the healthcare continuum.

What sets Nudge apart from its competitors?

It’s important to note here that Nudge does not replace or directly compete with popular fitness tracking apps and gadgets; rather it is designed to enable a complementary layer of feedback and connectivity that provides more value to the user. I may have a specific goal this month — i.e. to improve my speed, or my sleep, or my cycling efficiency over the next three months — but we can all, always be mindful of our overall health and how specific aspects of our lifestyle effect one another. By integrating with other great apps and wearables, Nudge makes monitoring your personal health a passive personal experience, or a more active and social one depending on preference. The point is, it is your personal health companion that’s there for you however and whenever you need it.

What’s Nudge’s business model?

The core of our monetization strategy includes solutions that have not yet launched which will leverage the existing Nudge platform for different professionals along the healthcare continuum. These future products will use a SaaS model. Our Nudge consumer audience will soon have access to an in-app store allowing them to purchase the wearables we have integrated into the Nudge app, along with other products that align with our offering.

Can you share some numbers? How many users does Nudge have?

Because Nudge is a new product with a rapidly growing audience, our numbers become quickly outdated. We have active users in more than 120 countries around the world. The top city in terms of active Nudge users is London, and our audience is predominantly young and male.

Where do you see Nudge going from here?

No matter what shape, structure and tangles of red tape line the healthcare system of a given country, one thing is always true. How well you live effects how healthy you are. We can all live a healthy lifestyle. We can all find space for industry stakeholders at various levels of the healthcare structure in various countries across the world to take a more active interest in the lifestyles of their patients or clients. We believe doctors should be specialized and that we and others should do more to fill in the gaps beneath doctors on the patient care continuum.

We want Nudge to be a part of each individual’s understanding of their health as well as a place where individuals can connect with health professionals for further advice and motivation. A doctor should feel comfortable referring their patient to a virtual health coach for a lifestyle intervention, and a patient should have easier access to a health professional.

Where do you see the mHealth industry going? How long until it’s mainstream?

It’s coming and it’s coming fast. mHealth or Digital Health or whatever you want to call it is still in its infancy, but it’s one damn big infant. Smart bottles, smart pills, connected inhalers, heart rate monitors, and a thousand other sensor-laden gadgets are all filtering into a hundred thousand health-related apps. Massive data pools just starting to be collected from previously siloed information, which will now be curated and interfaced in order to bring more value to specific stakeholders at all levels of healthcare. Increasingly targeted wearables, especially of the remote patient monitoring category, will be prescribed to avoid readmissions or catastrophic events associated with every chronic condition there is.

The market for wearables devices and sensors will become more and more specific and targeted as it grows, but the data will continue to be interfaced best and most efficiently on phones and tablets for at least the next several years. Watches will not supplant phones for interfacing health values to consumers, and tablets will play an increasingly larger role for various health professionals over the next few years. Forced implementation (through ACA legislation) of poorly interfaced EHR systems is the only reason this particular trend seemed to slow this year, but that will change dramatically in the coming few years.

I think you can argue that mHealth is already pretty close to mainstream, but it is nascent at most in terms of its astronomical potential. mHealth is not going away and will only get bigger for the foreseeable future.