RunKeeper dramatically affects the way many people around the world stay healthy, and has plans to do a whole lot more. Available for iOS and Android, the mobile app lets you track your workouts, and then share your fitness achievements everywhere from Facebook to your employer’s healthcare plan.
The highly successful app currently has more than 19 million users around the world, two-thirds of which are outside in the United States.
The idea for the app came while founder and CEO Jason Jacobs was training for his first marathon in 2007 using Nike+, a system that at the time required users to own not only a smartphone, but also a special pair of shoes with a pedometer embedded inside.
“I thought that there was a really big opportunity for someone to build a simple, intuitive, social, digital fitness platform — not just around kind of one pedometer and one pair of shoes for one sport,” Jacobs told Mashable.
So he set out to create an open fitness platform that worked across a variety of different devices, and for a number of different sports.
Integrated Into Your Life
Where RunKeeper really stands out is with its integrations. The app has an open API, which makes it easy for others to integrate RunKeeper data into their own apps and services, and integrate they have.
Currently RunKeeper has over 100 integration partners and counting.
The service has integration with services like LoseIt and Body Media, and hardware such as the Withing’s scale.
RunKeeper also works with most corporate wellness plans. So, if your employer or healthcare provider offers incentives for working out, in most cases RunKeeper is one of the ways you prove you’re hitting the gym and earn those rewards.
Beyond The Smartphone
Not just a service that runs on your smartphone, RunKeeper is also integrated into a number of different pieces of hardware, including most recently Jawbone and Pebble.
In the case of Pebble, when you’re out on a run you can see RunKeeper data on your wrist, without having to pull out your smartphone, or control your arm in order to be able to see the screen on a phone that’s attached to you by an arm band.
“We think that’s really exciting. It’s a natural extension of what we’re doing on the phones, so that it’s less intrusive to the activity that you’re doing,” says Jacobs.
He says that wearable electronics is something that the company will continue to look at and innovate on.
“As more of these wearables come out, whether it’s on your wrist, or on a heads-up display like Google Glass — any kind of best-of-breed wearable that comes out that can improve the experience using RunKeeper, we’d like to be there.”
So what’s next for RunKeeper? Jacobs says that the company hopes to not only be known for running, but to become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle.
He hopes RunKeeper will eventually be not only your go-to for physical activities, but work in a lot of ways like a human personal trainer might, encouraging you to make better lifestyle choices throughout your day both in your diet and your activities.
“If you’re looking for a tissue, a lot of times you don’t ask for a tissue, you ask for a Kleenex,” says Jacobs. “We think that there will be a brand that emerges that is synonymous with your phone making you healthy, and we’d like to build that brand.”