Support causes with Fitgiver and the Health Graph
Posted: March 22, 2012 Filed under: Apps, Community, Events, Fitness, Hackathons, Partners, Running | Tags: angelhack, api, boston, causes, charity, cycling, data, donations, fitgiver, fitness, geolocation, gps, hackathons, healthgraph, local, mit, rcolinkennedy, runkeeper, running, sponsor, startupweekend
The winner of our AngelHack prize for best use of the Health Graph (@healthgraphapi) was Fitgiver (@fitgiver) with their app enabling Health Graph users to raise money for the causes they love by doing the things they love to do anyway. One of Fitgiver’s founders, R. Colin Kennedy (@rcolinkennedy), took time out of a very busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. Take his experiences as inspiration to build great things at a hackathon near you, too!
Bill Day: Please tell us about yourself and your team.
R. Colin Kennedy: The Fitgiver team comes from a variety of backgrounds – some of us work at startups, some of us have a background in big business, and another is staff at MIT – but what unites us the opportunity that Fitgiver presents to create a meaningful impact.
BD: How did you get involved with AngelHack? And why did you decide to try out the Health Graph API?
CK: Well, a few of us ride bicycles together and had been kicking this around for a while. AngelHack was a great opportunity to move things to the next level. We had each individually done hackathons and Startup Weekends on other projects, and AngelHack promised a higher level of visibility, great prizes, and uniqueness because it was the first time running it in Boston.
The Fitgiver concept was tied to the Health Graph from its very inception. When we ride together, several of us use RunKeeper to track our activities. We knew that creates a data stream that is accessible and we thought we’d try and put it to use for causes we care about.
The beauty of it is that once users connect Fitgiver with their Health Graph account, they don’t actually have to do anything differently than they already were: Just use RunKeeper like normal, and we pull the data. [Editor’s note: This should work with other Health Graph-based fitness activity tracking apps as well.]
BD: What is the “elevator pitch” for why someone should use Fitgiver?
CK: There are at least two different answers to that question.
First, our elevator pitch is that Fitgiver connects people and the causes they care about with organizations that want to sponsor them.
Second, users should consider Fitgiver because if they’re already going for a run or ride anyway, why not do some good while they’re at it?
BD: How is using the Health Graph benefiting Fitgiver? Which portions of the Health Graph API do you use, and why?
CK: The Health Graph makes data collection super easy. Currently, we’re using the workouts people track with RunKeeper. This is great because we also get the geo data, which we can use to verify that these workouts were real workouts, and at some point we’re thinking about localizing sponsorships so local businesses can sponsor local athletes. This really opens up a very powerful potential for both charities and small businesses to support people that are in their communities.
BD: What do you like about the Health Graph? What would you like to see changed?
CK: So far we’ve been really happy with the reliability and documentation with the API. It just works!
BD: Can you share any future plans for Fitgiver?
CK: We’re in talks with national health-related charities, and with sponsor companies that are looking like potential launch partners. Feedback has been so positive, we just have to keep going.
BD: Is there anything else we should know about your team or your application?
CK: We are all RunKeeper users and athletes, and have been so excited by the level of support that we’ve gotten from the RunKeeper team. Looking forward to furthering the partnership!
Bill Day (@billday) is Platform Evangelist for RunKeeper where he helps developers learn about and use the Health Graph.