Turns out most wearables go on your elbow, off your elbow and into the drawer for good.
“Fifty percent of trackers are unused after three months,” said Jason Kaplan, CEO of MilestonePod, a Columbia startup looking to buck that trend.
Kaplan presented last week at the Baltimore TechBreakfast at DLA Piper in Mount Washington. The company, which wrapped its first round of funding last year, is betting on wearable devices tied to actionable incentives.
MilestonePod makes a small pod that runners can strap onto their shoe. It both tracks useful metrics and triggers training offers from the store where the shoe was purchased, for instance.
“It’s a way for [retailers] to understand your activity and stay more connected to you,” Kaplan said. “For this all to work, it’s got to be integrated for the consumer.”
The pod itself is about the size of the face of a wristwatch and hooks toward the bottom of one shoe’s laces, much like a tracker one would wear during a marathon. The device tracks not just mileage, but stride length, cadence and even whether the toes and heel are striking the ground at the right time.
The strike details can be a clue that the runner is wearing the wrong shoes or not running the right way, Kaplan said. The MilestonePod mobile app, which reads the runner’s pod via Bluetooth, can then offer the runner training back at the original retailer. If the runner hits a mileage mark, the retailer can opt to push a coupon or other offer their way.
The pod itself costs $24.95 from MilestonePod’s web store, though some retailers, Kaplan said, are giving the device away. Kaplan said he’d rather that consumers have to pay something so they have some psychological investment in the product.
“I believe the retailer should charge something for it … but it’s really up to the retailer,” he said. “For us, it’s about enabling recurring revenue models.”
Currently, the company is starting small, targeting local businesses. However, Kaplan said at the TechBreakfast he plans to approach larger retailers with the device. It’s no accident that a former Dick’s Sporting Goods executive is on the company’s board. Kaplan also expressed a desire to work with races and events in the area.