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Fit for competition

Workplace application turns good habits into a team sport

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Print this page by M.J. McAteer

Want to have healthier employees?

Well, there’s an app for that now.

In the Richmond area, a fledgling company named Nudge is test marketing a workplace application that turns meeting health goals into a team sport.

Using a computer, tablet or smartphone, employees can go online with Nudge to chronicle their daily progress on personal or company-wide health goals. They might earn points for skipping that midafternoon candy bar or getting a full eight hours of shut-eye, or they might be able to check on whether the guy in the next cubicle is meeting his weight-loss goals.
Even admitting to unhealthy activities, such as sneaking a smoke or eating fries, earns points with Nudge, which combines gaming elements with old-fashioned peer pressure to push participants toward better choices.

Nudge was founded last year with $300,000 that first-time entrepreneurs Mac Gambill, Phil Beene and Chris Garson raised from family and friends. It is co-based in Richmond and Chattanooga, Tenn.

“The premise of Nudge is to make it fun and rewarding to log in and record lifestyle activity,” says the Richmond-based Gambill. “We think simple health awareness can lead to big changes in people’s lives.”

Cary Street Partners, a wealth-management firm in Richmond, has been using Nudge since June. “The system is simple and fits easily into our employees’ busy schedules,” says Donna Williamson, the firm’s human resources director. “I am very pleased with the way people at every level have embraced this program.”

Gambill’s startup now is expanding the testing of its wired-in-for-wellness approach. Many companies make business decisions in September, he says, so he and his co-founders were “hunkered down” last month to move Nudge forward.

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