The following interview was with Mette Lykke, a co-founder of Endomondo.
1) Tell us a little bit about your company.
Endomondo was founded in 2007 by three management consultants with backgrounds in sports and athletic activities. We shared a vision and desire to make fitness more fun for everyone. In 2008, we unveiled the Endomondo Sports Tracker mobile app that utilizes GPS technology in smartphones to record a full history of workouts for distance-based activities. Additionally, we produced the Endomondo.com website that offers fitness fans a personal portal to connect to others in the Endomondo community. Today, we have more than 12 million people around the world that take advantage of Endomondo’s services.
2) How did you get into the business of developing iPad/iPhone apps?
As diehard supporters of fitness, we wanted to build a tool that would aid our passion. We felt that hardware already widely available in smartphones could support the creation of a virtual personal trainer and social motivator for athletes. The vibrant technology community in Copenhagen, along with the personal relationships fostered by the three co-founders over the years, made it possible for us to pull together a creative team that brought our concept to life.
3) What makes your Endomondo Sports Tracker app stand out from similar apps?
Endomondo focuses strongly on a social dimension to fitness that motivates people so they begin and maintain a workout regimen. We wanted to make it possible to be social around individual sports without giving up flexibility. Examples of Endomondo features that support this philosophy are the Pep Talk and Beat a Friend functions. Pep Talk allows friends to send short messages to one another while they’re out exercising. Messages are then read aloud by the app to provide verbalized social support. The Beat a Friend social function lets users race against one another based on performance across a given distance. The audio coach educates users on how they’re performing in comparison to a friend’s previous workout. Overall, these and other Endomondo features allow those in the fitness community to interact virtually and form a social network centered on their passions.
4) What's the thought process behind offering a free version and a paid version?
The vision behind Endomondo is to offer a free service that makes exercise fun for the masses. The Endomondo PRO app, which only costs $4.99, includes advanced features more useful to those highly focused on physical fitness. The small charge allows us to support our larger goal of getting everyone interested in fitness while sustaining ongoing development of the Endomondo app to keep pace with new technological advancements being made in the mobile space.
5) What are some of the features that warrant the price tag for the Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro version?
The most popular Endomondo PRO features include Interactive Graphs, Interval Training and Beat Yourself. The graphs show a user’s speed, altitude, etc. during a workout and offer visual feedback on performance. Interval Training allows people to access one of three predefined interval programs – or create their own program -- and receive guidance from the audio coach. This function is very popular amongst runners looking to improve their pace.
6) What were some of the reasons behind the recent update?
As a highly rated fitness tracking app across multiple mobile platforms, Endomondo users have high expectations for the service we provide. As such, we must always be listening to the desires of our users and must anticipate how best to serve them in the future. The most recent update improved navigation within the app and set the stage for additions planned in the coming year.
7) Can you tell us some of the benefits for users to participate/track through your website?
The Endomondo.com website really draws together the social aspect of our service. Users get a full personal training log that can be used to enhance performance, and the website allows people to interact with friends and provide motivation in a fun way. We all need a little support from time to time, and knowing that others are monitoring your progress provides that little extra push to keep people going.
8) What's some of the general feedback you have received from users?
Frankly, our users are very passionate about Endomondo. Their support means the world to us. We get tons of messages from people saying that Endomondo is directly responsible for getting them off the couch and into a world of physical fitness that produces many healthy results. Honestly, some of the feedback we get from users is so wonderfully sincere that it spurs us on to provide the best fitness tracking app possible.
9) Other than your own apps, what is your favorite app?
The two I use the most besides Endomondo are Facebook and Google Maps. I can hardly remember what life was like without GPS in a mobile phone.