Building In Public 11: The Why, What, Who & How of Steppen

Hello Friends!!

Long time since my last building in public post (don’t worry a lot of content to come 👀👀).

Every good start up goes through the process of evolving, growing and changing.

Recently at Steppen we re-assessed and clarified what and who we are. This article acts to communicate who we are at Steppen.

TL; DR:

  • Why: Working out is intimidating and scary. Steppen exists to make working out fun and easy. We empower Gen Z to create a habit around working out.
  • What: Very simply we are a fitness app designed for Gen Z
  • Who: We are founded by myself (Cara), Jake Carp, Dave Slutzkin and have an awesome team of 8
  • How: We help our young users build a habit around working out by employing behavioural science to how our product is built

So let’s dive in….

Why Steppen Exists

The problem we are solving has remained consistent throughout our journey:

Steppen exists because people do not know what to do when they are working out….

(This quote is taken from my first Building in Public I: Revisiting the Problem You Are Solving written in Aug 2021, so we really have stayed true to the problem we set out to solve!)

People have no idea what to do when they workout — as fitness is scary, expensive, confusing and generic. This is especially the case for young people — Gen Zers.

Looking around at current alternatives for Gen Z to workout — none are built for purpose or for us. It’s laughable when we surveyed our users that the most used app when working out was Spotify, then a simple phone timer…

Existing fitness apps fail to:

  • Approach fitness is a fun way
  • Lean into the existing trends of bite sized sessions (popularised by Duolingo & BeReal)
  • Speak to Gen Zers
  • See fitness and health like Gen Zers do

There is an obvious huge gap in the market . This is where Steppen steps in (pun intended 😉)

The HOW Steppen has gone about solving this problem has evolved (more below) but the WHY we exist remains the same.

It’s especially meaningful for Jake and I to be building something for our generation — Gen Z.

Gen Z now represents the largest generation worldwide. How we approach health and wellness differs from previous generations. We see our health as both physical and emotional. Yet, we experience higher levels of mental distress than other generations.

It excites everyone on the Steppen team to be building something which we know is solving a problem felt by many young people every time they go to workout. It’s inspiring to see workouts completed on our app every single day- that’s a sign we are helping our users live healthier lives!!!

What Is Steppen?

We are a fitness app. Download us on the iOS App Store here.

Check out some screen shots of our app (I’ve only ofc chosen our nicest looking ones 🙃)

The Steppen app!

Who is Steppen

Steppen was founded by

  • Myself (LinkedIn here), my role in the company is CEO and head of product
  • Jake Carp (LinkedIn here), Jake’s role in the company is COO, CFO, CMO and any other hat he has to wear. Jake and I grew up together and were in the same kinder class.
  • Dave Slutzkin (LinkedIn here), Dave is our CTO who brings the wisdom to balance out Jake and I’s youthful energy (and at times naivety).

As a founding team we work extremely well together as we each own our own separate areas.

Beyond that we are lucky enough to have an awesome team of Amy (product), Lachie (developer), Glair (developer), Gi (developer) and Zoey (design). As a team we value:

  • Infinite learning: We are always seeking to learn more and push ourselves and we learn fasttt.
  • Be a mate: do the right thing by our creators, members and teammates.
  • Get shit done: As Nike says — just do it. There is lots to do, so let’s get started. Perfect is not always needed — you can iterate to perfection
  • Radical Candour: Don’t bullshit be transparent. If it can be done better say! If you need help ask.

For more details on our values see here

How Does Steppen Work?

Over our 1.5 years of existence how Steppen works has evolved. We started as a social fitness app, pivoted into tooling for fitness creators and now have evolved into an app which employs behavioural science to help users build habits around working out (I’ll discuss in a separate piece how we have gotten to a habit formation app… 👀).

Each iteration of Steppen the — why and general problem we were solving remained consistent — how we went about solving this problem has evolved.

What does being a habit formation app mean

Around 40% of what we do every single day is powered by our habits. Being such a high % our decisions, scientists have naturally taken a keen interest into how habits are formed and broken. There is a lot of scientific literature around habit formation and more digestible content such as James Clear’s famous (and much referred to in our team) Atomic Habits. Other books we have enjoyed in the team is Hooked by Nir Eyal and I’m currently consuming The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

By no means are we experts in habit formation. From what we have read, habits are formed through cycling through the habit loop which comprises of 4 steps

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Action/Response
  4. Reward
The Habit Loop!

The more times someone cycles through, the stronger the habit becomes. Each step has ways to optimise and evidence based strategies to increase the likelihood that someone will cycle through the step. So at Steppen we are applying this research in our app.

Already there are some highly successful habit formation apps — Duolingo, Fabulous, Finch & Headspace. Meanwhile apps like Instagram, TikTok, Spotify and more recently BeReal also apply a variant of habit formation loop — the hooked model (which is why they are all so addictive).

However no app really applies the habit loop for fitness and for Gen Z. That’s where Steppen comes in! We are applying the behavioural science to help Gen Zers build a habit around fitness.

Conclusion.

This habit building focus will take a bunch of systematic experimentation and iteration to nail. We are hoping to have the first habit loop in app in the next week. We will do a product tear down on our first experiment and how we went about developing our new OBing flow.

We are excited by the evolution of Steppen and remain as inspired as ever by the problem we are solving. Steppen is shaping into the Gen Z fitness (and eventually health) app.

Continue to follow along the journey with our building in public pieces and following our LinkedIn. Of course download our app if you have not done so already and start building your fitness habit.

Until next time!

Cara

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Cara

Co Founder @Steppen. Working to democratise workouts. Lover of avo and halloumi.