SmallBiz: Local health system pushes users to fitness

SmallBiz: Local health system pushes users to fitness

July 27th, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Nudge co-founder and President Phil Beene, left, and marketing director Aaron Hoffman, work on their new fitness website ap at the Camp House on the Southside.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Name: Nudge

Location:, based in Chattanooga

Contact information: 423-521-1969

Products/services: A workplace wellness system accessible on computers, smartphones and tablets used to motivate a company's employees to make small lifestyle changes that improve health. Users score points by tracking their diet and exercise, forming teams and competing within the company to see which group can get the most fit. "We want it so everyone can participate no matter their level of fitness," said Nudge's marketing director, Aaron Hoffman.

Age: Company founded May 2011, system launched May 2012

Startup investment: The company's co-founders raised $300,000 to develop the program, market it and get the business off the ground.

Getting started: President and co-founder Phil Beene worked for a health care provider and noticed several of the nurses in the company were in poor health. He wanted to find a way to encourage people to make healthier decisions. Beene's friend and co-founder Mac Gambill, then a personal trainer, noticed one of the biggest impediments to his clients' health goals was motivation. They got together and the idea for Nudge was born.

Target market: Corporations looking to improve employee health and save money on health insurance. Hoffman said the program will help corporations take advantage of health insurer incentives. "It's about making small choices," he said. "If we can make a company just 10 percent healthier, that's a huge effect to the bottom line."

Biggest reward: Early responses from users. One participant in a group that used Nudge during its early development said the system helped him lose 15 pounds. "It was only supposed to be about making small changes," Beene said. "It turns out it can have a profound effect."