Tillt, a new performance-based betting app, has launched in the US
The app was developed and self-funded by Sam Mackie and Taber Gifford
An Apple watch is required, but iPhone, Fitbit and Garmin integrations will follow
Targets competitive high-performing athletes seeking high-stakes challengers
Tillt, an athletic performance-based betting app – where runners get paid if they win – has been launched by co-founders Sam Mackie and Taber Gifford.
Described as an athletic companion app users view each other’s data-led profiles and decide who they can compete fairly against. Competitions are focused on running, although walking and jogging are permitted.
Public profiles show Beats Per Mile (BPM), Average Pace Per Mile (AP) and Steps Per Mile (SPM), as well as age.
Mackie and Gifford have funded the development themselves since the start of the development process 12 months ago.
Although users must have an Apple watch to take part, the founders are also developing alternatives. “We're exploring different hardware integrations such as Fitbit and Garmin,” said Gifford.
To ensure the competition is fair, biometric and historical data is analysed. The challenge is not marked as complete until it has been accepted by the system.
After the challenge, a losing competitor is sent the winner’s data which is compared against their historical averages. They can choose whether to pay or not and winnings are transferred outside of the app. While Tillt does not get directly involved with payments, it does collect and provide users’ Venmo and CashApp handles to help ease the transaction process.
“Payment is optional, however, it is strongly suggested to the losing competitor that they pay,” said Gifford. “They are reminded that electing to not pay will affect their trustworthiness score within the app. Having a lower trustworthiness score will make other competitors less likely to challenge you, accept your challenges and, eventually, we plan on deprioritising non-paying competitors in our automated recommendations.”
In terms of target audience, Gifford says users fall into two categories. The first is competitive, high-performing athletes who are either ex-collegiate or ex-professional and are looking for higher stakes challengers outside their existing network. The second is competitive, lower-performing athletes who are looking to increase their fitness and athletic skills with a stronger incentive than pride and performance results.
Tillt launches at a time when apps that gamify fitness with financial incentives are growing in popularity. Stepbet encourages users to pay for a community-based game with a daily steps target. Those who complete it share the pot. Evidation offers a wide remit from walking to biking and kickboxing with users earning US$10 for every 10,000 points (capped at 80 per day).
Last year US startup Cadoo raised US$1.5m from VC fund Apollo, founded by Sam and Max Altman and First Round Capital-backed Dorm Room Fund. Competitors pay to enter and those who complete the challenge receive a financial reward.
“We did a thorough analysis of Cadoo and found that their competitions are not performance metric based, they are binary – you either complete the workout challenge or you do not,” said Gifford. “We feel strongly that we are differentiated from their product model and brand – ours is more high-performance and competitive.”
Tillt is only available in the US and at the Apple App Store, which users can link to through the website: fittechglobal.com/tillt
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