How a dinner table conversation with former cricketer Zaheer Khan led to establishing StepSetGo

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In conversation with YourStory, Zaheer Khan and Shivjeet Ghatge, Founders of fitness app StepSetGo, talk about the startup’s journey and how incentivising a fitness regime is helping the startup grow and making people healthier.
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Dinner tables are conducive to good food, mood, conversations - and ideas. 

Shivjeet Ghatge and his brother-in-law, former cricketer Zaheer Khan, discovered this one fine day. Since the duo is sports and fitness, the conversation naturally veered that way, 

“Whether it is on field or off field, fitness is something I have always been passionate about. So when Shivjeet and the others began talking about the space, ideas simply kept coming. And that is how we decided to build StepSetGo,” Zaheer says. 

Childhood friends Misaal Turakhia, Abhay Pai, and Shivjeet Ghatge, along with Zaheer, started Mumbai-based startup and fitness app StepSetGo in January 2019. 

StepSetGo app provides users with fun incentives for investing in their own fitness. The platform works on a simple model: users earn SSG coins for every step taken, which can then be redeemed in the in-app marketplace or Bazaar. 

Zaheer Khan

Bringing together gamification and fitness to significantly build the app’s user engagement, StepSetGo appeals to a diverse audience - from students and housewives to corporate honchos to policemen. 

“We knew we had to incentivise people to walk and do basic activities. And the regular models simply wouldn’t help in making it a daily activity for individuals,” Shivjeet explains. 

The app is one of the 24 winners of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge. 

The differentiator 

The founders say the main challenge was creating an app that was easy to use for everyone. The aim was to target “anyone with a smartphone”, and it was vital to ensure that everyone, irrespective of age, gender, and literacy, could understand the concept and smoothly use the app. 

“We had realised once people actually start a dedicated fitness regime, they will feel and see the changes within themselves, on their own, we also knew it had to be simple and easy to use,” Zaheer says. 

“Most brands tend to start spending heavily on marketing, but our concept spoke for itself. Our reach grew in volumes simply by word of mouth. From a small setup that comprised just the three of us working out of a friend’s father's old office in Mumbai, we scaled up to a family of six million-plus registered users in less than two years,” Shivjeet says. 

A user can download the app for free from the Google or Apple store. The user has to register using a mobile number and email address, and fill in details like age, weight, and height to start using the app. The app records each step taken by the user, tracks calories burnt, and measures kilometres walked. 

The app has a rating of 4.2 and 4.8 on Google Play and App Store, respectively.

Rewards for getting fitter

Shivjeet explains the plan was to address a problem that every individual faces when committing to a fitness routine. He adds that they wanted to revolutionalise this space by making fitness seamlessly fit in a user’s daily routine – that’s the reason for the app that is fun, simple, motivating, and – most important - rewarding.  

For every thousand steps walked outdoors, the user gets 1 SSG Coin; for every 1,000 steps walked indoors, the user gets 1.5 SSG Coins.  

The user can collect SSG coins by walking regularly and redeem them to avail exciting offers in the Bazaar section of the app. Rewards include gadgets, apparel, online courses, wellness products, and even iPhones and bikes. 

“This process is engaging and motivating for the user to commit to a routine, which leads to habit forming and building healthier communities. The application also has an arena section where users can compete with family, friends, relatives, and colleagues, leading towards building a fitter community,” Shivjeet and Zaheer say. 

Once the user gets on to the app, the gaming arena and engaging with their own fitness community is ample motivation. 

Shivjeet says they have seen innumerable success stories of users losing weight, earning rewards, and committing to a healthier lifestyle since inception. He adds that their idea has been well received by users in India and has “the potential to scale up and gain international significance”. 

Founders of StepSetGo

Funding and the future

In December 2021, the Huddle-accelerated venture, which has more than nine million users, raised Rs 5 crore in seed funding from four renowned investors. The round saw participation from Huddle, Singapore-based BeyondSeed, Dexter Angels, and Seeders LLP. 

StepSetGo has come a long way over the last two years, generating sustainable revenue from day one. Since its inception, the company has astoundingly grown from a four-person team with 50 users to a registered user base of over nine million users.

The fitness app’s prime focus is to add more features to deepen fitness and social touchpoints, and widen how users will spend their SSG coins while inspiring new users to join the platform and helping them find the motivation to stick to their fitness regime.

According to Statista, India’s fitness industry is growing at a CAGR of 6.6 percent and is expected to reach $2,000 million by 2023.  

The StepSetGo app competes with many step-tracking apps such as Step Tracker, Pedometer, Pacer, and others, but the team claims that its reward system differentiates it from the competition. 

The app currently gets revenue from advertisements, which the users can choose to watch to earn coins. However, a user can earn only up to four coins per day this way. Users can also decide to watch banner and video ads for additional perks. 

What comes next? The team plans to add different kinds of fitness regimes to the app and build a larger fitness community. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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