A world under lockdown has driven enormous revenue growth for one Kiwi start-up, which says it received as much revenue in April as it had for the 12 months before that.
While My Virtual Mission founder Adam El-Agez won't say how much money that is, the one-man company has hired its first employee and now intends to take on two more.
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The mobile fitness app allows people to virtually walk the length of the North Island, the Inca Trail or Route 66 and take on other physical challenges.
Users pick a mission and the app tracks their journey, allowing them to see where they are along the way with a virtual street view.
El-Agez said while the app was free to download, the Tauranga-based company makes money from users who buy challenges, and from corporates.
In April last year about 120 per day were signing up to the platform but now 1,165 per day are joining, as people around the world work out more innovative ways to stay in shape during covid-19 restrictions, which have closed gyms and fitness centres around the world.
During the lockdown the firm also booked a major client, Prudential, whose UK events team used the app for a corporate wellness challenge.
My Virtual Mission started after former PE teacher El-Agez used a treadmill to do a 10-kilometre run and decided to mark a map with a sharpie, charting his progress until he had run the length of the North Island. El-Agez then sought to replicate that online.
Although the app records challenges and tracks users along the way, it doesn't record the distance for them. That has to be added by the user or linked to a fitness tracker app that measures it.
"We deliberately don't do that. There are thousands of amazing fitness apps – it's not our core business to do that," El-Agez said. Instead, the revenue comes from selling challenges, which, when achieved, the company sends a medal out for.
El-Agez said the business was already profitable but declined to give figures. Asked how much money he had put into the business: "I don't even want to know myself."
The company is owned by El-Agez and business partner Brent Ingram. El-Agez has been part of several other start-ups including a school scratchie fundraising business, property tech firm Text Monster and Xero partner Accounting Now.