Instagram on Steroids: The Founders of Leap Want You To Accept Their Challenge
Nick, Ryan and James are just your good ol’ average boys from Cincinnati – young, competitive, health nuts that happen to be really good at computer stuff. I guess, then, you wouldn’t quite call them average.
After earning $20K through The Brandery, an accelerator program in Cincinnati, the guys founded Leap, a mobile app that invites you and your friends to compete in various photo-confirmed challenges, and proved that a little healthy competitive spirit could turn into a big tech idea.
James Dickerson and Bill Clinton are tight. Well, sort of. You see James created an app called Wellthy to help promote wellness in the workplace through competing in health challenges with colleagues.
Mr. Clinton caught wind of this intriguing concept, and invited James to pitch Wellthy at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiatives (James was 1 of only 5 startup founders invited).
Wellthy didn’t quite take off. Why? It turns out people didn’t want to compete with their co-workers. So, after talking with users and customers, James discovered it was group competitions with family and friends, based around different topics and goals that really got people excited, thus kicking off the concept behind Leap (though, it was bacon that ultimately sparked the inspiration. I’ll explain later).
Fun fact about James:
He participated in a 30-day outdoor survival course in Utah’s backcountry, armed with only a blanket, a knife, and a poncho.
This, says James, was the toughest experience of his life, but proved if you push yourself hard enough, you can achieve anything.
Nick Cramer has known James for 20 years, making him buds with Bill Clinton by default, right? Maybe. Anyway, James kept Nick in the Leap loop, and when it was time to launch (on Leap day this year, fittingly), Nick debuted as the team’s developer.
Since then, Nick has been inspired by Leap users’ ingenuity and creativity when coming up with challenge ideas and topics he never even thought of.
A fun fact about Nick:
He gets his daily dose of fresh beats @freshjuicycuts
Ryan Tinker doesn’t know Bill Clinton. But, he does know how to prototype with lightning speed. With 15 years of programming experience, Ryan was a shoe-in to join the Leap team for all its technical needs. He earned some serious bragging rights by building Leap’s alpha in 5 days and public beta in 12 weeks. For all you tech nerds, I’m assuming that’s quite impressive.
Fun fact about Ryan:
Ok, what’s with this bacon business and how was Leap born from it? Well, when the competitive health trio started a 30-day, bacon-heavy paleo diet last year, they decided to keep it interesting and make a competition out of it by tracking each other’s progress through uploading photos of their daily meals. The guys found it difficult to share their progress with each other through online services such as GoogleDocs and SMS. This dilemma, combined with the already developed Wellthy concept of group app challenges, ignited the Leap idea.
So, what’s the next challenge for the guys? They’re leaving their roots in Ohio and taking (the) Leap out West to set-up shop in San Fran where they hope to keep up their competitive startup advantage and continue to consume mounds of bacon. Though, it might not bode well with veg-obsessed San Franciscans. I’m sure the boys will track their progress on Leap to let us know how it goes.