PopBase, a start-up building a gamified platform that teaches children how to maintain a healthy lifestyle beat 152 companies in an international start-up competition to secure $400 000 in investment. Amir Alroy, cofounder of Welltech1, an Israeli venture capital fund and innovation hub, specialising in wellness-related technologies announced the company as the winner on 31 August. Alroy says they ran a tough competition in which they examined with experts over 150 wellness-related start-ups from across the globe and are happy to invest in PopBase which represents the trend of linking the worlds of gaming and health. He says the coronavirus pandemic has proven wellness is a necessity, not a luxury and the start-up’s solution resolves an acute problem creatively, effectively and professionally.
“The international start-up competition ran in collaboration with the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a research and educational resource for the global wellness industry. It was part of the GWI’s A World Free of Preventable Disease, the first commitment to eradicate preventable, chronic diseases worldwide. Participating wellness-focused start-ups came from 25 countries around the world including Canada, Bahrain, Denmark, Australia, Hong Kong and Chile,” he says. PopBase, which has raised $1.8 million to date, was founded by Lisa Wong of the United States, Amit Tishler of Israel and Richard Weeks of the UK, who developed a patent-protected technology platform that teaches and encourages children to adopt a healthy way of life. Wong, who serves as CEO, has more than 25 years of experience as an artist, art tech, researcher and consultant for video games, while Weeks has worked in the games industry for over 25 years specialising in engineering, design and video game programming. “The development process led us to the realisation that we could use our technology to address a major global problem which affects a child’s quality of life on a daily basis. We can teach healthy values via a world of adventure using storytelling and interactivity to instill and encourage positive habits. We are truly grateful to Welltech1 for their investment and trust in us,” says Wong.
Tishler, chief commercial officer of PopBase, says he began his career as an animator and filmmaker and moved on to a six-year stint as president of his own production company before they built this technology that will drive the next generation of entertainment consumption. He says it is a medium through which entertainment brands can run a continuous narrative responding to needs of its target audience and is a platform that combines the immediacy of social media with the interactivity of modern video games.
PopBase brings accessible, age-appropriate information to children through immersive and interactive stories designed to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviours including nutrition, sleep and physical fitness. The stories and gamified features are based on characters whose traits are similar to those of children, and medical practitioners such as doctors and nutritionists can vet the content and feed data into the platform.
The app is compatible with all end-user devices and uses common gaming and social media practices to make wellness information easy to understand and apply, and by using the tools, content can be adjusted instantly based on real-time user feedback. The funds won will be used to expand their team and speed up product development and towards the end of this year, they plan to run another fundraising round to propel it through the product launch.