Working out can be fun…and addictive.
Announcing our seed investment in Millennial Fox (aka “Tracks”).
Did you ever play with a Tamagotchi when you were younger? I remember being addicted and wasting countless hours keeping my virtual pet alive. I only wish that there could have been some benefit to all those hours I spent. Now, there’s an app that does exactly that, combining fun with fitness…
Tracks Battle Squad (“Tracks”) is the first app from Millennial Fox Inc., bridging the gap between entertainment and fitness and proving that staying active can be fun. Tracks is a socially gamified workout companion on watchOS and integrates with the iOS Health App to let you use the exercise you do to earn you points, badges, and accessories for your virtual 3D fox. Apple Watch is effective at tracking fitness goals and measuring daily steps and activity, and with the Tracks app, we believe that gamifying your daily fitness goals will be the next big thing. In addition to being fun, Tracks inspires healthy competition — push yourself to beat your friend’s scores or your personal best.
The characters on Tracks are some “fine looking foxes” (a phrase I coin on this week’s episode of Planet of the Apps) that get stronger as you get stronger through exercising. The foxes react in real time to your physical activity — whether you’re running, walking, slowing down, or speeding up. With Tracks, you can take your fitness companion with you wherever you go.
Today we are proud to announce our seed investment in Millennial Fox Inc. and its first product, Tracks Battle Squad.
You can watch founder Sunny Uppal pitch Lightspeed for funding on this week’s episode of Planet of the Apps exclusively on Apple Music. New episodes air on Tuesdays at 6pm pst / 9pm est. (For more info on the show and/or Tracks, follow me at twitter.com/nik_quinn).
I recently asked Sunny a few questions about how his background influenced him in founding his company, what culture he thrives in, and what he learned from his mentor will.i.am.
Nicole: In one sentence, what is the goal of Millennial Fox, and your first app, Tracks Battle Squad?
Sunny: My company is Millennial Fox, and our goal with the launch of Tracks Battle Squad is to make fitness fun.
Nicole: What is your background, and how did it inform your idea for Tracks?
My background is in music, but I changed direction a few years ago to focus on learning to program. I was a WWDC scholarship recipient for 2016 and that same year, I had my first app featured on the app store. At WWDC, I saw a big push for health and fitness in applications, especially on watchOS. I worked on Tracks as a team of two — myself and artist and designer Arianna Chiriff. Getting inspiration at WWDC, combined with our expertise in 3D development, was the beginning of Tracks. Building Tracks has been an exciting challenge, and something I personally have never done before.
Nicole: Do you have a personal story or perspective that Tracks addresses?
My goal for Tracks is and has always been to get people moving while having fun. I wanted to help solve some common problems that affect a large number of people — a.) getting motivated enough to start being active, and b.) having a reason to continue.
When I was a kid, my dad had an interesting way to get me motivated enough to swim laps in our pool. For every lap I swam, I would get a few more minutes of playing video games. I really wanted to play video games, and because of this, my dad’s method tapped into a motivation I already had and got me to swim a ridiculous number of laps. Tracks uses this idea and turns it into something that can motivate you anywhere, anytime.
Nicole: What benefit do you provide that’s relevant to the customer and their main pain point with fitness?
Sunny: It is literally painful to work out. Tracks gives you several incentives in order to make you forget about the actual physical stress you may have by trying to stay active. Tracks makes staying active social and entertaining.
Nicole: Will.i.am. was your mentor on the show. Discuss.
Sunny: Working with will.i.am was unlike anything I have experienced before. He is an unstoppable creative force and just being around him and his team made me want to work even harder. I think what he has done with his brand is enough to motivate anyone to step up their game. He is living proof that anyone with enough “will power” can make it.
Nicole: What are the apps you can’t live without (aside from Tracks)?
Sunny: The apps I can’t live without are Slack, Dropbox and Uber for sure. I pretty much can’t work with my team without those apps. I also personally love the Procreate app for iPad Pro. It is the main reason I have an iPad pro and an Apple Pencil. They just work so well together. My team and I use Procreate to do everything at Tracks from concepts to quick sketches to wireframes. It is really amazing.
Nicole: What’s your ultimate goal for Tracks?
Sunny: I believe that technology is the next great creative medium. We are a team of creatives and our company’s mission is to make fitness fun. Fitness is just the beginning. I really see us potentially applying this formula to other activities in the future that are not considered fun traditionally. The one thing that apps and technology have done better than any other medium is connect people and ideas in new an unexpected ways. I think building off that truth is something the team and I want to carry on doing for as long as we can. We have created a space where we can explore this, and that to me is one of the most exciting things about what we are doing.
Nicole: What’s the most valuable piece of professional advice you have received?
Sunny: The best piece of advice I have ever received is from my dad. What his advice boiled down to was this— have a goal. Having a goal means knowing what you want. I truly believe that knowing what you want is the most important thing you have to decide for yourself in order to be successful in life and in business.
Nicole: How do you strive to manage (yourself, your people and your company)?
Sunny: I want to work with people that want to work with me, which is a big reason why I like to keep our team small. The people I work with believe in the mission, believe in what we are doing, and are here every day because this is where they most want to be in the world. I’m never pushing them to do something that they are only doing to collect a paycheck — that doesn’t work when you’re building a startup.
Nicole: What kind of culture do you thrive in?
Sunny: I just graduated from college in May 2017. When you’re a student, you worry about less, and you believe in the possibilities more. At least that has been true for me. Our team’s first app game was built in a room that was about 8 feet by 4 feet with no air-conditioning over the course of 4 months. That app went on to be featured on the app store, and was the reason I went to WWDC in the first place. I never want to stop believing there are possibilities for us as creatives and as entrepreneurs, and I want to deeply engrain that into our company culture.
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