“What if we gamified life, not just a small piece of it, but the whole thing?” With that one thought, Ryan Traeger jumped out of the shower and for the next 6 hours, still in his towel, wrote out the business scope, basic revenue model and wireframe for ACHVR, which will launch in private beta later this month.
ACHVR aims to help people live a more fulfilled life through first time experiences. The site allows people to discover, track and share everything they want to do, as well as everything they’ve done. With a curated and community sourced database of almost everything you could possibly do, ACHVR assigns points to life’s activities (big and small) and creates social connections based on common interests. By pulling in friends and extended networks through Facebook’s API, the team is focused on building a product where an active community of users can grow and engage with each other quickly.
“I was in my second year of business school, re-evaluating my life and what I wanted to do and I needed a way to help myself get on track to figure out what was important to me,” recalls Ryan, as he gets ready to launch the private beta of ACHVR to close friends and family. The private beta will include around 3,000 achievements, including grabbing sushi with friends, climbing Mount Everest, and everything in between. The major features include: a life bucket list, a journal to celebrate and relive completed achievements, badges for major achievements, and a social leaderboard where you can stack up against friends. The goal is to use feedback from the beta to refine the core ACHVR product, spice up the front end, and add features such as the ‘fight card’ where users can literally face off in the real game of life.
Lucky for Ryan, he was able to quickly put together a winning team of cofounders as soon as he began to shop the idea around back in Oct 2011. In his previous life he worked on the client side of marketing and advertising at Arnold Worldwide, but thanks to that fateful shower on the morning of October 14th, 2011, he spent the past year building the ACHVR team and product. Steve Ferraro, who met Ryan in the Boston College MBA program, joined the team in January 2012. The two of them started building the company in their last semester of business school, working at the university to figure out the business model and drafting formal documents and plans. Drew Watson, the third cofounder, was one of Ryan’s early supporters and officially came on board in June 2012, after quitting his job of almost 10 years at the media agency MPG! The track record of pure excitement doesn’t just stop there – the team continued to grow with the addition of CTO Rob Lewis who passed up a job offer at LevelUp to join ACHVR. A team of two front end developers, a designer, and a copywriter are also working hard to get this baby ready for private beta launch.
One of ACHVR’s main priorities as they build their team is to grow a strong company culture right alongside it. The ACHVR culture aligns with the company’s overall goals for future users – to encourage the discovery and experience of new things and to live a more fulfilled life. “Of course money is a reward, but we want to reward our team by gifting the experiences on their wish list – send them to Europe for example – We want to help our team do what’s most important to them,” says Ryan, who is currently sporting a furry mustache as part of the team’s participation in the Movember movement! Moving forward, Ryan admits the team needs some powerful women on board and is on the lookout for talented women to join the ACHVR team next!
So how did the ACHVR team find themselves at Workbar? It’s a small world after all! In his search for a patent attorney, Ryan learned that Drew’s brother-in-law, Tom Druan, is a patent and trademark lawyer who also works out of Workbar – coincidence? We call it fate! Tom is one of our most active members – you can often find him playing poker in the evenings at various Workbar events and he’s the founder of Workbar game nights! After meeting with Tom and getting the tour of the space, they were sold. “We knew we were going to need to add people quickly and needed to stay lean . . . so the flexibility was very important to us.” ACHVR joined Workbar in June 2012.
Are more Workbar collaborations in ACHVR’s future? Ryan talks about the community he’s gotten to know here, “Workbar is a great intersection of tech, marketing, law, PR – a mix you don’t get by working in a “siloed” environment. If you have a question, the answer is always at your fingertips. I recently spoke with Adam Howitt, co-founder of WalkJogRun, who gave us some great suggestions and recommendations on developing our mobile app when we’re ready to start – I’m definitely going to talk to Adam again when that time comes.”
Look out for ACHVR to launch publicly as early as January 2013 and for their mobile app to come out in the next 6-8 months. If you’d like to learn more about the ACHVR team or what they’re up to, check out http://signup.achvrs.com/ or say hi on twitter @achvr or Facebook. Highfive!
About the Author: Evona Niewiadomska is the Events and Digital Media Manager at Workbar. As of January 2013 she is an independent Digital Media & Design Creative with a specialty for infographic design and social media strategy. Check out her website, evonawiktoria.com or contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @evonawiktoria.