Jane J. Wang is letting you earn rewards by exercising

Jane J. Wang is letting you earn rewards by exercising

Who: Jane J. Wang, founder and CEO of Optimity, an app that lets users earn rewards by meeting health and wellness goals
Company HQ: Kensington Market
Founded: 2017
Employees: 45

How it works: “Optimity links up to health apps or wearable devices, like a Fitbit, to track your activity levels. You then earn points for completing tasks, like walking or meditating. Those credits can be redeemed for rewards, including meal kits and gadgets.”

Eureka moment: “When my mom died in 2011, I decided I wanted to create something that could make the people I love live longer and better. I was working at a pharmaceutical company at the time, building software to get patients to take their medication, and I noticed people could change their behaviour if you incentivized them.”

How much you spent initially:
“$750,000. Of that, I put up $250,000 of my own money. It went toward developing the minimum viable product.”

Your turning point: “In 2019, we purchased Carrot, another behaviour science app. Their data, content and infrastructure helped expand our reach in North America. Now, Optimity has 2.6 million users across the continent.”

Your big-time backers: “We’ve raised $4.8 million. Most of our investors are retired CEOs of really big companies, like Bryan Pearson, who used to run LoyaltyOne, the Air Miles rewards service.”

Your tech role model: “Steve Jobs. He paid very close attention to design and detail.”

Past life: “I worked as a mortality risk specialist, helping insurance companies determine how long someone would live based on their daily habits.”

The best advice you’ve received: “ ‘Think bigger.’ It’s critical if you want to change the world.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “ ‘That’s not possible.’ It’s funny, you usually hear it from people who haven’t accomplished anything themselves.”

Tech jargon you hate: “ ‘Disrupt.’ I don’t want to create more chaos, I want to invent more fluid, optimized ways of doing things.”

Favourite part of work-from-home: “I try to work out every day. My partner and I converted our garage into a gym with a squat rack and free weights.”

Typical work-from-home attire: “Yoga pants from Lululemon or Nike, plus a comfy white T-shirt.”

App you can’t live without: “Slack. It’s a very useful tool for team collaboration, especially during remote work.”