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Concord startup launches voice-active running app

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 09. 2018 11:11PM

A Concord startup wants to help you with your fitness regimen.

Cyborg on Thursday launched its voice-active running app with a virtual activity assistant that can answer questions based on your movements and biometrics.

The app, free to download on iOS devices, has the ability to track and log your movements like other fitness apps.

“If you want to be able to ask questions, that’s where we charge because that’s our speciality in the market,” founder and CEO Tim Near said in an interview Thursday.

It will cost users $3.99 a month to use the voice-active functions.

“Asking it, how fit am I or as a 54-year-old female, what should my resting heart rate be and have it articulate back to you both training advice, creating regimens and completing actions that we’re going to leave the competition like Fitbit in the dust from that perspective,” Near said.

He said the Cy assistant should be more advanced by winter.

The app taps into Apple’s health kit already installed on Apple devices to pull biometrics information from users.

Near, 28, who was an overweight teenager who dropped 80 pounds, said people often need encouragement to keep exercising.

“Health is sort of black box, so if anybody is tired of gimmicks and feeling like they want to get back to straight answers and an accountability partner and they want sort of an emotional support, our high-level goal is to provide a machine that can be there at any time on your schedule to be right there in your corner because being active and losing weight for some people is a dogfight and you just need an ally,” he said.

So far, Near has raised $120,000 from friends and family and is about to start a seed round of investment seeking between $500,000 and $1 million, he said.

Near said he got advice from former Dyn co-founder Jeremy Hitchcock.

“Originally, our company was making physical wearable products and Jeremy said, ‘Hey, you should look into a software component for your products,’ basically because we were receiving information from the body and we needed some way to digest that, which was later the impetus for creating what we created,” Near said.

Hitchcock, who isn’t an investor, couldn’t immediately be reached.

Near also credits Alpha Loft, which advises startup companies.

“Alpha Loft helped us make critical changes to refine our business model,” he said. “We owe them a great deal of credit for us getting this far.”

Near brought on former Moultonborough Academy classmate Mike Lau, a Dartmouth grad, to help with software development.

The company, which has one other employee, hopes to establish a lab in Manchester later this year, Near said.


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