Buster Benson and Jen McCabe Team Up for Habit Labs

Buster Benson and Jen McCabe Team Up for Habit Labs


Habit Labs' Health MonthTwo start-ups in gamification of health have merged to create Habit Labs and achieved an early round of funding. Buster Benson, creator of Health Month, 43 Things, and Locavore, has teamed up with Jen McCabe, founder of Y-Combinator backed health startup, Contagion, to get Habit Labs up and running. They already have a strong foundation with Benson’s earlier project, Health Month which uses game mechanics to encourage players to take small steps in their path towards health. Health Month’s user base is continuing to grow and the business is already turning a profit from their freemium–or corporate co-op–model, which makes Habit Labs a strong entry into the gamification of health.

In an earlier interview, Benson gave the motivations behind developing Health Month,

“If you can find businesses or games that tap into what the players naturally want already–and this is the area that I’m most interested in exploring–it’s always health, its a mastery of a skill, creation of habits, improvement of life, improvement of happiness, all those things that we’re trying to always do. This helps me avoid the whole other side of the gamification conversation which is all about loyalty. I’m really only interested in the portion of the conversation thats about helping people and empower them to do what they already want to do.”

The premise of Health Month is fairly simple in its rules, but the social mechanics and personalized challenges have already show promise. The game begins every month with users picking 3 rules for the 30-day period (Premium users can break free of the the three-rule limit). Users start with 10 points, and every time they break a rule, they lose one point. If users follow each of their rules for a day, they get a piece of “fruit” which can be given to friends to heal them back to their 10-points.

According to TechCrunch, the start-up has received $250,000 in angel funding from Dave McClureFounders Co-Op, Rick Webb from Barbarian Group and Apricot Capital. Although largely aimed at consumers, Habit Labs is entering into the same market as Keas–started by Google Health vet, Adam Bosworth– and internal programs, such as that at NextJump that use teams, challenges, and game mechanics to get employees moving.

In addition to continuing development of Health Month, Habit Labs projects include Contagion’s IMoveYou, and a new product “Budge” is coming soon.

Gamification Co will be hosting it’s second Gamification Summit in New York on September 15-16. Join keynotes from Gilt Groupe CEO Alexandra Wilkis Wilson and 42 Entertainment’s founder, Susan Bondsto learn how the new science of engagement is rewriting the rules of product design. We are also offering the first ever Certificate in Gamification. For Gamification Blog readers, use discount code GCOBLOG for 25% off at http://gsummit.com/register. We look forward to seeing you there!


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