Taking on Lift, Everest's Goal-Setting & Tracking App Passes 100K Goals

There are several apps trying to help users motivate themselves and keep track of their goals, most notably Lift, which is backed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s Obvious Corp. New entrant Everest launched its free iOS app in late December, and the San Francisco-based startup wants to help people scale their own personal Everest, whatever that might be. The app lets users outline their goal, whether it’s to run a marathon or learn a new skill, and track it along the way, while checking out other users’ progress and accomplishments.

The main premise of the app is to provide motivation and accountability to anyone setting goals. Users start by browsing through existing goals from other users, and can opt in to add it to their list, or add their own. Some of the most popular goal categories on the platform include health, adventure, self-improvement, and travel. After setting a goal, users outline when they want to accomplish it (either within a specific time period, as an ongoing goal, or someday), and classify it as a public or private dream.

Users can then set a cover photo for their dream to inspire them, classify why it’s important, and set steps and reminders to achieve the goal. For example if the goal was to travel to Paris in one year, users could set deadlines for saving money, booking the trip, and researching activities. The Explore section of the app lets users track their friends’ goals, and see activity from the community at large, with the ability to copy steps and goals to their own account.

Everest CEO Francis Pedraza said in an interview that the motivation for Everest came from feeling that current tools for tracking goals were disorganized, provided a lack of inspiration, and didn’t provide a lot of support along the way. After the December launch, the app was updated in late January with bug fixes and small feature adds, and while he declined to share download numbers, Pedraza did say that over 100,000 dreams have been created through the app. While the number of goals set is an important metric, when it comes to setting goals the key is continual follow-up and tracking. Pedraza said their retention rates are good right now, but that will likely be the biggest metric to track in the coming months.

With an eye to monetization, the app also has a Challenges section, where users can “accept challenges with guidance from heroes and brands.” Right now there are branded challenges from companies including Quiksilver, with about 20 brand partners in total. He cites Nike as an example of an ideal brand partner, so if someone sets the goal of running a marathon, Nike could sponsor running challenges along the way, and provide tips to get them ready.

In terms of competitors, he said Everest is more blue sky than competitive apps like Lift, trying to help people with their long-term goals more than their day-to-day tasks. “I feel like we’re playing a much bigger game than Lift, Lift is just foursquare for small habits, but it doesn’t encompass your motivation for doing things, and it doesn’t let you capture the journey,” Pedraza said, adding that they do compete on features like reminders.

The company has a host of investors including Peter Thiel on board, and Pedraza said they’ll be raising a larger round of funding this year to build out a web version of the app, followed by a tablet version. With international launches scheduled for this year (right now it’s only available in the U.S. and Canadian App Stores) and a clean, beautiful design, Everest is one of the nicest goals apps out there. Whether it’s better than competitors like Lift, and whether it can get people to actually track and achieve their goals, is another question, and one that only long-term usage of the app will showcase.

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin has covered startups and technology for over three years in publications including Sprouter Weekly, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Mashable, and VentureBeat. She also writes a regular startup column for the Financial Post, and is a technology expert on CTV News Channel. Before BetaKit Erin worked as Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter from its launch in 2009 until its acquisition by Postmedia Network Inc. She was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's 30 Under 30 in 2012.

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