When Peter Schultze first came up with the idea for Plyo, a workout reward app, he had no idea it would gain traction so quickly. Now, only a few years after he co-founded the business in 2017, he said he and his team have their eyes set on usage on every Big Ten college campus.
Plyo, as described by Schultze and Scott Wagner, assistant director for member services and development for UNL Campus Recreation, is a mobile app that provides users with rewards for logging time within on-campus recreation facilities. Wagner said the app initially became available for use on campus in November, but Campus Recreation is planning a larger rollout during the spring semester.
According to Schultze, students can earn points on Plyo and redeem them for rewards or gift cards at restaurants like Jersey Mike’s, Raising Cane’s, Grey Whale Poke Bowl and Subway. Rewards are also available for online retailers like Amazon, Garmin and lululemon.
Shultze said Plyo users earn 50 points per hour of exercise within all campus rec areas or 100 points per hour if two users are exercising together. He said users will start earning points immediately upon entering a recreation facility on campus. Schultze also said prizes are usually in the 100-500 point range.
“We approach brands with our mission to help inspire the next generation to live active lifestyles,” Schultze said. “A lot of brands really resonate with that, and it’s a win-win for them.”
Wagner also said the partnership with Plyo comes from a goal for making it easier for students to be and stay active on campus.
“What I truly like about [Plyo] is their mission and values really match what ours are as a department,” Wagner said. “We’re looking to get people in our building, and we’re getting them to learn lifelong skills of wellness.”
Wagner said 1,700 UNL students signed up for Plyo during the last two weeks of the fall semester and winter break, exceeding the intended goal of 1,500. He said Campus Recreation has a new goal of 2,500 users on campus by the beginning of February. Wagner also said Campus Recreation’s role in the Plyo partnership is to promote the app and pass savings opportunities along to students.
Schultze said he originally came up with the idea for Plyo in 2017 while sitting in his University of Minnesota dorm room. He said he personally struggled to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle in college, and recognized many campuses have large recreation centers that are free to students.
“I was inspired to help college students prioritize their health and fitness,” Shultze said. “The goal was to make [Plyo] fun by rewarding students with discounts towards their favorite brands and spots on campus for going to the gym.”
Plyo launched in 2018 at the University of Minnesota and now has four full-time employees at the main site in Minneapolis. Plyo is currently offered at six Big Ten universities, as well as other colleges in the Twin Cities area. Schultze said Plyo is focused on the college student and campus recreation market.
“Our vision is to encourage as many students as possible to live healthier lifestyles,” he said. “We think the college campus is a great place to start.”
Wagner said Campus Recreation is currently working with Plyo to have representatives hold brochures inside the rec center to hand out information and get students signed up on the spot.
Schultze said Plyo will continue to update and add restaurants and retailers as time goes on and more students join.
“Ultimately, we are building communities of students who are looking to improve their lifestyle and are going through a fitness journey,” he said.