Norwegians app couch potatoes

Three friends in their 20s launch an app to make it easier for people to partake in sports

Photo: iTunes app store Screenshots from the app. “Sporty” is currently only available for iPhone.

Photo: iTunes app store
Screenshots from the app. “Sporty” is currently only available for iPhone.

Michael Sandelson
The Foreigner

Mathias Mikkelsen, 24, 22-year-old Christian Ringnes Jr. and Christopher Onsrud, 21, created “Sporty” with the aim of getting people fit in a convenient and “habit-forming, fast, simple, and social way”, they say.

The free app is also designed for those who are sporty, and is intended to make meeting like-minded people easy.

“You don’t ask your neighbor to play football when you grow older, but there are certainly many who would have liked to have joined you. We want to lower the threshold by creating a dedicated social network for this. Those who have the app have already indicated that they want more activity,” Mathias Mikkelsen told Aftenposten, Wednesday.

The advert-free app, available just for iPhone for now, asks permission to use your location, and logging in is done via your Facebook account.

As with other social network apps, you can receive push notifications. You can either join an activity, and/or invite your friends to join you via Facebook or text (SMS), as well as people nearby you using the app’s invitation feature.

Current sports types include American football, basketball, chess, cycling, dog walking, fishing, fitness, go-karting, paintball, poker, roller skating, running, skateboarding, snowboarding, tennis, walking, and yoga.

According to Mikkelsen, it is currently targeted towards the American and Norwegian markets.

“Americans are probably more open to meeting people they don’t know. We’re perhaps more introverted in Norway and prefer to play sports with friends. The use might be a little different,” he said.

“Sporty” is Mikkelsen’s second app to launch this year. Accounting services application “Timely,” which creates a log of users’ hours worked by retrieving data from their calendar, was rolled out this spring. Some 16,000 companies and 30,000 individual users reportedly use the app.

Commenting on the physical activity idea behind “Sporty”, Mathias Mikkelsen remarked in a statement that he finds it “extremely boring to run at the gym, and I’m probably not alone in that.”

“But the competitive instinct makes me run more than I might endure otherwise if you put me in a sport with several others. That’s what’s so wonderful about sport – it’s fun. And we all benefit from more physical activity, including me,” he concluded.

The three young entrepreneurs now intend to reside in the US’ Silicon Valley, working from home and cafes. They are reportedly talking to potential partners.

Other possible future money-making ideas are deducting a small commission from the fee charged for renting a court through the app, according to Aftenposten.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit theforeigner.no.
It also appeared in the Sept. 12, 2014 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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