Chattanooga entrepreneurs launch new networking site
By Megan Boatwright
Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter
CHATTANOOGA, (WRCB) -- A group of recent college grads believe they've developed the next big online social networking site. 'LifeKraze' is all about rewarding healthy lifestyle choices, it's brainchild of two former Covenant College students.
David Nielson and Ben Wagner were supposed to be working on a senior paper one night. Instead, they developed a business model for a networking site they say is different from Facebook and Twitter because it's all about 'what' you do.
It's a relaxed work environment to say the least inside the Market St. LifeKraze office space.
"That's why we're about to have a yoga session in the office," says CEO Ben Wagner. "We believe in that lifestyle."
A lifestyle the recent college grads have turned into a business plan and national platform, all through a website called 'LifeKraze'.
"We launched a beta testing site Jan. 11th, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.," says Wagner. "A lot of one's in there."
Since then the site has grown to close to 2,000 members, but getting the money to get there wasn't easy.
"We started flying to New York, Ohio meeting with people to raise the funds we needed," Wagner says.
They raised $1.2 million from investors, most out of Chattanooga.
The basic premise of LifeKraze is a reward system. Post your accomplishment and your followers reward you with points.
"Today a member posted he had a small salmon salad for lunch," says Chief Technology Officer, Michael Brooks Jr. "Knowing Ken I know he used to not eat very healthy, now using LifeKraze he likes to talk about how he's eating healthy. He's received 20 points so far."
Points that will eventually translate into real rewards.
"Like minded brands, running shoes, athletic apparel but it's not just going to be whatever," says Wagner of the redemption plan. "We really want the brands we work with to be aligned with what we believe."
The LifeKraze team sees it as a way to bridge the gap between social media and the real world.
"We believe social media can be a tool to make the world a better place," Wagner says.
The site is up and running but the reward system isn't. The LifeKraze team is still in the process of signing brands to fit their vision. They hope to launch the rewards system soon.