PivotPass Focuses on Corporate Wellness Plans

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Richmond Times Dispatch (Virginia)


Like a lot of startup businesses, PivotPass has learned to do some pivoting of its own when the marketplace demands it.

The company, founded in December 2015 by fitness enthusiasts April Palmer and Brig Leland II, has a mission to improve wellness.

"We believe that when people are their healthiest selves, they live their most fulfilling lives," Leland said.

The startup's first service offering was to partner with boutique gyms to provide a "pass" that allowed individual customers a simple way to get access to a variety of gyms without having to pay multiple membership fees.

Now, PivotPass has pivoted, shifting its emphasis toward corporate wellness programs by offering technology tools and administrative services that help businesses make it easier and more engaging for employees to participate in fitness programs.

"We are exclusively corporate wellness now, which means we work with employers to help engage their entire workforce in wellness activities," Palmer said. "You have to pick one thing and do it really well."

"What we have learned over the last three years is that we can have a bigger impact by working with companies," Leland said.

PivotPass contracts with businesses to help manage wellness programs. In July, the company introduced an app that allows employees of its client companies to link more than 100 types of wearable fitness tracking devices to the PivotPass app, or to log their activity into the app manually.

Employees also can use the app to participate in social groups and fitness challenges within an organization.

"We have direct feedback we can give them through the app to keep them inspired," Palmer said.

Employees of the corporate customers can get access to fitness activities at a network of gyms that have partnered with PivotPass. For companies that offer a fitness subsidy to employees, PivotPass has a branded debit card that can be provided to employees to offset the cost of those wellness activities.

Through its app, PivotPass also can collect and aggregate anonymous data about fitness activity, which employers can use to help reduce health insurance costs.

"Many companies already have wellness programs," Leland said. "They just aren't getting data back that they can use, either for health care or to know how engaged and healthy their employees are.

"With our app, it is pretty easy to start to measure that."

Local corporate clients include The Martin Agency.

In August, PivotPass announced it had signed up its first national corporate client: Apex Clean Energy, which has about 200 employees in Charlottesville, New York, Texas and Minnesota.

The PivotPass app has helped push participation in the company's wellness program from 45 to 75 percent, said Ali Tankiewicz, human resources associate for Apex.

"Apex is our first national partner, and that means now we can work with companies regardless of location," Leland said. "We can support their employees wherever they are."

Palmer and Leland are life partners as well as business partners. Palmer has a background in nursing and human resources consulting. Leland has a background in operations management. Both are lifelong fitness buffs, and it is what brought them together.

"We had our first date at an obstacle course race, followed by surfing," Leland said. "Since then, our relationship has revolved around adventure and fitness."

They moved PivotPass from Charlottesville to Richmond late in 2017. The startup now has an office in the Startup Virginia business incubator in the 1717 Innovation Center in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom.

"We moved to Richmond because we felt like it was the best place for us to grow our business," Palmer said. "The entrepreneurial community here is so well-supported by local organizations."

PivotPass is seeking more corporate clients, focusing primarily on the Richmond-area market.

"We think that we have found the best way to support employers who want to attract, retain and engage great talent," Palmer said. "We are going to double down on that and make sure we are able to bring it to as many organizations as possible and engage as many of their employees as we can."

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September 24, 2018


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