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Hey guys! StartupRadius interviewed Runtopia, a company that successfully created a running app for tracking and sharing all the sports data. What’s more important is that they didn’t stop and created a strong and large online community around their app, and even launched a physical product – smart running shoes! Learn how they grew from 0 to 2,000,000 users in just 2 years, and created a stable brand with the help of referral, PPC and partnership marketing hacks. Enjoy!

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Runtopia?

Runtopia is an all-round smart sports brand. We started out with the Runtopia app, to let users track running data, share with the community and join unique events, such as online marathons.

We recently launched our latest product, Runtopia REACH, a pair of smart running shoes. The shoes connect to the app, and enable the wearer to track accurate running form when running, whilst getting real time audio coaching on landing zone, gait, cadence, speed and so on.

We’re working on getting more awesome smart sports gear out there!

Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or a money-making idea?

Runtopia wants to offer all runners the smartest and most efficient running experience. After hearing numerous stories about running injuries, which in fact could have been easily prevented, our idea for real time analysis of running form and audio coaching came to life.

We also believe in giving runners all the tools they need; all the way from pre-workout, throughout their run and to post-run. That’s why we offer all the tools a runner needs to create a complete running workout.

Time for bragging! How big are you – traffic, users, anything else?

We launched our app less than two years ago, and have since then acquired over 2 million users from over 260 countries. Runtopia has been featured in GadFit, GearJunkie, Chipin etc. We’ve also received an opportunity to showcase our products at the upcoming CES 2018 in Las Vegas.

Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?

For the Runtopia app, our main competitors are mainly Strava, Runkeeper, Runtastic and Nike Run Club. For the Runtopia REACH shoes, our main competitors are Under Armour and Altra.

However, we’ve combined these two products together, creating something unique. Not only do we have a great existing community & running experience online, our shoes also offer special features, such as running form analysis & real time audio coaching, which makes Runtopia unique from its competitors. We are heading in the direction of smart sports to create an all-around sports experience for our users.

Runtopia running app

Who uses Runtopia? What is your perfect user persona?

Runners of all levels—from beginners to marathoners: there are users who have never run a mile, as well as users who regularly take part in marathons and different races, such as Tough Mudder. We currently have users from over 260 countries, but mainly from USA, Europe, South-East Asia and Australia, making it an interesting and unique bunch of runners.

We don’t really set any prerequisites for a “perfect” user; as long as you enjoy running, Runtopia is perfect for you!

Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?

No one single growth hack per-say, but a combination of hacks! Referrals, great in-app events & promotions, use of social media, partnerships & cooperations and of course a great product all contribute. We have a great and talented team behind the brand, which is the “secret sauce” of Runtopia.  

If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?

Take advantage of social media & create your presence online; it has a huge impact on brand awareness and providing credibility! Make sure you have at least Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google accounts set up (you won’t lose anything – they’re all free).

Also make a consistent plan of what you want to achieve and where you want to end up. Any opportunities that come along the way should reflect your goals and values.

Runtopia - online running community

Which marketing channels you prefer and why?

As far as paid advertising goes, Facebook Ads have been working for us very well. It’s an easy & customizable marketing channel, with high viewership and conversion rate, when the preferred audience is selected wisely.

In-app promotions and events are also great inexpensive ways to spread awareness. This enables existing users who are familiar with your product to recommend it to their friends & family through word-of-mouth, which proves to be a highly reliable source for new users.

Are you monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?

Yes, we are monetized through in-app purchases and add-ons; at the moment this being our Premium membership and Runtopia REACH smart running shoes. With the premium membership, users will gain more access to data analysis, personalized training plans and other unique features. Meanwhile, the shoes offer accurate analysis of running form, real time audio coaching and exclusive data analysis.

The basic features and events of the Runtopia are free-of-charge, as we want to offer a running experience for everyone.

Runtopia - sports tracking app

What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company (marketing, development, business) and why do you like them?

  1.    Facebook: Great channel for creating an online community, customer support, advertising to a wide range of potential consumers and getting more insight into targeted audiences and demographics.
  2.     Google Analytics: In-depth analysis of traffic, user demographics, conversions and more, giving detailed insight into different tactics used.
  3.    Google Drive: Great and convenient for sharing files, creating new interactive content and saving docs, files, images etc.
  4.     TAPD: Great tool for sharing & completing tasks of different departments, to-do lists, support enquiries and so on (only in Chinese).
  5.     WeChat Work: Great tool for messaging co-workers (similar to Whatsapp, but created specifically for work, i.e. all employees are added in with names, titles, departments).
  6.    Skype: Easiest means of communication with our overseas partners (plus, calls are free!).
  7.     Mailchimp: Easy management of email marketing and generating email content.
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