Kurbo was founded by entrepreneur and supermom, CEO Joanna Strober, to transform Stanford University’s world-class, in-person weight management program for kids into a mobile app. Kurbo’s vision was to reach more of the 25 million US children who are overweight, and provide them with a fun and engaging solution that encourages a healthy lifestyle. Kurbo licensed the learnings from Stanford, and partnered with Cooper to design a more affordable and accessible digital experience.
Cooper designed tracking tools and a virtual coach to make the physical work of daily food tracking light and interactive.
Grounded by in-person research, the Cooper team uncovered several key insights that went on to shape the entire experience. First, the team quickly found that when people are making healthy choices, they tend to stick with foods they know. Likewise, a kid is not going to painstakingly list out every ingredient in their mom’s chicken every time. To make tracking food even easier, the Cooper team designed the system to make educated guesses about what users are eating based on things they’ve eaten before.
“It empowered my daughter. Now she feels more in control and better about her life.”
Using participatory creation sessions with kids, Cooper also created a virtual coach. These co-creation sessions revealed the kids’ need to personalize the voice and personality of their own coach. This customized coach helped kids engage with the app more deeply, giving them ownership over their experience and deepening their engagement with Kurbo.
The virtual coach and tracking tools also made it easier for kids to set weekly goals, and keep them, which was reinforced by parents, and through weekly meetings with live coaches via web-conference.
With Cooper’s ideas in hand, Kurbo built their app, and brought it to the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt conference. Kurbo received $1.8M in seed funding, including from Signia Venture Partners, as well as from Facebook and Google executives. They have since raised an additional $5.8M.
The app has been downloaded over 50,000 times and has a 4.5-star user rating.
In March 2016, Cooper was honored for its groundbreaking work with Kurbo at the Interaction Awards 2016 in Helsinki, Finland, where it won in the Optimizing category.
“I use what I have learned from Kurbo everyday. It has really changed my life.”
-Tyler, Kurbo User
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