Great things can begin with a single step…
Take SQRL, a physical and financial wellness application founded by Om Suthar that is helping people invest in their physical and financial well being. In a time when more than 60% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved—while the cost for businesses to provide employees with healthcare coverage has doubled over the last five years—Suthar says SQRL makes it easier for people to address both issues, one step at a time.
“At first I thought it was a money problem, then I thought it was a health problem, but it’s actually a habit formation problem,” Suthar says. “You would think that everyone has the same definition for wellness and that’s not the case. There’s this vicious cycle where poor decision making leads to poor health and it becomes a cycle that is hard to get out of.
“We’re trying to change that.”
Saving For Winter
The concept for SQRL evolved while Suthar was on paternity leave for his first child. He wasn’t sleeping, so he used the insomniac hours to develop the application and research a product-market fit.
By his estimate, if every American would walk or run 10,000 steps a day, the healthcare economy would save more than $500 billion on treatment of chronic cardiovascular diseases.
SQRL allows users to experience the monetary power of a step.
With a SQRL account, users can link their existing checking and savings accounts, then set up an amount to be moved from the checking to the savings account based on how many steps they take in a day. A user that wants to lose weight and save for vacation can authorize SQRL to move $5 out of their checking account and put it into their savings account on each day they take more than 10,000 steps.
SQRL lets users work on their financial health while they better their physical health.
Users pay a small, one-time fee to link their bank account and provide SQRL access to their Apple Health or Google Fit data.
Since integrating with Dwolla for users’ payments—and with Plaid for bank account verification—SQRL has gained hundreds of customers using its consumer application. While helping users save their own money better through exercise is a worthy cause, SQRL has big plans in 2019 to integrate SQRL into a corporate wellness program so users can actually make money just by walking, powered by Dwolla.
“I’m a non-technical founder and I was able to integrate with Dwolla’s ACH API,” Suthar says. “That speaks volumes about the work Dwolla is doing. All of the success SQRL has had is directly related to Dwolla. It comes down to that value offering where we are moving funds between your bank accounts, especially moving funds into a savings account. All of this is not possible without Dwolla.”
To find Dwolla and his ideal payment integration, Suthar said he searched Reddit and Quora to understand what tools other companies were using for a payment solution.
“The search for our ideal payment integration was antagonizing because I didn’t know what size of service I needed,” Suthar says. “When I found Dwolla, I loved how Dwolla has this personal touch with their almost instant responses. I didn’t have to do more searching to get the answers I needed; in 15 minutes I was able to talk with a real person and get the answers to help me get where I needed to go.”
I’m a non-technical founder and I was able to integrate with Dwolla’s ACH API. That speaks volumes about the work Dwolla is doing.
The Nuts And Bolts
Suthar says integrating with Dwolla’s ACH API was “pretty easy” once his team of developers understood where the Plaid integration ends and where Dwolla picks up.
“We’ve had tremendous success,” Suthar says. “Then being able to have those direct lines of communication with Dwolla’s dedicated support team and not having to wait three days for an email to come in about an issue that’s a burning risk. Those little things make it feel like you are in control of your business a lot more.”
Suthar says he did consider building a custom payment integration, but didn’t consider it very long.
“With so much involved in a payments platform, you have to choose what you want to be good at,” Suthar says. “As we started looking at who could help us move money, we realized there was no better fit than Dwolla.”
The Future In A Nutshell
What was so attractive about Dwolla and the ACH Network is the ability to scale. As SQRL’s ambitions grow, they needed a payments partner to grow with them.
“Our society needs this type of emergency fund because the art of the savings account has been lost,” Suthar says. “We’ve really got a tremendous opportunity to grow this and our integrations with Dwolla and Plaid are key to allowing us to provide this offering.”
In 2019, SQRL will release four new features to enable each user to build their own community within the app, create competitions between friends, social sharing to celebrate milestones and group goals to enable users to save with folks in their network towards a common cause.
The ultimate goal is to make SQRL a part of corporate wellness programs and offer companies with opportunities to do conditional payouts if an employee hits a set number of steps.
“We say about $1 for every 10,000 steps, so at the end of the year if you get an extra $300 for doing something you are already doing, that can be a lot more impactful than paying $40 a month for a gym membership and not know the return on that investment,” Suthar says. “If we can help people create positive behavior and lower health risks, while raising savings, that’s valuable.”
With so many plans for expansion, the ambitious SQRL is excited to have found a reliable payment solution in Dwolla right from the start, especially one they are confident will be able to support the aggressive growth that is planned.