Drinking responsibly — there’s an app for that.
WELL is a mobile app founded by Wharton MBA Kathleen Daughetyok that will allow users to track their drinking and monitor their blood alcohol content when it launches over the summer. Users report the number of drinks they’ve had so the app can alert them of their current blood alcohol content.
“This idea of developing programming technology around alcohol moderation has been in the back of my mind for a long time,” WELL founderlowercase and CEO Daughety said. She and her friends formerly used Jawboneok, an activity tracking wristband, and Mint.com to keep tabs on their steps, sleep and spending.
“We just felt like we were getting all this precise data on these aspects of our life, but we don’t have any data on our blood alcohol content in real time,” Daughety said. “Because the way we drink really affects our well being, it felt like a gap.”
She sees a demand for a method to regulate social drinking and prevent alcoholism. “When people talk about or think about actively managing their alcohol consumption, their mind instantly jumps to ‘Do I have a problem? Am I an alcoholic? Do I want to quit [drinking]?’ And if the answers to all those questions is no, they abandon the thought process entirely,” Daughety said.
Daughety plans to position WELL as a prevention device. “With any healthcare problem, prevention is preferable to treatment,” she said.
In addition to the app, WELL is also considering adding a physical device that would automatically track blood alcohol content through the skin, eliminating the need for users to manually report each drink.
Creating such a device is no simple undertaking. “Once you get into hardware and developing the technology, it’s a big capital investment. We’re looking for ways to test demand for that right now,” Daughety said.
Currently, WELL is also developing its mobile app and growing its team.
Daughety said that the app’s target market is 21- to 35-year-olds who are tech-savvy and health conscious. “Undergrads and MBAs are logical customers, but I think young professionals will find it useful as well,” Daughety explained.
The app will launch over the summer, but WELL already has active Twitter and Facebook pages. Both pages frequently share articles on health, wellness and alcohol consumption. Daughety and her team are developing a website to publish original content as a supplement.