In the age of smartphones and wearables, where technology intertwines with every facet of our lives, one company stands as a beacon of innovation, harnessing the power of technology to promote wellness. Established in 2016, 42Technology has been at the forefront of a groundbreaking movement that fuses the digital world with well-being. Their flagship product, 42Race, and a suite of other cutting-edge initiatives have transformed the way we approach fitness, fostering a global community that blends technology, health, and human connection.

In this interview, we speak with Zhou Mi, the co-founder and CEO of 42Technology, to gain deeper insights into their journey, remarkable milestones, and their vision for the future of wellness in a digital age.

Can you take us back to the inception of 42Technology? What inspired you to establish a company that focuses on merging technology with wellness?

The inception of 42Technology dates back to 2016, a year with explosive growth in mobile technology. This was a period when people began to harness their phones for more interactive and health-related activities. Games like “Pokémon Go” were making headlines, and fitness trackers like Fitbit were becoming household names.

As my co-founder, Augustine, and I graduated from university, we saw an exciting intersection between our personal interests and this burgeoning tech wave. Thus, the vision for a company that seamlessly merged technology with wellness was born.

The flagship product, 42Race, has garnered significant success. Could you share with us the pivotal moments that contributed to its popularity and widespread adoption among users?

Certainly! The journey of 42Race saw several pivotal moments:

  1. Innovation in Business Model: Our decision to offer a virtual race at an affordable price of $9.90 was a game-changer. It democratized the race experience for many.
  2. Collaboration with Brands: Our partnership with Reebok was a significant milestone. They were our first commercial client and played an instrumental role in elevating the concept of virtual running.Since then, we have worked with more than 400 brands and organizations.
  3. Understanding User Behaviour: We soon realized that virtual running was not just about fitness; it was a fun and social activity. This insight helped us tailor our offerings to foster community engagement.

With over half a million users and more than 33 million exercise activities recorded, how has 42Race positively impacted the lives of individuals, and could you provide us with a few heartwarming success stories?

Beyond the impressive numbers, what truly matters to us are the stories behind each run. 42Race has been a canvas for many heart-warming tales. For instance, there’s an 80+ year-old runner who has clocked in over 1,200KM throughout the year, showcasing determination and vigor. Another touching narrative is of families who’ve organized runs to gift their children their very first running medal. These stories epitomize the spirit of 42Race: a platform not just for fitness, but for moments, memories, and milestones.

42Technology’s participation in Wellness Festival Singapore showcases your commitment to promoting wellness through digital means. How has this event provided a platform for you to achieve your mission and engage with a broader audience?

Wellness Festival Singapore has been a pivotal platform for us. Beyond enhancing the discoverabilityof Singapore’s wellness offerings, it has allowed 42Technology to introduce our product to a larger audience and forge meaningful collaborations with peers in the industry, providing an avenue for both local and international audience to participate in holistic wellness experiences amid the green and urban landscapes of Singapore.

Furthermore, it served as a lens, providing us with fresh perspectives on future innovations. Being a part of such events underscores our commitment to wellness and our relentless pursuit of reaching and impacting more lives through technology. This allows us to support the national agenda of building a healthy nation and contribute to Singapore’s ambition as an urban wellness destination.

The introduction of Merli Wellness Trails seems like a fascinating endeavor. Can you elaborate on how this innovation blends nature and technology to enhance the wellness experience for participants?

The inspiration for Merli Wellness Trails sprouted from games like Pokémon Go. We envisioned crafting Singapore’s own version, especially when our endearing mascot, Merli, seemed to resonate so well with the masses.

The experience we offer consists of three designed routes around Singapore’s gardens. These routes are punctuated with checkpoints and quizzes. As participants navigate these trails, they’re not only immersing themselves in nature but also engaging with wellness-related questions. It’s an interactive way to both learn and unwind. Plus, the added charm of collecting items like the Merli Pin further enhances the fun quotient.

Tiny Pets is an innovative addition to your portfolio. How do you envision this new offering, which involves collecting virtual local animals, contributing to making wellness more enjoyable and accessible for users?

Our overarching observation has been that while most recognize the significance of fitness, the act of exercising can often feel tedious. To address this, we’ve found that a blend of social engagement and gamification can motivate people to do things they might ordinarily find mundane.

We drew inspiration from the simple and wholesome act of dog-walking as a fitness activity. By making wellness more enjoyable and accessible for users, this allows us to highlight our innovative technology, offering our users a way to build wellness habits with a unique local twist. Through Tiny Pets, users can collect virtual animals as an added incentive. The future looks promising as we plan to introduce features that allow players to design their routes, create unique pets, and even foster new friendships.

42Technology’s philosophy centers around using technology to promote health and well-being. Could you provide some insights into how your apps achieve this balance between digital engagement and physical wellness?

At the heart of 42Technology lies the belief that technology is a powerful enabler. It offers unparalleled flexibility, fosters creativity, and bridges connections that might be challenging to forge in the physical realm.

Our approach is to continuously innovate and offer products that not only engage users digitally but also inspire them to take tangible actions in the real world. In doing so, we hope to play our part in making the world a happier and healthier place.

Looking ahead, what do you foresee as the future of fitness gamified apps and digital wellness initiatives? How does 42Technology plan to stay at the forefront of this evolving landscape?

The fitness technology sector is brimming with innovative companies like Garmin, Fitbit, Strava, Pokémon Go, Calm, and many more. But as impactful as these names are, their offerings remain somewhat niche for the broader population. Given the expansive market size and burgeoning awareness about health and wellness, I foresee a rapid and continuous evolution in this space.

As for 42Technology’s approach, we’re not necessarily chasing the title of being at the “forefront.” Instead, our goal is to craft products that resonate with us personally,or our clients/ users want to use. 

If our innovations end up leading the industry, we are fortunate to be the lucky ones.

Could you share any upcoming projects or developments that our readers can look forward to from 42Technology?

Certainly! On the B2B front, we’re gearing up to launch a white-label product. This is designed to offer integrated solutions for brands and organizations, enabling them to bolster their internal wellness programs or even cater to broader ESG-related initiatives.

For our consumer audience, the evolution of TinyPetsremains a primary focus. We’re pouring our energies into making it even more enjoyable and interactive.

Lastly, could you provide us with a glimpse into the core values that drive 42Technology’s team to continue innovating and positively impacting people’s lives?

At the heart of 42Technology lie three foundational values:

  1. Practicality
  2. Trust
  3. Daring to change
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