Deals

Lift fattens up with funding to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions

Lift, the startup that aims to simplify self-improvement, has raised $2.5 million in funding to help people keep their resolutions.

San Francisco-based Lift makes an iPhone application that is to habit-making what Twitter is to communication: stupid simple. The three-month-old application offers people a rudimentary way to track goals such as flossing or eating veggies and uses social encouragement to keep folks coming back.

The mobile self-improvement system, already beloved by early backers Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Twitter fame, has attracted even more tech celebrity buy-in. The $2.5 million Series A round was led by Bijan Sabet at Spark Capital; he will join the company’s four-person board, which includes co-founders Tony Stubblebine Jon Crosby and Williams.

Sabet is a big get for the startup considering his previous role on Twitter’s board and his current Tumblr and Foursquare board positions. In his blog post on the investment, Sabet said he’s already hooked on the application’s “simple, positive, social” approach to turning goals into habits.

“The anecdotes that [Williams and Sabet] have together are amazing,” Stubblebine told VentureBeat in a recent chat, recounting stories exchanged at a pleasant first board meeting that left him excited about Lift’s increased potential.

With enough money in the bank for the next 18 months, Stubblebine said the Lift team is preparing for its next opportunity: New Year’s Eve. “All of my focus is on New Year’s resolutions,” he said.

The team has a sizable update planned for the app that is set to launch on — you guessed it — January 1, 2013. The pumped-up version will feature a facelift and major speed improvements alongside reminders functionality and more social juice.

Lift’s checkin-to-better-habits system also has the potential to act as a real-world litmus test for fad diets — super-marketer Tim Ferris’ “4-Hour Body” program, for instance. The startup monitored the habits of a few hundred people on the diet and surveyed participants after four weeks. The goal was to identify which habits matter the most in making the diet a success, and, of course, to determine whether or not the diet actually works. Ferris is an angel investor in Lift.

“Of the people that completed the diet, 84 percent lost weight, and the average weight loss was 8.5 pounds,” Stubblebine said.

Lift has raised $3.1 million in funding to date. The $2.5 million Series A round included participation from SV Angel, Adam Ludwin, Tony Robbins (yes, that Tony Robbins), David Allen, and Greg Yaitanes. Obvious Corp. participated in the round, as well.

Uplifting photo via Shutterstock