M’sian social running app with virtual marathon challenges


Author’s description: I have already tried several fitness apps, especially the Nike indoor strength training app and Zombies, Run! for running outdoors. Despite following the latter simulated zombie apocalypse podcasts, it never kept me motivated enough to run, because no one could hold me accountable if I cheated and just took a quick walk until the episode ended anyway.

Major sporting events are one of the industries that has been halted to stop the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, people became more health conscious and finally had more time to exercise thanks to the flexibility of WFH.

In addition to home training, running and jogging was one physical activity that was allowed outdoors. But it is usually a sport that after a while can become lonely and even boring.

With more runners eager for social interaction through sports, occupation and adoption in virtual tracks has reached its peak. Social running application, BiiB, so that an increase in their user base was recorded.

So we caught up with its co-founder and CEO, Sheyong Tan, to find out how they adjusted and engaged users during global locks.

Running as a team based activity

Since we are last conversation At BiiB 2017, the platform added more challenges to their application – which is the way they monetize – to boost team spirit and cross-border competition.

For example, their #RUNwithOLYMPIANS enabled people to support our national athletes at the Olympics. Here, teams could choose to apply to be joined by a mysterious Olympian in a marathon, and who exactly they will be will remain a secret until the end.

Another event is their Round Country series which started in 2019 in Malaysia. “It was a phenomenal year because we managed to record a record in the Malaysian Book of Records as the biggest virtual racing event in Malaysia,” Sheyong proudly shared.

Since then, he has been brought to Taiwan in 2020, where teams from Macau have also started to join.

The challenge basically works by creating a team from one community leader, and the members have to go the common distance to achieve the minimum goal set by the BiiB. The app is able to track your racing activities whether you are in the neighborhood, at the stadium or on the road.

Teammates can also meet and run together if they want (while practicing SOP) / Image Credit: BiiB

In the Singapore version (Round Singapore Challenge) that is currently underway, members must run along the coast of the island for a total of 10 rounds to achieve the lowest goal.

“For bigger or stronger teams, they can always continue to reach the gold level or even compete with other teams in the live rankings to be named one of the biggest teams in the region,” Sheyong explained.

Furthermore, BiiB extended this event to enable communities from Malaysia and Macao to join this challenge. Sheyong told us that this was one of their methods of encouraging friendly competition and cross-border cooperation that the pandemic forced to close.

“This is also part of our experiment to replicate our success in Malaysia to more active and developed nations like Singapore,” he said.

The Round Singapore Challenge initially aimed to board 2,500 participants, but has now recorded a total of 4,123 participants from 80 teams. “With the great results we have achieved so far in Singapore, we are now confident that we will move on to other countries as well,” Sheyong shared.

Cultivating team spirit forever

Some of the launchers of the application / Image for credit: BiiB’s Instagram

In addition to establishing friendly competition between SEA countries, BiiB has also worked with companies and NGOs to encourage employee involvement and raise funds for those in need.

Locally, LHDN used the platform to host its employee engagement program to promote health and fitness within their workforce while working remotely. Bukit Jalil Sports School also used BiiB to interact with its former students who could virtually team up based on years of graduation to run with their peers.

In addition, the teams used the Round Singapore Challenge to raise funds for people in need. One of their ongoing campaigns so far has raised over 2000 RM for a baby in need of reconstructive surgery grasping her skull and implants in her face due to a neurological condition.

“We hope more communities will do the same to make this event more effective,” Sheyong expressed.

Setting the path for an active and fulfilling lifestyle

Screenshots from the app / Screenshot: BiiB

Moving forward, BiiB’s team wants to organize more events that can cater to different groups of people. They include those who want to contribute to charity or those who want to run as a way to be active with a community that can motivate them.

The team is also working on creating a feature in their app that can help organizations easily create internal events to promote the active lifestyle of employees.

Sheyong hopes to make BiiB an app that will become the world’s largest digital running arena, where individuals can represent their communities in global challenges.

Networking will be one of the key reasons for this, and be a MaGIC alumni, BiiB was able to introduce other entrepreneurs to insights through various programs. They are currently involved in MaGICs A program adapted to the global market which helps startups expand and accelerate growth in other countries, an initiative that is in line with their plans to replicate their success in other countries.

Bottom line: With such a high emphasis on team spirit at BiiB, it will probably make me want to keep running, even when I’m doing it alone, because my data will be recorded in the app for all my teammates to see and call me if I’m cheated.

Editor update: Parts of this article have been updated to reflect greater accuracy of statements.

  • You can learn more about BiB here.
  • You can read about other Malaysian startups we have covered here.

Credits for featured paintings: Sheyong Tan, co-founder and CEO of BiiB

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