Below the Winners Apple Store Awards 2022, Gentler Streak emerged as the Apple Watch App of the Year. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the app – designed for use with iPhone and Apple Watch – is an exercise and fitness tracker with a twist: a self-compassionate approach to exercise.
Softer Stripe is the first product from Gentler Stories, a Slovenia-based mobile app studio specializing in sustainable lifestyle solutions. The female-led company was founded in February 2021 by three Apple Entrepreneur Camp alumni and an alumnus of Y Combinator, a startup accelerator.
The app launched in September 2021, and although it’s been out for a little over a year, it’s steadily gaining popularity.
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Essentially, Gentler Streak is a fitness app, meaning it helps users track exercise activities, distance, heart rate zones, and activity stats, among other things.
But what’s really unique about it is the gentler approach that also focuses on recovery time.
Unlike, say, Apple’s Workouts app, rest days on Gentler Streak don’t break your workout strike. In fact, the purpose of the app is to promote healthy activity levels without pressure to compete with daily goals that don’t really reflect the body’s actual needs or daily circumstances (injury or illness, for example).
According to Research from the University of Galway, fitness apps can be a double-edged sword as some users can develop obsessive tendencies or maladaptive perceptions of exercise and burnout over the long term.
Gentler Streak aims to turn types of maladaptive fitness behaviors into viable lifelong habits.
To do that, it responds to the user’s individual fitness status and suggests optimal training levels through a personalized activity path. Users can also take advantage of the Go Gentler feature that monitors exercise intensity and alerts them to ramp up or slow down, taking rest and active recovery sessions into account.
Since its launch, the app is constantly being updated with some of the latest updates including social media sharing and the addition of the Spanish language.
In response to the app’s meteoric rise to success, Tom HenrikssonGeneral Partner at early stage European VC firm Open Ocean, commented, “Gentler Streak stems from a strong tradition of software startups from smaller European countries that punch above their weight.”
As he explained, this aligns with a broader trend in Eastern Europe, which has emerged “as a hotbed of tech innovation” — home to plenty of brilliant ideas and tech founders.
“Gentler Streak seems to have won the jury with its solution-oriented approach to development,” added Henriksson.
“Instead of beating bigger competitors on performance or design alone, the developers have created a highly rated Apple Watch fitness app that understands user readiness and strikes a nice balance between workout and rest.”
The application is downloadable for free in the App Store, but requires a subscription to take full advantage of it. The monthly premium price is $7.99 and the annual premium is $24.99.