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features

Ageing: Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves

Published in Fit Tech 2023 issue 1

Tell us about Humanity
Peter: Ageing is the leading cause of disease, and most people feel helpless to tackle it. We created Humanity as a solution to this, allowing users to monitor their Rate of Ageing, and even reverse it.

When users sign up, they will discover their initial Rate of Ageing based on the onboarding experience, which pulls activity data from Apple Health and asks a series of lifestyle questions based on a scientifically validated longitudinal study of over 230,000 people.

We then calculate Biological Age and continually update Rate of Ageing based on 90 days worth of data, which is taken from an Accelerometer Sensor in the iPhone and Heart Rate data from wearables.

Every positive action a user takes or tracks in the app helps boost their ‘H Score’ (Humanity Score) – the higher your ‘H Score’, the slower your rate of ageing.

The app offers hints and prompts to help users maintain a positive lifestyle, and our collective intelligence allows users to discover what’s working best for them by comparing this to others like them. The advice we offer is founded on the collective data of users who are successfully reducing their rate of ageing to provide a scientifically validated prediction every 24 hours, which increases in accuracy over time.

What are your career backgrounds?
Peter: Both Michael and I have collectively helped build consumer tech platforms that have reached over 1 billion users. Personally, my background started in travel. After exploring the world for a year, I launched WAYN (Where Are You Now?) – a travel social network – in my spare time whilst I was working at Accenture.

WAYN grew incredibly quickly, reaching over 25 million users, and was eventually sold to lastminute.com. I’ve also co-founded a tech-entrepreneur network called ICE, which aims to forge deep connections among founders, investors and tech-ecosystem leaders. Now, I’m focused full time on launching and growing Humanity in my role as CEO, helping people live longer, healthier lives.

Michael: Pete actually convinced me to join the WAYN team as COO, so we’ve been working together for many years, which means we have a really clear understanding of each other’s strengths. Prior to this, I was on the founding team of one of the largest dating sites in the world – Badoo – and helped the business reach 70m users.

After leaving, I decided I really wanted to do something impactful, and started exploring preventive health and cancer. Having both exited our previous companies, Pete and I decided to work together again, this time on something that we felt could change the world on a global scale, providing people with longer, healthier lives. We founded Humanity in April 2019 to do just that.

How did you come up with the idea?
Michael: Not only did we love working together previously, but we also had great successes in doing so. We actually hatched the idea for Humanity over a few pints of Guinness at a Web Summit in Dublin. After discussing how we’d both lost loved ones to chronic disease, we wanted to stop feeling helpless and start to empower millions of people around the world to protect themselves against age-related disease. Humanity was born from this ambition and we started working on the business full time, from 1st April 2019.

Tell us more about the science
Michael: The ageing models that measure your Rate of Ageing (or biological age acceleration) and Biological Age, are based on the most cutting-edge scientifically-validated models available.

We’ve partnered up with Gero.ai and incorporated their digital biomarker algorithm into our Composite Humanity model. The Gero model takes in the users’ accelerometer data from their smartphone (and heart rate data from any Apple Health connected wearables they have) and compares that to over 100,000 real people in the UK Biobank and the US CDC’s NHANES dataset to better predict the future health of our users.

There’s a growing body of research that has established the fact that people’s bodies age differently, as a direct result of their lifestyle and environmental factors, and that it can be slowed or reversed.

Are you using any exciting tech?
Michael: We’re building the world’s first health graph, connecting what actions are working for people when it comes to slowing their aging – based on what’s working for people like them.

On the data science side, we’ve developed a machine learning, engineering framework with 55 AI engineers, in partnership with Omdena.

This is being further developed by our in-house machine learning team and chief science officer, using causal inference and propensity scoring, to better understand the optimal health path for each individual, based on what’s working for other people like them, to slow their aging.

Do you think putting the focus on ageing will change the way people feel about tracking their health?
Peter: Not only is ageing the leading cause of disease, but until now, there has never been a good way to measure it, and most people feel helpless to prevent it. Despite this, it is one of the most holistic markers of overall health. By understanding what actions help to slow, or reverse aging, we can all reduce our risk of disease and death, and ultimately live longer, healthier lives.

Most apps track very specific activity, such as calories burned or steps taken, which give a micro-level perspective of a person’s health on any specific day. Humanity aims to show the whole picture and how all these positive steps contribute to a fuller understanding of health and how it’s related to ageing.

At scale, this will reduce the suffering of millions of people and contribute trillions of dollars of impact on the global economy, freeing up healthcare systems to focus more on prevention than sick care.

How much funding have you raised?
Michael: We’re incredibly fortunate to have received US$2.5m seed funding in an oversubscribed round back in March 2020 and to have the support of some incredible investors, from businesses we truly admire and respect in the health-tech industry. These include the co-founders of Calm, MyFitnessPal, Soundcloud and Esther Dyson, as well as leading funds in the US and Europe.

What feedback have you had from the early adopters?
Peter: Overall, the feedback has been unanimously positive.

We believe Humanity is getting such great feedback because it gives a full picture of health in a really simple way, along with clear advice and functionality that help people to make small changes that will ultimately reduce their rate of ageing.

We think this positive response is in part because people had become so used to analysing their health on a micro level, it becomes a little fragmented and granular. For others, that level of detail had become intimidating and Humanity fixes those issues.

How long do you expect users to stick with the app?
Peter: The daily Humanity score gives users a real-time understanding of how well their day is progressing, with personalised real-time guidance on what actions are most likely to be effective, based on the other actions already done that day. Users can then compare progress with others on a weekly and monthly basis.

They’ll soon be able to do this with their friends and family too, so they can keep each other accountable and add an element of healthy competition.

We’ve worked hard to distill the complexity of ageing and what actions people can take to slow it down, into a highly engaging and simple interface that encourages people to take action and improve their health. Based on the feedback thus far, it seems we’re on the right track!

Does the app give more accurate feedback if the user has a wearable?
Michael: The app monitors four key areas attributed to health: movement, mind, nutrition and recovery. Most of this data is pulled from Apple Health and is based on a smartphone or wearable, so having a compatible wearable will give a more accurate reading. However, data can be inputted manually by the user – such as daily mood, workouts (if not tracked) or sleep (if not tracked), and more additions will come in the future.

Activity is analysed every 24 hours and the Rate of Ageing and Biological Age predictions are based on the last 90 days of data. The beauty of this is that the more data that is collected, the more accurate it becomes, which in turn encourages more positive changes, meaning users can actually see the results of their hard work, as their age starts to reverse.

You also offer genetic testing. Can you tell us about this?
We’re testing the incorporating of other ageing models, based on blood and genetic data, having partnered with Chronomics, Eurofins and Illumina, to help analyse our DNA methylation markers, and we have developed our own clinical blood biomarker model, based on well established studies of which blood markers, in combination, can predict biological ageing.

What’s the payment structure?
Peter: It was really important to us that the app remains completely free, so anyone can effectively monitor their rate of ageing. We plan to offer additional in-app subscriptions and once we launch that will make the data even more accurate and enable a more holistic view of health.

Why is now the perfect time to launch?
Peter: We’ve all lost a part of our life to the pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones as well and it’s forced us to look at our health and mortality in a totally new light. It’s also brought to light how fragile the world’s healthcare systems can be, and there are now backlogs of people waiting for care for totally preventable diseases.

There’s clearly a need for new products that give people the whole picture of their health, and empower them to live a more resilient life. Although this has been a dark time, we hope it has a positive impact as people harness everything available to them to better inform themselves about their own health, and the role that ageing plays in this. We at Humanity plan to have a major role in this evolving world and we can’t wait for people to experience the app.

How do you predict health technology will impact ageing in the future?
Michael: There’s been a huge growth in digital health, AI, monitoring, wearables, quantified self and biohacking, as well as an increased interest in controlling one’s own health and maximising healthspan, but most of these are really only used by a niche group of engaged users, and they each monitor a specific health factor. Right now, there really is no good way of monitoring ageing.

We envisage Humanity playing a key role in making this way of monitoring health much more accessible to the mainstream consumer. Things such as blood marker tests and genotyping are becoming increasingly affordable to the masses and have been cited in clinical trials and scientific papers as the most advanced way to measure ageing.

What’s more, many of these processes are becoming less invasive. Over the coming years, we see health tech moving away from a niche audience of biohackers and into the mainstream, with everyone able to monitor the impact of their lifestyle on their biological age at a micro and macro level.

What are your goals for the app?
Peter: We plan to be the leading app for slowing your aging, in the same way that Calm is the leading app for meditation.

The bigger picture for us is using tech to enable everyone to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
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Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
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The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
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When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
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Funxtion, the leading B2B digital fitness content SaaS platform company, and CycleMasters, the best in direct-to-consumer indoor virtual cycling experiences, are joining forces to help gym operators elevate their member experience.
The internationally-recognised sporting goods exhibition Sports and Fitness Taiwan (TaiSPO) will return on 22-25 March 2023. The event will be held at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 2 (TaiNEX 2) and feature a full range of sporting goods, fitness equipment, sports technology, and workout services for all ages.
Panatta is an historical fitness brand displaying one of the widest range of products in ...
Funxtion is the only independent B2B company that offers a full ecosystem of customizable digital ...
Pyramids Centre enhanced thanks to Technogym, BH Live & Portsmouth City Council
Technogym
H Live has grown rapidly since 2010, operating leisure sites, sports and entertainment venues across Dorset, Hampshire and London. Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
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trade associations
Management software
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features

Ageing: Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves

Published in Fit Tech 2023 issue 1

Tell us about Humanity
Peter: Ageing is the leading cause of disease, and most people feel helpless to tackle it. We created Humanity as a solution to this, allowing users to monitor their Rate of Ageing, and even reverse it.

When users sign up, they will discover their initial Rate of Ageing based on the onboarding experience, which pulls activity data from Apple Health and asks a series of lifestyle questions based on a scientifically validated longitudinal study of over 230,000 people.

We then calculate Biological Age and continually update Rate of Ageing based on 90 days worth of data, which is taken from an Accelerometer Sensor in the iPhone and Heart Rate data from wearables.

Every positive action a user takes or tracks in the app helps boost their ‘H Score’ (Humanity Score) – the higher your ‘H Score’, the slower your rate of ageing.

The app offers hints and prompts to help users maintain a positive lifestyle, and our collective intelligence allows users to discover what’s working best for them by comparing this to others like them. The advice we offer is founded on the collective data of users who are successfully reducing their rate of ageing to provide a scientifically validated prediction every 24 hours, which increases in accuracy over time.

What are your career backgrounds?
Peter: Both Michael and I have collectively helped build consumer tech platforms that have reached over 1 billion users. Personally, my background started in travel. After exploring the world for a year, I launched WAYN (Where Are You Now?) – a travel social network – in my spare time whilst I was working at Accenture.

WAYN grew incredibly quickly, reaching over 25 million users, and was eventually sold to lastminute.com. I’ve also co-founded a tech-entrepreneur network called ICE, which aims to forge deep connections among founders, investors and tech-ecosystem leaders. Now, I’m focused full time on launching and growing Humanity in my role as CEO, helping people live longer, healthier lives.

Michael: Pete actually convinced me to join the WAYN team as COO, so we’ve been working together for many years, which means we have a really clear understanding of each other’s strengths. Prior to this, I was on the founding team of one of the largest dating sites in the world – Badoo – and helped the business reach 70m users.

After leaving, I decided I really wanted to do something impactful, and started exploring preventive health and cancer. Having both exited our previous companies, Pete and I decided to work together again, this time on something that we felt could change the world on a global scale, providing people with longer, healthier lives. We founded Humanity in April 2019 to do just that.

How did you come up with the idea?
Michael: Not only did we love working together previously, but we also had great successes in doing so. We actually hatched the idea for Humanity over a few pints of Guinness at a Web Summit in Dublin. After discussing how we’d both lost loved ones to chronic disease, we wanted to stop feeling helpless and start to empower millions of people around the world to protect themselves against age-related disease. Humanity was born from this ambition and we started working on the business full time, from 1st April 2019.

Tell us more about the science
Michael: The ageing models that measure your Rate of Ageing (or biological age acceleration) and Biological Age, are based on the most cutting-edge scientifically-validated models available.

We’ve partnered up with Gero.ai and incorporated their digital biomarker algorithm into our Composite Humanity model. The Gero model takes in the users’ accelerometer data from their smartphone (and heart rate data from any Apple Health connected wearables they have) and compares that to over 100,000 real people in the UK Biobank and the US CDC’s NHANES dataset to better predict the future health of our users.

There’s a growing body of research that has established the fact that people’s bodies age differently, as a direct result of their lifestyle and environmental factors, and that it can be slowed or reversed.

Are you using any exciting tech?
Michael: We’re building the world’s first health graph, connecting what actions are working for people when it comes to slowing their aging – based on what’s working for people like them.

On the data science side, we’ve developed a machine learning, engineering framework with 55 AI engineers, in partnership with Omdena.

This is being further developed by our in-house machine learning team and chief science officer, using causal inference and propensity scoring, to better understand the optimal health path for each individual, based on what’s working for other people like them, to slow their aging.

Do you think putting the focus on ageing will change the way people feel about tracking their health?
Peter: Not only is ageing the leading cause of disease, but until now, there has never been a good way to measure it, and most people feel helpless to prevent it. Despite this, it is one of the most holistic markers of overall health. By understanding what actions help to slow, or reverse aging, we can all reduce our risk of disease and death, and ultimately live longer, healthier lives.

Most apps track very specific activity, such as calories burned or steps taken, which give a micro-level perspective of a person’s health on any specific day. Humanity aims to show the whole picture and how all these positive steps contribute to a fuller understanding of health and how it’s related to ageing.

At scale, this will reduce the suffering of millions of people and contribute trillions of dollars of impact on the global economy, freeing up healthcare systems to focus more on prevention than sick care.

How much funding have you raised?
Michael: We’re incredibly fortunate to have received US$2.5m seed funding in an oversubscribed round back in March 2020 and to have the support of some incredible investors, from businesses we truly admire and respect in the health-tech industry. These include the co-founders of Calm, MyFitnessPal, Soundcloud and Esther Dyson, as well as leading funds in the US and Europe.

What feedback have you had from the early adopters?
Peter: Overall, the feedback has been unanimously positive.

We believe Humanity is getting such great feedback because it gives a full picture of health in a really simple way, along with clear advice and functionality that help people to make small changes that will ultimately reduce their rate of ageing.

We think this positive response is in part because people had become so used to analysing their health on a micro level, it becomes a little fragmented and granular. For others, that level of detail had become intimidating and Humanity fixes those issues.

How long do you expect users to stick with the app?
Peter: The daily Humanity score gives users a real-time understanding of how well their day is progressing, with personalised real-time guidance on what actions are most likely to be effective, based on the other actions already done that day. Users can then compare progress with others on a weekly and monthly basis.

They’ll soon be able to do this with their friends and family too, so they can keep each other accountable and add an element of healthy competition.

We’ve worked hard to distill the complexity of ageing and what actions people can take to slow it down, into a highly engaging and simple interface that encourages people to take action and improve their health. Based on the feedback thus far, it seems we’re on the right track!

Does the app give more accurate feedback if the user has a wearable?
Michael: The app monitors four key areas attributed to health: movement, mind, nutrition and recovery. Most of this data is pulled from Apple Health and is based on a smartphone or wearable, so having a compatible wearable will give a more accurate reading. However, data can be inputted manually by the user – such as daily mood, workouts (if not tracked) or sleep (if not tracked), and more additions will come in the future.

Activity is analysed every 24 hours and the Rate of Ageing and Biological Age predictions are based on the last 90 days of data. The beauty of this is that the more data that is collected, the more accurate it becomes, which in turn encourages more positive changes, meaning users can actually see the results of their hard work, as their age starts to reverse.

You also offer genetic testing. Can you tell us about this?
We’re testing the incorporating of other ageing models, based on blood and genetic data, having partnered with Chronomics, Eurofins and Illumina, to help analyse our DNA methylation markers, and we have developed our own clinical blood biomarker model, based on well established studies of which blood markers, in combination, can predict biological ageing.

What’s the payment structure?
Peter: It was really important to us that the app remains completely free, so anyone can effectively monitor their rate of ageing. We plan to offer additional in-app subscriptions and once we launch that will make the data even more accurate and enable a more holistic view of health.

Why is now the perfect time to launch?
Peter: We’ve all lost a part of our life to the pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones as well and it’s forced us to look at our health and mortality in a totally new light. It’s also brought to light how fragile the world’s healthcare systems can be, and there are now backlogs of people waiting for care for totally preventable diseases.

There’s clearly a need for new products that give people the whole picture of their health, and empower them to live a more resilient life. Although this has been a dark time, we hope it has a positive impact as people harness everything available to them to better inform themselves about their own health, and the role that ageing plays in this. We at Humanity plan to have a major role in this evolving world and we can’t wait for people to experience the app.

How do you predict health technology will impact ageing in the future?
Michael: There’s been a huge growth in digital health, AI, monitoring, wearables, quantified self and biohacking, as well as an increased interest in controlling one’s own health and maximising healthspan, but most of these are really only used by a niche group of engaged users, and they each monitor a specific health factor. Right now, there really is no good way of monitoring ageing.

We envisage Humanity playing a key role in making this way of monitoring health much more accessible to the mainstream consumer. Things such as blood marker tests and genotyping are becoming increasingly affordable to the masses and have been cited in clinical trials and scientific papers as the most advanced way to measure ageing.

What’s more, many of these processes are becoming less invasive. Over the coming years, we see health tech moving away from a niche audience of biohackers and into the mainstream, with everyone able to monitor the impact of their lifestyle on their biological age at a micro and macro level.

What are your goals for the app?
Peter: We plan to be the leading app for slowing your aging, in the same way that Calm is the leading app for meditation.

The bigger picture for us is using tech to enable everyone to live longer and healthier lives than previous generations.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Alexa can help you book classes, check trainers’ bios and schedules, find out opening times, and a host of other information
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

Our results showed a greater than 60 per cent reduction in falls for individuals who actively participated in Bold’s programme
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

35 million people a week participate in strength training. We want Brawn to help this audience achieve their goals
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features