Sam: So then how did the concept for KAYA come about? And how did you take it from an idea to the polished app that we see today?
Kim: Well honestly, I think most climbers have had the thought at one point— - like why is there not a great app for us? We love tracking, climbers are pretty data and metrics driven, we love beta…it just makes sense. But the exact concept for KAYA was born out of this meeting of the minds between routesetters and climbers. Our Chief Technology Officer, Mark Bourguignon, was an engineer by day and routesetter by night at the Seattle Bouldering Project, where he built out this amazing route- setting software which helps setters go from planning the set and tracking all of the information about the climbs that are available in the gym. That helps manage the routesetting flow, but the magic is also in connecting that to climbers. That’s where the climber’s app and our CEO, Austin, comes in. He was working on an app for climbers for a little while, got connected to Marc through one of our engineers, Bryan Boyko, and all of it started to come together.
In all our partner gyms, climbers can get a complete view of their gym and every climb within it, find out who set it, and even things like the movement style of the climb. They tick those climbs and provide feedback to the setters and the gym, too. It’s this combination that made for a complete platform for climbing gyms and climbers, and that’s our foundation. Somehow Austin convinced a few gyms to let us beta test and refine the platform, and now we are in over 100 gyms!
Behind the scenes, our CPO, David Gurman, and our stellar design team have been creating a KAYA 2.0 that is a complete level up—with a whole new look and feel and feature set. We can’t wait to launch it this September!
Sam: There are tons of great features in the app. Which features are users engaging with most often?
Kim: We're always looking at this and examining as we release new features. First and foremost, the core of the app is logging your climbs, which people are pretty wild about. Folks log about 8,000 climbs per week, and that’s in our COVID context with lots of gyms closed. Beyond that I would say beta videos are one thing that people definitely love within KAYA. It allows users to watch other users climb and learn from their movement, style, and creativity. It's one of the most interesting things about climbing and gets our users inspired by how other people approach problems and how they work beta that's relevant to them. For example, I'm 5’0”, so I love watching other shorties climb and see how they get around what are typical stumbling blocks for shorties.
We also have community Challenges within the app, which are a huge source of engagement because climbers, it turns out, love to compete. And we have some awesome Challenges coming up soon. I can’t give it all away but this fall things are going to get very exciting.