Our Story

Aristotle is believed to have said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Though probably not a direct quote, I’m sure you get the point. The philosopher and scientist was also an advocate for the hard work of habit change. Makes you wonder, if he lived in today’s digital age, would he be asking: Can tech help drive good habits?

Though no Aristotles, when my college friend David Sand and I first mused about PIPs, this was our question too: Could we create a mobile platform that was sufficiently engaging to change our everyday actions, from the way we got to work or school to the container in which we carried our coffee?

Since we weren’t techies either, a colleague introduced us to Yaniv Eyny and Evan Sable, high-school-friends-turned-business-partners, whose expertise in behavioral science and technical know-how was just what we needed. By the end of our first meeting, they’d joined our team.

Fast forward to today, and the PIPs App, a flexible and data-driven digital platform available on both iPhone and Android, is being deployed by universities and other enterprises to motivate, verify, and reward engagement in everyday good habits from biking, walking, and taking a fitness class to refilling water bottles, recycling, and volunteering. The PIPs App uses the three Rs of behavior change — repetition, reward, and reinforcement — plus a splash of surprise and delight to turn “good” habits into “gold” rewards, including scholarships.

Consider Michelle, a recent graduate of CU Boulder who in early 2019 said, “I learned to bike so I could earn enough PIPs for a PIPs scholarship.” In the 2019-20 academic year, thousands of students like Michelle:

  • Took over a half-million actions tracked and recorded by the platform,
  • Earned millions of PIPs which they exchanged for about $40,000 in scholarships and $75,000 in gift cards for food, clothing, and other essentials,
  • Saved 400,000 lbs in carbon emissions, the equivalent of planting over 8,000 trees.

Even after campuses shut in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, students were able to continue earning and redeeming PIPs. Indeed, the mobile PIPs App is perfectly suited for a hybrid model of both online and in-person classes. It helps students (or employees) feel connected and supported wherever they are. Click here to learn more about the PIPs for School program that we offer to higher ed institutions.

So what exactly is a “PIP?” By almost every common definition, a “pip” is a very small thing — an apple seed, the dots on dominoes, the stars on uniforms that an officer earns, the blip on a radar screen… Believe it or not, a pip is even a tiny percent of a percent. Blended together, these meanings add up to the very big idea of PIPs: That a small “currency of good” (a “positive Impact Point” or “PIP” that’s worth a penny) can be earned for game-like engagement in certain daily life behaviors such as riding the bus, biking, and volunteering, that, while small in the scheme of things, can unlock great benefits, including scholarships and gift cards for healthy food and other essentials. With research showing food insecurity on the rise among university students and as little as $1,000 in debt driving students to drop out, food and tuition credits made possible through PIPs offer students a means to stay on the path to success, all while improving one’s health, the community, and the planet. Now that’s a big idea.

Want to join in supporting PIPs’ cycle of good? Make a donation to the PIPs Education Fund, the non-profit umbrella organization that is home to the PIPs Rewards LLC, and support students who use their PIPs to unlock scholarships.

Keep on PIP’n,

Wendy Gordon
Co-Founder and President
PIPs Rewards LLC