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Optimity purchased Carrot Rewards last month and now wants to relaunch the health app, which shut down in June 2019 after running out of money. (The Canadian Press)

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Talking point: This is a turnaround for Carrot, which unsuccessfully sought a $20-million sale, but ended up shutting down while owing over $2 million to Cineplex and Scotiabank’s Scene loyalty program. The firm operated a free app that offered reward points with loyalty providers like Scene and Aeroplan (which cut Carrot in May 2019) for users who met health goals. Carrot’s success was largely subsidized by millions in government funding, but Optimity is looking for a new business model that makes the firm “completely sustainable forever.” So far, over 56,000 people have signed up for the waitlist, and while Optimity doesn’t have a date for the app’s relaunch, it’s already talking about expanding Carrot globally. Carrot has tried that before—it had a short-lived partnership with Public Health England last year.

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The Toronto-based wellness app was selected from over global 500 submissions for the 2019 Edge of Government Award at the World Government Summit in Dubai. Carrot uses nudge theory to motivate healthy behaviour—like walking and taking quizzes that test your knowledge on nutrition, for example—by offering incentives like Aeroplan Miles, Scene points, Petro-Points and RBC Rewards. The app was developed with the federal government, in partnership with public agencies like SickKids, BC Cancer Agency and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. (BetaKit)

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Talking point: Coupling nudge technology with loyalty programs is an easy way to incentivize better habits. A 2015 Yahoo study found that most Canadians have four loyalty rewards cards on average, and 40 per cent of card-holders will spend more in stores or on brands that have associated loyalty cards. Carrot—which says it’s been downloaded one million times—has reportedly helped the Public Health Agency of Canada increase physical activity of people using the app by 34 per cent. A report from the Conference Board of Canada estimated that if 10 per cent of Canadians who currently sedentary became more active, the healthcare system would save $2.6 billion by 2040 and boost Canada’s GDP by $1.6 billion.