Steppen · Jake Carp, Cara Davies, Dave Slutzkin

Steppen is a Gen Z fitness app using behavioural science and habit formation research to help young people build a healthy habit around fitness.

October 24, 2022
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  • Steppen
  • Founders - Jake Carp, Cara Davies, Dave Slutzkin
  • Based in Melbourne
  • Started in 2021
  • 3 founders, 6 employees

Jake, Cara & Dave, what's your backstory?

Before Steppen

  • Cara (23) was studying a double degree of software engineering and psychology at Monash university. She was very active in the university community, completing an internship with her psychology professor and running a mentorship program for first year engineering students. 
  • Jake (22) was studying commerce at Melbourne university and had his sights set on being an investment banker. He set up an investment fund society called SIIF at university which collects funding from financial institutions to invest in the stock market, distributing 100% of all capital gains and dividends to charity. 
  • Cara and Jake went to school together and even were in the same kindy class!
  • Meanwhile Dave (40) is well known around the tech scene of Australia. He has worked at some of Australia’s first and most well known tech companies such as Stax, Vercent and Flippr. 

Tell us what your company does?

Steppen is a Gen Z fitness app utilising behavioural science and habit formation research to help young people build a healthy habit around fitness. Fitness is intimidating, confusing, expensive and generic and there are no viable solutions in the market which account for Gen Z behavioural trends, despite Gen Z being the largest generation on earth. Young people are completely lost, unsure what path to take to reach their fitness goal, struggling with motivation, consistency and guidance - Steppen solves this for them.

How did you come up with the idea?

Cara used to go to the gym feeling completely lost and confused. When she looked around at alternatives for her to workout — none were built for purpose or for her generation (Gen Z). We know from surveying our users that the most used app when working out was Spotify, then a simple phone timer.

In a similar vein, Jake used to play AFL growing up. But as a small kid, he was told he was no longer allowed to play after getting hit in the head too many times. This prompted his desire to get bigger and stronger in the gym. However the experience was extremely daunting, difficult and expensive. We knew there had to be a better way.

Existing fitness apps fail to:

  • Approach fitness is a fun way
  • Lean into the existing trends of bite sized sessions (popularised by Duolingo & BeReal)
  • Speak to Gen Zers
  • See fitness and health like Gen Z'ers do

Cara realised after talking to other young adults - there was obviously a huge gap in the market. This is where Steppen steps in, pun intended ;)

How did you go about building and launching the business?

To start with we talked to lots of young people to try to really understand the exact problem faced when people go to workout. Once we felt we had validated the problem - people have no idea how to work out and existing solutions do not cater for Gen Z, it was time to build a  MVP (Minimal Viable Product).

We engaged a development agency in Brisbane to build our initial viable product. The aim of the MVP was to get something out to the public as quickly as possible so we could have data to better understand how users would actually engage with Steppen. 

The quicker you can get your product into the hands of users the better. We did not expect the MVP to be perfect (it was really far from that…) rather it served as a starting point. 15 months later not a single line of code still exists from our MVP.

How have you grown the business?

We are lucky to have Jake the TikTok marketing king. Jake has been incredible at using mostly Tiktok to propel Steppen to over 325,000 downloads. You can read up a bit about how we went about marketing and growth in this article and this one.

What's your biggest selling product/service?

Our app has been downloaded over 325,000 times worldwide! You can download it on the iOS app store.

What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?

We recently had a huge fail. We pivoted our business to focus on tooling for content creators, as we began exploring how to monetise our product offering. For this pivot to work 6 key assumptions had to hold true. We realised very quickly that 2 of the assumptions would not be possible and therefore our entire creator strategy was undermined - our entire business was undermined. We freaked out. 

The key lessons were:

  • Write out the assumptions that underpin your business
  • Try prove/disprove them as quickly as possible - be scrappy about it
  • If they are true - double down
  • If they are not true - get to that conclusion ASAP so you can adjust your business to something viable

What's next for you and your business?

We have returned to our roots focusing on our users. We are really excited about incorporating the latest in research around behavioural science into Steppen. We are in the process of redesigning our app to use research around habit formation. The newly designed step will move our users through the habit loop, popularised by James Clear, to help them build habits around working out. We will be focusing on developing a habit in our users to perform bite sized daily fitness activities and will incorporate Gen Z behavioural trends with how we motivate them and display their progress.

What digital tools do you use regularly?

We use the following tools for work:

What books have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?

Zero To One by Peter Thiel
Get it on Amazon

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Get it on Amazon

Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Get it on Amazon

Atomic Habits by James Clear
Get it on Amazon

Bad Blood (what not to do as a founder) by John Carreyrou
Get it on Amazon

Any podcast/websites that help you run your business?

How I Built This Was Guy Raz

Masters of Scale With Reid Hoffman

Any quotes you live by?

"Easily provoked, easily controlled."

What do you love and hate about being a founder?


  • Control, you get to decide what you work on
  • Inspiring, you get to be working on something that you love everyday
  • Impact, if you want something to happen it will 
  • Learning, you get to (and need to) learn a lot really quickly


  • Rollercoaster (this is a love to hate ahah), start ups can be really up and down and it’s important to be able to ride every high or low with a level head

What do you do to look after your mental health as a founder?


In a few words, sum up what it means to be the founder of a business

"You get to work on a problem you are passionate about everyday and have clear tangible impact on your team and users/customers. Doing what we love, every single day!"

What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?

"Just do it! The hardest part is getting started!! No body really knows what they are doing - a well kept secret amongst founders!"

Where can people find out more about your business? 

Download app



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