By Imogen Whale, Special to the Review
With over a million users signed up, a recently launched and flourishing ‘pro’ component, Revelstoke-based Cronometer is set to take the online nutrition tracking apps by storm.
The brainchild of Aaron Davidson, Cronometer is a personal app for tracking fitness, health, nutrition and dietary information. It has been on the go for several years, though as a pet project rather than a main focus until recently.
After attending the University of Alberta to obtain an undergraduate and then subsequent master’s degree in computer science, Davidson spent four years working in Ireland for a large online poker company.
“In my down time I tinkered with the Cronometer as a hobby project,” he told me. “I have a nerdy fascination with nutrition and all of the details involved in nutrition. I wrote Cronometer for myself.
“In 2011 I decided to launch it, and then didn’t do much other than maintain it.”
After moving back to Canada, Davidson settled in Canmore and worked for various Seattle based tech start-ups. Over the next few years, Cronometer began to grow on its own. In the fall of 2016, Davidson and his partner moved from Canmore to Revelstoke.
“We were looking to buy a home and have a family, and it wasn’t feasible in Canmore,” Davidson says. “We’ve always really loved Revelstoke and I have family here.”
By early 2017, Cronometer’s booming popularity resulted in it becoming Davidson’s full time job.
Davidson is most proud of Cronometer’s massive nutritional database, which allows users to more efficiently track their health. It works in tandem with existing Fitbits and other health trackers, incorporating the data into its system. Creating an account on the website is free and the app costs $2.99 and is available for all devices.
“Knowledge is power,” Davidson says, “and it’s hard to unlearn what you learn on the app as far as what you are putting into your body. It really promotes health changes.”
While there are other more popular nutritional tracking apps, they are usually very simplistic calorie counters. Cronometer is more complex but, Davidson hopes, equally user friendly.
While created for athletes or those interested in nutrition, the Cronometer is able to track any measurable data and has become an excellent health tool for individuals with chronic health concerns like diabetes. “You can input results from blood tests, blood glucose levels or cholesterol and then plot it against what you’ve been eating and your exercise habits,” Davidson says.
This past December, Cronometer released a ‘pro’ option. Initially created with fitness coaches in mind, the pro app allows professionals to manage their clients by checking in on what clients are eating or how much they are exercising. In turn, this allows coaches to offer feedback, create targets and send recipes.
However, the pro app has been embraced by all levels in the healthcare sector, says Davidson.
“In children’s hospitals, we have pediatric dietitians using the pro app to create therapeutic food plans for their patients and then track the relevant data.” he explains.
Davidson works productively from a home office, which he refers to as his ‘cave’ with a laugh. “I’m pretty introverted and can put my head down and get work done, so working from home is fine,” he says. “When I want to interact with people, I head to a coffee shop or the Co-lab.”
With plans to start a local office for Cronometer this summer, Davidson has seen growth of 60-80 per cent a year, recently hired a nutritional scientist, and is currently in the process of hiring a designer and a nutritional data analyst. “We’re investing heavily,” he says. “I plan to have the biggest, best nutritional database on the planet.”
With a baby on the way and his work booming, Davidson plans to keep himself, and his company, in Revelstoke.
“Revelstoke offered such a warm welcome,” Davidson says. “From others who work in the same or complementary industries to those who run technology initiatives in town. It’s been really great.”
Check out Cronometer at cronometer.com