September 30, 2023

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Amanda Bender, founder of daily emotional fitness trainer for men Kilo app

Who are you and what business did you start?

Amanda Bender. I started Kilo app, a daily emotional fitness trainer for men.

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I have 20+ years experience working in psychology, neuroscience research and tech and my closest circle of friends for the majority of my life have been men. I realized that men unlike women are not socialized to monitor and reflect on qualitative data aka emotions, which leads to an outsized percentage of men experiencing burnout and committing suicide. Kilo is an entry point for men to build their emotional fitness daily.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I started Kilo in Jan 2020 before COVID created lock-downs. Thankfully remote work was something I had been doing since 2016. I had to talk to potential investors, team mates, other founders virtually and do all my networking on Slack and via webinars. Being curious and agile was key to starting Kilo. Also, starting a business during a global pandemic did make it slightly easier to talk about mental health.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Kilo launched its private beta in September and what has worked is talking about men’s mental health. We’ve just begun with our grass roots marketing efforts and hope that as we talk to more users, the word will spread. We are not retaining customers yet.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today we are onboarding more users, having cool conversations with them about what they want in a daily emotional fitness trainer in order for Kilo to get to a point where we launch an MVP. Kilo wants to help millions of men become more self aware and build their emotional fitness vocabulary so they can live their best lives. Also, we’d like to integrate with companies like Peleton, Tonal, or Mirror to bring an emotional fitness perspective to their athletes. And beyond that, maybe a VR integration. I don’t know what the future looks like but I know in my heart, we need a future where men are mentally healthier!

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

That “work” is in every part of my life. When I wake up around the same time each day, meditate, move my body and then go about the rest of my routine, I am “working”. All the small things I do throughout the day to take care of my own emotional fitness are helping me build a better company. I am not a founder who is bought into the “hustle” and “grind” culture. I spent 7 mo. this year living in a small town in Mexico practicing a slow productive life. There’s no rush. No one ever feels good in a rush or does her best work.

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What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Discord, Airtable, Notion, TikTok, LinkedIn, GoogleMeet and Zoom.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett
Dare To Lead – Brenee Brown
Why We Sleep – Matthew Walker
The Heart Aroused – David Whyte

Lex Fridman Podcast
How I Built This
The Knowledge Project Podcast
Joe Rogan

Waking Up App
Meditation Videos on YouTube

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Talk to a lot of people about your idea, take their feedback, and sit with it. The more you talk about it, the more likely you are to make it happen. Also, take it one day at a time. We don’t have a manual for life but we do have the ability to be curious. Ask for a lot of help and ask a lot of questions.

Where can we go to learn more? or