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This Innovative Startup Will Pay You to Wake Up (Yes, Really)

With this app, hitting that snooze button could cost you big.

woman sleeping with a phone next to her bed

You’re in the middle of a dream when you hear the faint sound of an alarm in the distance. You groan and roll over, shoving your head under the pillow. With one arm, you groggily locate your phone and press the snooze button, praying that you will be able to fall asleep for nine more minutes. 

An hour later, you bolt out of bed, pillow creases all over your cheeks. With no time to shower, make coffee, or perform your morning ablutions, you hastily grab a granola bar from the kitchen cabinet and run your fingers through your hair, hoping to fool people you’ve combed it. You are annoyed with yourself yet again. Why can’t you ever just wake up on time?

Maybe if there was some money on the line, you might be more inclined to do so?

How it works

Enter Paywake, the brainchild of two University of Southern California juniors. Users set the time they need to wake up and then have the option to make a deposit, which can range anywhere from $5 to $99. Once your alarm goes off, you have only three minutes to respond to the photo prompt on your screen. If you fail to take a picture of the required appliance or household object through the app, you lose your entire deposit. However, if you succeed, you are rewarded with a return on the investment you bet on yourself. 

The Paywake website has a nifty slider that allows users to play around with how much cash they can make the next day if they wake up on time. It varies depending on how much other users have deposited. For example, if you put in $5, you will get an average return of 39 cents, but if you put in $99, you could receive $106.91 in the morning! Funds are typically deposited into (or withdrawn from) your bank or Venmo account by noon.

The money comes from users who did not wake up on time. Ouch, what an incentive! Paywake keeps 15% of the money, but the rest is distributed among users who completed their wake-up challenge. Eventually, the founders would like to add a button that will allow successful users to donate their winnings.

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Special offers include a 2X Wake Up, which allows you to recoup double your initial investment if you complete the challenge the day following a missed wake-up time. Your data is protected, and none of the photos you take are saved by the app or in the cloud. Paywake has an extensive privacy policy guaranteeing that none of your data is sold to a third party. After the photos are verified by the image recognition artificial intelligence system, they are immediately deleted. 

A constant challenge

If you’re concerned that you will sleep through the alarm and photo challenge, then maybe that is some good motivation! After all, many companies have attempted to come up with creative solutions to get people out of bed. Walk Me Up makes users climb out of bed and reach a certain step count before it will stop playing the alarm. I Can’t Wake Up!:The All-in-One Alarm Clock App has mental and physical tasks that you have to complete, like solving math problems, playing memory games, and rewriting paragraphs. 

However, something just hits differently when you have some skin in the game. One of the Paywake founders realized this the hard way when he woke up too late to trade stocks and lost a good chunk of change. This gave him the idea in the first place.

So, if you are serious about accomplishing everything you need to get done during your busy day, consider participating in Paywake’s challenges. Who knows? It could be just the kick in the pants you need to stop fighting with your alarm once and for all.

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