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These two Aussie university students are trying to improve the mental health of their peers with a gamified social app


When Monash University students, Anh and Maria, surveyed their peers about how they could improve student life on campus, they were struck by a recurring theme; academic pressure was consistently a key contributor to students’ diminishing mental health – so they’ve created an app to fix it.

The app, miniRabits, is a gamified habit-tracking social platform where students are incentivised with their own ‘mini rabbit’ that grows while reaching new levels, allowing students to receive real rewards that are redeemable on campus.

The 2019 Red Bull Basement University program is a collaborative, global activation that gives students from almost 30 countries the opportunity to challenge the status quo by coming up with innovative solutions to create a better student life.

The 2019 program saw over 1,400 ideas submitted across the world and through a voting and judging process, Red Bull Basement University selects the brightest ideas from student innovators and supports bringing those ideas to life.

What is the story behind miniRabits?

Anh Nguyen, who drew on her own experience as a student, noted discussions around mental health are on the rise and is especially prevalent to students – miniRabits attempts to ease the pressure of studying by mimicking instantaneous results that other distractions might provide.

Anh and Maria, co-founders miniRabits

“Maria and I were motivated to find a way to promote this new way of studying and found it’s through building mini-habits, hence the name miniRabits.”

“There are so many distractions out there as a young adult, particularly streaming platforms that encourage binge-watching content and as young adults, our brains are wired to fall for the instantaneously gratifying option. We procrastinate and leave the more important tasks for later, ignoring the stress we will face.

“We want to motivate students to prioritise studying by offering a reward system, plus, we realise that doing things with friends is more inspiring and will make the process of studying easier and more fun!”

Anh and Maria entered a six-week development phase to further evolve their idea with the support of designated international mentors and a dedicated team. During this phase, Red Bull also provided funding, international mentorship, networking opportunities, and well-equipped workspaces.

At the conclusion of the development phase, Anh and Maria joined students from 27 other countries at the Red Bull Basement University Global Workshop in Toronto, Canada, to attend a four-day event comprised of lectures, workshops and mentorship sessions, all leading up to a final pitching competition. The girls represented Australia at the global finals in mid-December and although didn’t win, learnt lots along the way.

Now in its second year, Red Bull Basement University is based on the fundamentals of sharing knowledge and empowering each other for the better and is supported by Melbourne University, RMIT University, Monash University, University of Queensland, University of Adelaide and Sydney School of Entrepreneurship.

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