ukactive recently unveiled the latest cohort of young fit-tech businesses to join the ActiveLab programme. I was involved as a mentor in last year’s ActiveLab programe, so I decided to take a quick look at this year’s contenders.
Although ActiveLab is billed as an accelerator programme for the Fit-Tech sector, in truth this year’s cohort goes wider than that, including several businesses that use technology to provide innovative solutions to general healthcare challenges.
A neat idea designed to make indoor exercise more enjoyable and engaging, for the elderly or others who can’t get outside for a cycle/run/walk. It hooks up an existing piece of exercise equipment to Google Maps, allowing the user to virtually explore the outside world from their home (a bit like a very simplified version of Zwift).
I like this – it’s a simple idea, aimed at an audience that is too often ignored by the fit-tech industry. The brand and digital presence needs some work, and I don’t know what the commercial model would look like, but definitely a neat idea.
As a father of three I know there is no shortage of advice and content out there for expectant and new parents. This app aims to bring all of that together, with an emphasis on helping “moms” to stay healthy and active through pregnancy and beyond, including fitness, nutrition, lifestyle guidance, meditation podcasts and more.
This is a business that’s been around for a couple of years and it’s a very slick looking app with great reviews, and it looks like it stays on the right side of keeping mums healthy without promoting an unrealistic post-natal body image. I can really see the benefit of having all of this content in the right place, although some might hesitate to pay the £6.49 per month for the premium version. Also, what about dad?!
Tinder for sports teams? Not quite, but this app does aim to take the pain out of finding players for sports teams, helping to hook up team organisers with people looking for a game.
It feels like this idea has been out there a few times before, but this app looks pretty slick and includes handy features like team management, player ratings and group chat. It’ll need a strong marketing push (or a partnership with a platform like Pitchero or Teamer) to get enough people using it to make it truly useful, and remains to be seen what the revenue model is, but off to a good start.
This app does a lot – taking feeds from pretty much any wearable or activity tracker and pulling the data into a format that lets people compare with others in their network, earning rewards in the process. There is also a specific business solution, aimed at promoting workplace wellness and active travel.
There’s nothing new in the individual elements of this, but the ability to compare, compete and be rewarded across a massive range of different fitness and healthy activities could be really interesting. The proposition could do with a bit of sharpening up to make it a little easier to understand what’s on offer, but it’s a great looking brand with lots of potential.
I have to declare an interest here because I’ve known one of the founders of Imin for a couple of years. They are on a mission to use open data to make physical activity searchable and bookable online – solving the problem of people having to search through multiple sites when looking for sports or activity sessions.
There’s no doubt this is needed in the sector. After all, why should it be easier to book a family holiday than a squash court? If Imin can crack the challenge of getting all the right data on to their platform and keeping it up to date efficiently, they should be on to a winner.
This is proper health-tech stuff. Innerstrength uses mobile tech to allow health professionals to remotely deliver physical exercise programmes and manage medical conditions. Their first product, TickerFit helps patients to recover from cardiac arrests and the business has ambitious plans to develop products for children with a range of long-term conditions.
Tech is playing an increasingly important part in how healthcare is delivered, and that’s only going to increase. Innerstrength look to have a solid existing business with ambitious growth plans, and recently raised €500,000 to support that growth. One to watch.
One of the few b2b offerings in this year’s ActiveLab cohort, MyCustomerLens aims to help businesses in the fitness sector to gain better insights into what their customers are thinking. The product automatically aggregates customer feedback from multiple sources including social media, survey responses, comments and attendance data into a simple dashboard that lets business owners see what’s going on and make real time decisions.
Data is incredibly powerful but too often businesses find themselves drowning in it, without gaining any useful, actionable insights. If MyCustomerLens can solve that problem for the fitness sector in a cost-effective way that leads to positive commercial results, it could be a very valuable tool.
This is a website (plus all the usual social channels) focused on teaching people the art of calisthenics (bodyweight exercises using little or no equipment), with a mix of downloadable content, workshops and merchandise.
I have no doubt that calisthenics is a fine way of improving strength and fitness, and the guys behind this site seem to be real experts, but there’s a lot going on here and it’s tricky for the first-time visitor to get a real handle on what’s on offer. With so much free fitness content out there, it’s hard to see where the revenue and growth might come from, unless the guys can find a way to raise their own profiles to the point where people actively seek them out. They might be better off focusing on developing their calisthenics workshops into a boutique fitness offering that can be rolled out or franchised.
TopYa! is a mobile app that aims to inspire and motivate players (it’s mostly aimed at kids) to develop their skills and creativity across a range of different sports, from football to yoga. It has professional looking skill videos for kids to learn from and challenges to complete, earning digital rewards along the way, plus a freestyle section to encourage kids to express themselves.
TopYa! has been around in the US for a couple of years and it looks like a pretty well-developed platform. It’s a useful resource for parents to have in their pocket and the leaderboard/reward system should be engaging for kids. Once again, the challenge will be how many parents are willing to pay for this kind of skills content when so much is out there for free.
We’re all used to adding up units of alcohol consumption per week and lying about it whenever asked. UnitChallenge is an app that introduces the idea of exercise “units” (but without the lying part) as a simple way of helping people to keep up their exercise routines. Individuals decide what a unit looks like to them, set themselves a goal and the app does the rest. There are options for sharing and competing with others, and a nice idea of pledging a charity donation if you meet your goals, providing an extra layer of motivation.
This looks like a nice, simple way of people setting themselves a challenge and, like Fit Link, it lets you earn points doing a variety of different activities. The app is in pre-launch Beta so it’s too early to say how good it will be and it’s not clear what the revenue model will be, but I like the simplicity of the concept and the brand.
Back to the serious health tech products, Path Finder is a shoe attachment that provides visual cues to help people with unsteady and irregular gait. This is particularly helpful to people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who commonly suffer from Freezing of Gait (FoG), a symptom causing an individual to feel as if frozen to the ground.
It’s not cheap at £395+VAT, but this looks like a product that makes a real difference to the lives of people who need it, backed up by solid scientific research and evidence.