LONDON, United Kingdom — ukactive has launched a ‘Fit-Tech’ startup accelerator aimed at revolutionising the fitness industry, which runs until 22nd December, 2018.
ActiveLab, which first launched in September 2016, matches Fit-Tech startups with the leading lights of business and physical activity. The inaugural version saw 12 finalists take part in an intensive three-month accelerator which has helped a range of innovative startups to raise more than £3.1m in early-stage funding and launch pilots with major blue chips such as AXA PPP healthcare.
“With technology helping to dissolve the physical barriers that have traditionally dictated how we move, we’re entering a brave new world of innovation with exciting opportunities to get more people, more active more often,” explained Steven Ward, CEO of ukactive.
“We want ActiveLab to become the global launchpad for innovative and scalable physical activity businesses, so I’m hugely excited by the dynamic group of companies that we’ll be working with to take this accelerator to the next level,” he added.
With a goal to help scale innovation through access to and expertise from a panel of private investors, expert mentors and coaches, the second instalment of ActiveLab hopes to build on momentum in the fast-growing Fit-Tech sector by collaborating with a raft of new partners to offer international routes to market for successful applicants.
Fitness operator Life Fitness and international technology conglomerate Jonas Software have been announced as headline partners for this year’s accelerator, with government agency Sport England also on board as a strategic partner. They join ActiveLab founding partners AXA PPP and Tech City UK, as well as a roster of other mentors, coaches and high-net-worth investors, who will support successful applicants.
Hoping to “unearth innovators with the potential to transform the way we exercise,” Jason Worthy, Vice President – Fitness Solutions & Innovation at Life Fitness, argued that through its network of connected fitness equipment, Life Fitness will be able to “provide insights on how exercisers and facility operators interact with equipment as well as the role health and fitness can play in the rest of their lives.” This, he explained will help the chosen startups to apply that knowledge to their innovations.
Adding to his comments, Arthur Morris, Business Unit Manager at Jonas Software, explained how the convergence of fitness and technology is extending the reach of activity to a wider audience, creating vast opportunities for meaningful innovation and substantial growth the ‘Fit-Tech’ space.
The “ActiveLab programme is providing an exciting platform to help startups in this sector amplify their products and connect with larger organisations,” he argued.
By encouraging ambitious product and service-based startups to join the programme, ActiveLab hopes to identify and nurture truly innovative products and services that will shape the future of the health and physical activity sector.
Developments in data, social media, virtual reality and wearable tech are having a major impact on the physical activity landscape and ActiveLab claims it will augment these new opportunities to produce pioneering health solutions to the global physical activity crisis, which in the UK alone costs £20bn each year and causes 37,000 deaths.
The programme, which has been created for physical activity businesses focusing on growth and scale, where the product or service has been validated, is open to teams who’ve raised capital, are in the process of doing so, or are bootstrapped. They must be able to demonstrate a high level of month-on-month growth through key business metrics.
The 12 ActiveLab finalists due to be announced on February 28th, 2018. Over the course of the programme, these companies will receive a series of networking opportunities with investors and leading physical activity firms, as well as tailored mentorship and expert workshops on the challenges of scaling a business.