London's first sport-dedicated startup accelerator, which has accepted 16 young companies all focused on disrupting the sports and fitness industries, opened its doors on October 5 at a launch event just off Borough High Street in the UK capital.
The House of Sport, otherwise known as 190 Great Dover Street, held the launch event for the accelerator, the Sport Tech Hub. The 16 startups accepted into the program will work from the House of Sport for three months, honing their business models, developing their products and, hopefully, finding investment. That is actually six more startups than originally planned, but it seems like it's a case of "the more the merrier." (See Sport Tech Startup Incubator to Launch in London.)
The House of Sport is a non-profit venture funded by London Sport to create the city's first dedicated office building for sport and fitness in the capital. The launch of the Sport Tech Hub took place on the top floor, a networking space for anyone involved in sport in London. Previously, meetings between sports executives would take place in Starbucks, one London Sport employee said, which meant Starbucks was benefiting from this -- now, London Sport can re-invest the money generated from the House of Sport right back into the community, helping the organization achieve its goal of "making London the most active city in the world".
London Sport's new chief executive, Tove Okunniwa, was present at her first official event as CEO. Images: Andrei Angelescu, London Sport
The startups involved the program are:
Spryt: an app to find new training partners or teammates. Short of a player for your five-a-side football team, or want a new tennis partner or coach? Search your local with Spyrt and find that person.
Fitswarm: training in real time. Use the platform to join a class and train with the instructor like you would in an "in the flesh" training session.
Batfast: an interactive simulator that has been designed to increase sports participation. The company has started off with cricket, but expect more to come in the future.
Spotters: an app to increase the presence of youth football, and for young footballers between the ages of 9-16 to share their achievements on the social network.
Flex TV: at-home fitness training, with a growing variety of courses, plus one-on-one coaching for more personal goal setting and progress checks.
Racefully: Run with your friends, in real time. Set goals, race with your friends to take the lead, and join running communities from all over the world.
TrainAsONE: an artificial intelligence-powered coach to help runners meet their set goals and targets, for runners of all abilities. Possibly most importantly, it aligns to your abilities and goals, pushing you to fulfill them but letting you take the lead.
Sweat and Sound: fitness events at under-the-radar locations in London, using music to provide a unique experience for everyone, regardless of fitness level or ability.
Return2Play: treatment for players at every level of sport, from grassroots to professionals. Educates organizations on injury prevention and treatment.
Rabble: a platform for immersive team games which anyone can join.
Sport Heroes Group: digital fitness experiences to ignite people into staying active and participating in sport.
Makesweat: a platform for players, runners and others to plan a session and invite friends or family, using open data and Get Active London.
Vlique: connecting users to personal trainers and other fitness enthusiasts in real time, using an iOS and, soon, an Android app.
Wellrun: encouraging people to exercise more in casual situations, such as running, walking or cycling to work.
Where: a "heat map" of physical or fitness activity taking place nearby, finding the best "vibe" to socialize, exercise, or simply watch sport.
The great and the good of London's sporting community were there. Images: Andrei Angelescu, London Sport
London Sport's program lead for Sport Tech Hub, Alex Zurita, said in a statement, "Sport Tech Hub will be at the very heart of innovation for sport in the capital. We believe that harnessing the power of technology is vital to the future of physical activity and sport, and these sixteen start-ups have an opportunity to be in the vanguard of that future. We are looking forward to working with, and alongside, all of the start-ups, partners and mentors involved in Sport Tech Hub. Here's to the future of sport!"
The companies started moving in to the House of Sport on October 2. The programme will conclude in three months, with the startups pitching to investors in the hope of finding more investment to keep their SportTech dreams alive.