Life Fitness and Sport England back 'Fit-Tech' accelerator
‘Fit-Tech’ start-up accelerator ActiveLab has announced a raft of new heavyweight partners as it pursues a global focus for its second instalment launching on October 30th.
Run by not-for-profit health body ukactive, ActiveLab launched in September 2016 with a mission to revolutionise the way we move by matching start-ups 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 the cohort of innovative start-ups to raise more than £3.1 million in early-stage funding to date and launch pilots with major blue chips such as AXA PPP healthcare.
A raft of new partners will now help offer international routes to market for successful applicants. Physical activity giants 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 stellar cast of mentors, coaches and high-net-worth investors in place to support successful applicants.
"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,” said Steven Ward, CEO of ukactive.
"We want ActiveLab to become the global launch pad 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.
“Our aim for ActiveLab is to help scale innovation through access to and expertise from our unparalleled panel of private investors, expert mentors and coaches, plus our members and government partners.”
Ambitious product and service-based start-ups are encouraged to join the programme, which will identify and nurture innovative products and services that will shape the future of the health and physical activity sector.
ActiveLab aims to use data, social media, virtual reality and wearable tech 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.
ActiveLab mentor Jim Graham, a fitness industry expert and private equity veteran, said: “When I was COO at Phoenix Equity and the company invested in The Gym Group in 2013, I was new to the fitness industry.
“I became so hooked on the vibrancy of the sector and the public good that it does that I left Phoenix and joined The Gym Group as COO shortly after.
“With that chapter now behind me, I’m looking forward to helping entrepreneurs at the start of their journeys.
“The Gym Group is an innovation success story; I’m certain that ActiveLab will help new ones emerge and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Jason Worthy, Vice President - Fitness Solutions & Innovation at Life Fitness, added: “As the world’s largest fitness solutions brand, Life Fitness is excited to be partnering with ActiveLab to unearth innovators with the potential to transform the way we exercise.
“We have more than two million workouts every day on our equipment from exercisers in every corner of the globe. Through our network of connected fitness equipment, we’re 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, and help these startups apply that knowledge to their innovations.
“Life Fitness is passionate about advancing the field of fitness and digital innovation, so I am extremely excited to see first-hand the creative solutions from these successful applicants.”
The programme is open to innovations that can benefit the private, public or third sectors, either through international scalability or local concepts that can be widely replicated and demonstrate a capacity for social good.
The application runs from October 30th to December 22nd, with the 12 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.
The programme will culminate in a high-octane event in June 2018, which will bring together leading speakers, partners, and influencers from the physical activity and technology spheres.
Teams will showcase at the event and take part in a series of live pitches, with the winner receiving the top prize of a premium accelerator toolkit – comprising a suite of products and expertise to fast-track their concept.