Fit-tech startups invited to shape future of physical activity sector
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Fit-tech startups invited to shape future of physical activity sector

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With technology helping to dissolve the physical barriers that have traditionally dictated how we move, we're entering a brave new world of innovation
– Steven Ward, chief executive, ukactive

Fledgling fit-tech startups will have their products and services nurtured in the second round of ukactive’s ActiveLab programme.

Now in its second year, the mentoring initiative aims to revolutionise the way we move by matching startups with leading players in business and the exercise industry.

Last year's scheme saw 12 finalists take part in a three-month accelerator which has helped the cohort raise more than £3.1m (US$4.1m, €3.5m) in early-stage funding and launch pilots with blue-chip firms.

The scheme is open to teams that can demonstrate a high level of month-on-month growth through key business metrics.

With developments in data, social media, virtual reality and wearable tech impacting on the exercise landscape, ActiveLab will help selected finalists produce their solutions to the global physical activity crisis, which in the UK alone costs £20bn (US$26.3bn, €22.7bn) each year and causes 37,000 deaths.

"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, ukactive chief executive.

Ward said he wants ActiveLab “to become the global launchpad for innovative and scalable physical activity businesses”.

This year, equipment company Life Fitness, international technology firm Jonas Software and Sport England have signed up to be partners of the programme. They join founding partners AXA PPP and Tech City UK.

The companies will mentor, coach and support successful applicants through workshops on scaling a business.

Last year's cohort delivered several success stories. Imoves, a digital teaching platform to help get schools active, won last year’s event. The platform consists of online PE and dance packages to help schools deliver PE plans.

And finalist, Connected Fitness Labs, a mobile app development company, was snapped up by virtual fitness provider Wexer last month.

Startups have until 22 December to apply, with the 12 finalists due to be announced on 28 February 2018. The winner will be revealed in June next year.

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