Did you know that Barcelona has a sports tech startup accelerator? Last week, ASICS announced the five participants of its global acceleration program, ASICS Tenkan-Ten Growth Catalyst. From games that help you lose weight to interactive experiences mixing technology and sports, the startups selected for the program bring exciting technologies and unique approaches to the industry.
Fuelling startup innovation in sports and wellbeing
The Japanese multinational sports equipment company ASICS has just kicked off the second season of its acceleration program in Barcelona, with the participation of five growth-stage startups in the sports and wellbeing space.
Tenkan-Ten means “tipping point” in Japanese: ASICS’s acceleration program aims to carry the young innovators of the sports and wellbeing industry to a breakthrough. The corporation is helping startups scale by providing them with business services, mentoring, networking and financial support of €30K.
The participants of the program also benefit from the support and know-how of ASICS executives, high-profile Entrepreneurs in Residence and startup mentors. Working with ASICS gives the startups access to a global distribution network and international investors, so they will have everything they need to get to that alluring tipping point. Not to mention that they get to stay in the beautiful city of Barcelona!
“I’m very excited to be working with businesses who share our belief in the power of movement to help us feel better, both physically and mentally. We want to get more people moving, more often, so that they can experience a ‘sound mind in a sound body’. The innovations that the businesses are bringing to the sports and well-being industry will help us to achieve this goal.”
Alistair Cameron, CEO ASICS EMEA
Throughout the program, the startups are aided by a group of MBA students from IESE Business School. The program also helps entrepreneurs become exceptional leaders, all while staying true to the ASICS mantra (Anima Sana in Corpore Sano – A Sound Mind in a Sound Body) and focusing on their mental health.
Coming from five different countries around the globe, the participants of the Asics TenKan-Ten Program have different approaches to sports and wellbeing, but they’re all in line with ASICS’s philosophy of getting people moving to achieve mental and physical health. Here’s who they are.
Hailing from New York, Waybetter helps people adopt healthy habits by turning the process into a game. Founder and CEO Jamie Rosen, a former toy inventor, is an advocate of the ‘fun theory’, which states that fun can change human behavior for the better. Based on this premise, Rosen and his team have built three products – DietBet, StepBet and RunBet – that motivate people to reach their goals by allowing them to bet on themselves and win money from those who fail to complete their own challenges.
The startup has 900,000 users from around the world collectively win $78M, lose 6 million kilos and walk or run over 200 million kilometers. Waybetter’s future plans include creating a healthcare application for their gamification model – for example, to manage chronic diseases or keep up with physiotherapy – as well as building the world’s first healthy social network.
Fun With Balls
Fun With Balls, a Munich-based startup founded in 2016 by Markos Aristides Kern, set out to get people away from their screens and get them moving. They aim to increase physical activity in our sedentary society by making sports fun again: and they’re doing this through a fusion of physical sports, technology and gaming. Their two products – MultiBall and Interactive Squash – are immersive experiences that employ a screen and interactive gaming technologies to add an extra fun element to playing sports.
The platforms created by Fun With Balls can be used to breathe new life into spaces. They can upgrade underused sports courts and attract visitors to shopping malls and events. Fun With Balls also works with brands to help them connect with their customers by offering them a new kind of engaging experience. The startup’s vision for the future involves a fully digital sports arena with 4 LED screens.
Founded in 2016, the UK-based startup OME Health specializes in personalized nutrition coaching with the aim of preventing disease. The company co-founded by Aidas Pranculis and Karolis Rosickas collects and analyzes health data and uses biological testing to provide its users with customized nutrition plans to achieve specific health outcomes.
OME works as a nutritional intelligence engine, providing science-backed data insights and giving people the tools to apply those insights to their lives – and ultimately improve their health. From a 12-week nutrition program to weekly goals, shoppable meals and consultations with dieticians, OME offers an all-in-one solution for nutritional health.
MATCHi, co-founded by Daniel Ekman and Mattias Lundström in 2012, is a Swedish startup that aims to connect racket sports enthusiasts with each other and with venues. Their online platform makes it fast and easy to find other players to play with and book courts near you to play at. Their marketplace has over 400 venues, including tennis, badminton, squash and padel courts. For venues, they provide a booking platform that covers all administrative and operational tasks.
With over 300,000 players using the platform across the Nordics, MATCHi is already a leading player in the racket sports space.
RaceCheck was co-founded by Alexandros Tanti and Katerina Tanti to help endurance athletes of all levels find, book and plan races around the world. Functioning as a TripAdvisor for endurance sports, RaceCheck is a race discovery platform that also connects the community through shared experiences. The reviews that Marathon runners and other athletes leave on the platform can help others find the best races around the world and provide feedback for organizers on what to improve.
The UK-based company was launched in 2016 and has helped over 1200 race organizers to help promote their events to new audiences and drive entries. In the future, the startup is planning to add a gamification element to its platform and, for example, challenge athletes to beat their best times.