Updates from our accelerator startups

How have the early-stage businesses we supported got on in the last 12 months?

28 November 2019 News

In May 2018 the OpenActive Accelerator began for 10 startups looking to use open data to help people get more active. 

Supported by the Open Data Institute and ourselves, OpenActive’s whole mission is to use open data to help people get active – with these 10 startups providing examples of the innovative ways in which it can be done. 

The startups had six months of support to help develop their businesses, including access to our expertise and insight.  

Now, a year on from the end of the accelerator, we take a look at how the startups have progressed and how their innovative uses of data are helping people to get active. 

“The OpenActive Accelerator programme was a fantastic opportunity for us to support 10 extremely passionate early-stage businesses,” said Allison Savich, our strategic lead for data and innovation. 

We saw first-hand what it takes to start a business from the ground up.  

We learnt that they want to progress at a fast pace, which our sector isn’t always used to, and that their journey is currently not as smooth as it could be. 

We support their desire to inject new ideas and solutions into our sector, seeing this as an opportunity, not a threat, with benefits to be gained for anyone who helps them pilot their innovative tech businesses to help more people get active.” 

Find A Race logo

Find A Race

Initial pitch...

A website to search, discover and book mass participation sports events.

What happened next?

The site now has more than three million users and boasts commercial partnerships with more than 100 sport and physical activity organisers, meaning there are 1,000 bookable events on its platform.

In the UK alone, more than 50 of the nation’s biggest event organisers – such as Great Run – are working with Find A Race to help drive bookings.

All of this has been through organic growth, with the team expanding from three to seven full-time members of staff, without any external investment. They remain keen to use OpenActive open data in the future.

GoSweat logo

GoSweat

Initial pitch...

It lets you discover, book and experience your perfect way to sweat.

What happened next?

After the conclusion of the OpenActive Accelerator, GoSweat was selected to be part of the Open Data Institute’s Data Pitch cohort for 2019, and was also part of the third intake of ukactive’s ActiveLab 12-week accelerator.

During these accelerators the decision was made to switch its focus more to businesses, rather than consumers, and it's since launched a new platform for employee benefits.

Partnering with corporations and charities such as Age UK, Workday and Medallia, GoSweat gives employees access to thousands of wellbeing experiences – from yoga to boxing, and spa passes to ice climbing.

GoSweat has also remained linked to OpenActive and has played a significant role in helping to implement data standards around consumer bookings.

iPrescribe Exercise logo

iPrescribe Exercise

Initial pitch...

An activity app that analyses health and prescribes a personalised exercise plan using an automated algorithm.

What happened next?

Building on findings from the RAND Institute and health insurance company Vitality’s ‘earn your watch’ programme in the US, iPrescribe is expanding its product to develop an app for the Apple Watch.

This will use the data gathered – such as heart rate and activity data – to provide tailored exercise plans for the individual.

This development will help it gather the evidence to help demonstrate the impact of physical activity on a person’s health and the role the app can play in helping both prevent and manage 20 chronic diseases.

ONIGO logo

Onigo

Initial pitch...

Immersive team adventures against the clock, delivered through your phone, but lived in your local park.

What happened next?

Onigo teamed up with Camden Council to launch an adventure game challenge that worked to boost physical activity for their residents.

‘Mission Camden’ challenged local residents to complete up to five free immersive scavenger hunt games in just 10 weeks over the summer of 2019.

More than 500 people took part, with 91% of those people saying they felt happy afterwards and 38% of them being more likely to participate in exercise as a result.

The scheme saw a total of 1,712 km being walked.

Away from Camden Council, Onigo was also part of the Ordnance Survey’s Geovation programme in October 2018 – with the next month seeing their 1,000th paying customer.

Outdoor Nation logo

Outdoor Nation

Initial pitch...

Passionate about getting more people active outdoors, predominantly through adventurous activities in the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty.

What happened next?

While work on the project may have been paused so that the team’s studies could take priority, they are still focused on bringing the great outdoors to the public.

The team hope to resume activities soon as they look to build a platform featuring listings of outdoor activities, using open data to populate it.

Shout logo

Shout

Initial pitch...

A software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for unified location-based information.

What happened next?

Shout officially launched in July 2019, after more than three years of development and a four-month pilot programme in Manchester earlier this year.

The mobile app aims to instantly connect the user with aspects of the city, area or building you are in – allowing you to explore places, communities and fitness opportunities around you with exclusive content from businesses and events, tailored to you.

Following the OpenActive Accelerator, Shout connected with the Tech Incubator at the Manchester Technology Centre and announced its latest round of funding just last month.

SPRYT logo

SPRYT

Initial pitch...

Build a community and marketplace platform for sports and fitness enthusiasts, enabling users to find and connect with their nearest training partner, teammate, coach, club or class.

What happened next?

Analysis of user behaviour showed that while they connected with one another to play sport, they then defaulted to their preferred communication platform, e.g. WhatsApp, to communicate with each other.

As a result, the team behind Spryt are now aiming to use artificial intelligence to develop a ‘virtual teammate’ smart assistant that uses OpenActive data to find and book relevant sport and fitness activities, all from within their preferred communication channel, e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc.

The first part of their plan includes focusing on five-a-side football and is aided by the support of former directors at Powerleague.

Pilot programmes have been agreed with football centres in London and Manchester, with a plan to launch version one to coincide with the Euro 2020 final in London next summer.

Sweat & Sound logo

Sweat & Sound

Initial pitch...

Immersive events at secret locations all over London, combining live music and fitness to create experiences that make you forget that you're working out.

What happened next?

Throughout 2018 Sweat & Sound created 28 unique experiences in London and New York City.

Continuing to focus on bridging the gap between health and wellness, and live music, it's been recruiting for a number of experience curators in 2019, while continuing to deliver experiences.

One such experience, in January of this year, was a world first – Rapitation. A combination of spoken word poetry and rap, during meditation.

Track Active logo

TrackActive

Initial pitch...

Providing people with evidence-based and data-driven exercise interventions for rehabilitation and wellbeing.

What happened next?

In May 2019 it received its first round of funding, of £250,000, and was also part of the Digital Health London accelerator programme.

Their progress has seen the launch of a pilot project with NHS GPs, as well as the adoption of its TrackActive Pro physiotherapy exercise software within NHS organisations.

Early next year will also see the launch of a TrackActive iPhone app for UK users, with an Android version also in development, as the company look to branch out from working with insurers and corporations, to working directly with consumers.

Train As One logo

TrainAsONE

Initial pitch...

An award-winning artificial intelligence (AI) personal running coach, solving the problem of keeping runners fit, healthy, and injury free.

What happened next?

TrainAsONE has continued to work with the ODI as it develops new open standards for activity routes and managing safety data.

It's also working with Garmin, Strava and London Sport, as well as researchers from Bath, Southampton and Harvard Universities.

This year, TrainAsONE picked up two prizes at the Running Awards 2019 and was listed by Garmin as one of the top three training apps available for its sports watches.

The platform now has more than 10,000 users in more than 100 countries around the world.