5 ways tech companies in the South West are you helping you enjoy sport
Bristol, Bath and the greater South West is of course known for its innovative tech and digital innovation, as well as its collaborative spirit, so it’s little wonder that so many companies have turned their tech talents to finding ways of improving our health through fitness and sport, and allowing us to show off what we’ve achieved when we do it!
In the year when Bristol has been awarded the 2017 European City of Sport, we thought we’d show off a few of the impressive number of companies based in the wider region that have successfully combined tech with sports to help people enjoy, participate and engage with their inner athletes.
Here are five of our favourites based in Bristol and Bath:
Strava, which in Swedish means ‘strive’, was founded initially as an app for cyclists to track their rides and geek out over their stats such as speed, distance, elevation and personal bests, and help them strive to improve.
The app was a huge success and subsequently now tracks not just cycling, but running and swimming as well, taking its membership up from just a handful to tens of millions. So you could legitimately call it the Facebook for athletes.
Known for its ‘segments’, athletes are encouraged to add their favourite sections (i.e. a particularly tough hill) to the app’s database as leaderboards for athletes to compare and contrast their performance with others.
The social network for athletes: Strava lets you share photos
and data galore with your fellow athletes
Catching wind of the South West’s booming tech cluster, Strava made the decision to set up its European Headquarters in Bristol in 2016 in order to expand its international marketing team.
Incubated by the Global no.1 University business incubator, SETsquared, Bath-based MoveGB dove straight into disrupting the massively diverse industry of gyms, fitness classes, sports clubs, climbing centres and a whole array of physical adventures strewn across our cities – with the aim of creating the UK’s first universal gym membership.
Addressing many of the problems faced by both fitness fanatics and tentative gym newbies, MoveGB’s digital membership allows its members to discover and access hundreds of otherwise unlinked gyms and classes online (with each ordinarily charging their own fees and membership) – allowing greater flexibility, variety and value.
Initially tackling Bath’s gym bunny haunts, the company soon expanded into Bristol and is slowly taking on the whole country, one gym at a time.
About to launch fresh out of beta, Col8 was founded by Bath-based entrepreneurs Charles Smith and Rupert Jabelman. Born out of frustration with the hours of extreme sports footage collected from various outdoor adventures left unused and underappreciated, collecting ‘virtual dust’ in hard drives or in the cloud – the duo wanted to find a way to quickly and easily find the killer highlights in what they had captured.
Realising that this was a sentiment shared by many other sporty tech types, Col8 built a platform to help extreme sports fans make the most out of their action cam footage.
Extreme stats: a screenshot of the Col8 platform, having captured a
mountain-biking adventure in Bristol’s Leigh Woods
The platform layers much of the data collected on adventures (for example, from phones and GPS) over the action footage, so that key moments can be accessed quickly and easily. Col8 will also work as a social media platform for extreme sports junkies to share and compare their experiences really easily, alongside a glorious range of data that helps tells the whole story.
Knowing that most students and, let’s face it, pretty much the entire population can often be found glued to their smartphones, what better way to engage them in the outside world than through apps.
Rivalled is the brand new app that is doing just that to get students more engaged and enthusiastic about sports. Putting its main focus on the social aspect of sports, the app connects students with similar sporting interests and encourages those who are not involved to become more active at university.
Supported initially by Bath-based software agency and tech incubator, Rocketmakers, the Rivalled team kicked off a Crowdcube campaign through the Bristol-based IdeaSquares crowdfunding programme Crowd10 earlier this year and is planning to launch fully in September 2017.
For those of you who are so entrenched in their sports, or just love the idea of creating something truly unique with some innovative tech, Disrupt Sports has created a platform where you can design your own sports equipment.
A perfect combination for geeks who dig sports and software, the platform has its users building and visualising anything from surf boards to yoga mats.
Although not designed purely for sports, FatMap’s innovative platform that pictures maps in a whole new way is perfect for those who love to explore the great outdoors.
Be it trail running, mountain biking, cycling, skiing or hiking, to name just a few, FatMap’s high-resolution 3D maps makes navigation and understanding terrain a doddle.
- You may like: Interview: Meet FATMAP – providing the world’s best ultra-high resolution maps for outdoor activities
This Bristol-based startup is creating a storm around its health service and app that lets you track your health from the inside, instead of relying purely on outside stats such as steps taken or distance run.
Endorsed by UK athletes including professional triathlete Mark Threlfall and ultra marathon runner Alex Tucker, the startup is helping athletes and the health conscious to reach their true potential by tracking and visualising how their training and nutrition is affecting everything from iron levels, to vitamin D.
- You may like: Interview: Sarah Bolt, Founder of Forth, the tracker that understands our health on the inside
Led by Rich Keith of Yogscast fame, the monthly ride has been running since September 2016 and regularly attracts 10-15 techies for an hour of cycling and talking tech, followed by coffee in the local Mokoko cafe. To join in the fun and track where you’ve been you can also sign up to the TechRide Strava group.
If you enjoyed this article but can think of other sports tech businesses based in the South West of England, let us know. You can also stay up to date with local tech news, events and opportunities by signing up to the TechSPARK newsletter or by following us on Twitter here: @TechSPARKuk.