Given that stress and inactivity is costing companies in the UK over £57bn each year, there’s a clear link to be made between the health of the nation and that of its startup scene. Fortunately, a new accelerator has just been launched to get Britain back on track.
ukactive, the non-profit organisation devoted to promoting active lifestyles, has teamed up with AXA PPP, the medical insurance provider, and Tech City UK, the government-backed organisation supporting tech startups, to launch the ActiveLab accelerator. “Our goal is to unearth the UK’s first health and fitness unicorn and become the global launchpad for innovative and scalable physical activity businesses,” said Steven Ward, executive director of ukactive.
Health and fitness technology has come a long way since the 1980s, the heyday of the home exercise video. In the last few years, innovations in data, social media, virtual reality and wearable tech have had a major impact on the way people exercise at home, at the gym or outdoors. Building on this, ActiveLab’s goal is to find startups that can take these innovations to the next level. The programme is open to teams that can demonstrate growth and an ability to raise capital.
Startups that pass the test will be accepted into the 12-week programme and benefit from the knowledge of mentors such as Scott Lloyd, investor and former David Lloyd Leisure CEO; David Giampaolo, fitness magnate and serial entrepreneur; and Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct.
“The confluence of fitness and technology means that there are huge opportunities for meaningful innovation in this space,” said Lloyd. “Physical inactivity will be one of the major global challenges of the 21st century and I can’t wait to hear from the exciting group of finalists who may hold the key to the solution.”
The demand for fitness products is certainly there as the UK is slowly becoming more active than ever before. In fact, there were more fitness clubs and gym memberships signed in May this year than ever before, according to The Leisure Database Company.
Given that Britain excels in all things tech, this new venture could be the key to getting Blighty back in shape.