Driving innovation in health technology has become a huge concept in the last year, and now the tech-savvy shoe producer is getting in on the act with their Nike+ Accelerator.
The program, developed in a partnership with veteran accelerator TechStars, “aims to leverage the success of the Nike+ platform to support digital innovation by connecting with companies that share Nike’s commitment to help people live more active lives,”according to the program’s website.
What’s the Deal
Running from March 18 to mid-June in Portland, Ore. near the Nike headquarters, the Nike+ Accelerator program recently selected its 10 startups to mentor from all over the health and fitness map. The 10 startups include:
- CoachBase: An iOS platform that helps create on-the-fly sports plays, meant for in-game use by coaches.
- FitDeck: A company that develops analog and digital cards to randomly vary exercise plans and incorporate a gaming element into traditional fitness.
- GeoPalz: A small, wearable pedometer developer aimed at kids.
- GoRecess: A booking platform that enables users to drop-in on fitness classes.
- Chroma.io: An indie game studio that bridges the gap between gaming and real world activity.
- FitCause: A program that helps users raise money for charity by tracking their fitness data.
- HighFive: An ad network that works with fitness apps to reward users for their activity.
- Sprout At Work: A gamified social wellness program geared towards incorporating fitness into business.
- Incomparable Things: A fantasy sports program where owners power their own fantasy squads with fitness trackers.
- RecBob: A platform to manage recreational sports teams.
Each of these startups will get accesss to the Nike+ API (their trove of data) and mobile development kits, as well as the ability to get hands-on with the company’s facilities and development tools. The program will also provide mentors from both Nike and TechStars (including Tim Ferriss, Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, and Nike's Vice President of Digital Sport, David Cohen) to give each company guidance during the accelerator period.
Why it Matters
This is the first time that Nike is opening up its successful tracking and app technology to third-party startups — and giving them guidance to boot. Plenty of these companies will be able to take advantage of what Nike has already figured out in its wildly popular Nike+ app, including the GPS technology and motivational systems, to make their own successes.
To be sure, not all of the 10 companies are revolutionary in their design but the hope is that with some Nike know-how and funding, that these 10 startups can be a model for the successful integration of technology into more aspecs of health and fitness.
It's important to note that the accelerator is keen on mentoring apps from all across the fitness spectrum — targeting kids, teens, businesspeople and those just trying to have some fun. This comprehensive list of companies shows that the fit-tech revolution is really underway for everyone — not just fitness geeks and athletes.
What do you think of the Nike+ Accelerator? Can these apps change the way we think of tech and fitness? Let us know in the comments!