Personal fitness trackers are well and truly mainstream these days, and they can make a big impact on individuals’ health. But to affect large groups of people, you need something more. That’s where Amaven comes in.
The Manchester startup was founded in 2013 as a spin-out from digital agency Livelink, with the aim of identifying star athletes of the future. However, it quickly became apparent that it could also be used to tackle obesity, corporate wellbeing, rehabilitation and fall-prevention.
So what is it, exactly? Amaven allows people in charge of an exercise regimen (be that PE teachers, sports coaches, or healthcare professionals) regularly test and measure an individual’s progress over time. It offers video content to help improve health. That means children can get homework to keep them active outside designated PE lessons, for example.
Something for everyone
Cofounders PK Vaish and Sam Greenwood say the product, which launched last year, is already used in around 100 UK schools. But Vaish and Greenwood see it as a real ‘cradle to grave’ offering. For example, it can promote independent living in the elderly by keeping them fit so they have less need for healthcare later. Greenwood says it’s also being used in the Junior Premier League to spot budding football stars.
The company has recently joined the Serendip accelerator to help develop its ‘exercise medicine’ offering of preventative care. This follows a spell with the Active Lab programme (of which Tech City UK was a founding partner).
While they’re focused on their home market this year, Amaven is beginning to explore markets in the Middle East and India. The company is self-funded to date, but Vaish and Greenwood say they’d consider external investment if the right offer came along.
Greenwood says that Amaven’s biggest rival is an Excel spreadsheet. “We see PE in a measured way,” he notes. That’s something that has traditionally been out of reach of most people outside the sphere of professional athletes.
When I was a child I was terrible at throwing and catching. But aside from ‘keep trying,’ there was little my teachers could suggest. If Amaven had been around back then, maybe I wouldn’t have been so embarrassingly bad at rounders – and still bad at catching to this day. At least its approach should be around to help me in my old age.