Chasing the Hockey Stick

WeMeMove is a spinoff from SICS Swedish ICT that conducts research on the analysis of body movements. In 2014, WeMeMove acquired its first paying customer: an organization that uses the technology to improve the performance of hockey players.

The hockey stick is a common metaphor for the kind of growth many startups aim for. For WeMeMove it's more tangible – the ability to measure how a hockey player moves his stick was a vital step toward getting their business started. Last fall, the company XLNC Sports launched an app based on WeMeMove's algorithms, after signing a license contract in early 2014 – an exciting moment for this young SICS spinoff, which was founded in 2013.

The app is already used by several hundred hockey players in Sweden, Finland and the United States to measure and improve their skating, puck control, stick-handling and dribbling – with feedback available in real time. The app can even measure how high players can jump, in order to evaluate their leg strength.

WeMeMove's underlying motion analysis engine is extremely versatile – it can be used for measuring almost any kind of athletic performance. The hockey world was not where the company started looking for customers – a year ago their primary target group was cross-country skiers, for whom an early demo was developed. With a lot of work and lateral thinking, the company successfully redefined both the application and the business model last year.

The development of the app for cross-country skiing has been ongoing in parallel, however. A far more mature version of this system is up and running, with a complete motion analysis engine, APIs for Android and iPphone, feedback in real time and a cloud function for data storage. The missing piece in the puzzle – the customized motion sensor – will be delivered soon, for a pilot market introduction later this year.

The business model for the ski app, branded ”mySKILAB,” is quite different from the hockey case. WeMeMove intends to sell the sensor and accompanying app package directly to customers.

”We hope to scale this business during 2015. By then, we also believe that we will have external investors”, said CEO MeWeMove Magnus Jonsson, former Senior Researcher at Interactive Institute Swedish ICT.

And after that? As discussed, the motion analysis engine is generic enough to be applicable to most sports, including running, gym workouts and golf. With the right sensors, it could even be adapted to horses and other animals. The internet of sports is a market with an inexhaustible number of niches.

More information can be found at www.wememove.com and www.myskilab.com.

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