Newly launched Zone 5 Ventures is no stranger to sports technology — co-founder Chris Yu is the Leader of Innovation & Engineering at Specialized, while co-founders Ben Bowley and Andrew Hall are the CEO and CTO, respectively, at Today’s Plan. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the company has merged with Today’s Plan, one of the top online training platforms for athletes and their coaches. Zone 5 has higher ambitions than just training and coaching — the startup wants to encourage innovation in the sports data space by making it easier for companies and entrepreneurs to bring their visions to the market.
One of the hurdles in implementing new and innovative services for athletes is handling the overwhelming amount of data. Athletes use a variety of different devices to log their training, and each platform has its own type of fitness files. Trying to import all those different files from various platforms and turn that information into useful data is difficult. It’s one reason innovative ideas never make it beyond the early stages of development. Zone 5 wants to change all that, and is using Today’s Plan to help build a new cloud-based sports technology platform.
Athletes may be familiar with the training plans and coaching features of Today’s Plan, but the service is much more than that. What most people don’t know is that Today’s Plan also is a robust platform for importing and storing fitness data from a variety of sources. Zone 5 is expanding this cloud platform and offering it as the new Sports Tech Cloud Platform. Established companies that want to offer a fitness-related service no longer have to navigate the murky waters of data import and management. Zone 5 will handle that part of the equation through the Sports Tech Cloud Platform, which can be customized to each company’s needs.
Zone 5 Ventures also plans to act as an incubator providing a small number of startups with free access to the company’s Sports Tech Cloud Platform. Not only can these startups take advantage of the cloud platform, but they also can receive technical assistance from the Zone 5 team on how to best use it. A small amount of seed money is available to help some of these startups get their business up and running as well. Zone 5 is offering this technical and financial head start so startups can bring their ideas to the market quickly and affordably using the platform.
Zone 5 wants to drive innovation on both the services side and the research side of fitness. As companies begin using the Sports Tech Cloud Platform, Zone 5 potentially will have an extensive database of fitness metrics from a variety of devices, sports, and fitness levels. This data, compiled from users who opt to share their fitness information, can be anonymized and made available to researchers. Researchers then can use this information to learn more about fitness, health, technology, and how all three combine. Access to this data may provide insights to help develop new metrics and improve existing ones. It may even spark an idea that becomes the next Zone 5 incubator startup.
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