Startups help revolutionise access to sports and activity information

Tue May 1, 2018
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People across the UK will soon have nation-wide sport and physical activity information at their fingertips as 10 new startups join the OpenActive Accelerator, a groundbreaking new programme launched today by Sport England and the Open Data Institute (ODI)

People across the UK will soon have nation-wide sport and physical activity information at their fingertips as 10 new startups join the OpenActive Accelerator, a groundbreaking new programme launched today by Sport England and the Open Data Institute (ODI).

With support from the ODI and Sport England, the startups will spend the next six months developing groundbreaking new services – including apps and websites – that will make it easier for people to find exercise opportunities.

The services will all use data openly published in a standard format by sport and activity providers, accessible via the OpenActive platform.

Currently much of the information about who, what, where and when activities take place is stuck in separate websites, social media groups, PDFs or printed flyers. When travel operators unlocked their data several years ago, it revolutionised the experience for holidaymakers. OpenActive aims to do the same for the sport and activity sector.

The ultimate aim is to help more people get active. Currently over a quarter of the population in England are inactive, which means they do less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week.

The OpenActive Accelerator will bring some of the most creative minds in data and technology together with the data about opportunities, and support them to create products and services that make it easier for people to get active.

Each startup on the OpenActive Accelerator programme receives office space; training and mentorship; access to the ODI and Sport England networks; and a wide range of services and perks from partners who share a vision to support open data innovation to help people get active.

The OpenActive Accelerator programme is part of OpenActive, an initiative funded by the National Lottery via Sport England. OpenActive is delivered by the ODI, who work in partnership with Sport England and other sector partners including ukactive and London Sport.

Jeni Tennison, CEO of the ODI said: “More than one in four people in the UK have no relationship with exercise. People struggle to find time to take part in activities or are not able to find an activity which suits their abilities. The OpenActive Accelerator brings some of the most creative minds in data and technology together with rich data sets about opportunities to get active, to create services that can help encourage more people to get more active. This is an exciting time for the sport and physical activity industry. By supporting these startups, we are advancing the role of data and technology in the sport and physical activity sector, and helping people get more active.”

Allison Savich, from Sport England; “We are so excited to launch the OpenActive Accelerator programme with the ODI. The ten startups will be supported to put people’s needs first when designing their products… Sport England will share behavioural insights with the startups and support them to use the data that fits people’s lifestyles. We believe this will reduce one of the main barriers for people trying to get active.”

Partners in the 2018 OpenActive Accelerator Programme:

Partners in the 2018 OpenActive Accelerator programme providing in-kind services and perks to the selected startups are AWS, BPE, Experience Haus, Google, Huckletree, imin, SeedLegals, Seedrs, SendGrid and Sheridans.

OpenActive Accelerator – Startup profiles

Find a Race

Founders: David Wearn – CEO, Richard Ward – Data, Sam Hibberd – Developer, Ben Callaway – Product and Jacob Hibberd – Marketing

One sentence sum-up: Based in Winchester, we are a website to search, discover and book mass participation sports events.

What is FIND A RACE?: As the endurance sport market continues to grow, more people are taking part in mass participation events than ever before. But there are two problems: one – athletes can’t find events to take part in and two – race organisers can’t reach athletes. connects people looking for their next goal with the thousands of mass participation sports events that take place every year. We provide a two-way service that helps athletes find events and event organisers reach athletes.

We believe setting a clear goal is an effective way of raising levels of physical activity. makes it easy to find and enter a race that interests you, and nothing provides the essential motivation like having a race in the diary.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: We are really excited to be part of a talented group of people looking to support the drive towards open data within the industry, and even more so, we’re looking forward to realise the huge potential that this opens for us as a business.


Founders: Alex Hind CEO, Steph Newport-Booth CPO, Kent McClymont CTO

One sentence sum-up: GoSweat is based in London and operates nationwide, it lets you discover, book and experience your perfect way to Sweat.

What is GoSweat?: GoSweat is a two-sided marketplace, that connects the supply with the demand for fitness classes. You can discover and book them just in the same way you would a hairdresser using TreatWell or a place to stay using Airbnb. By searching what you want, where and when you want it.

Why they’re excited: OpenActive is the global leader in maximising how data is used and consumed in the sport and fitness sector. To have the opportunity to be a part of this, was an amazing opportunity and will help thousands of people access the right sport and fitness for them.

iPrescribe Exercise

Founders: Carron Manning Co-Founder, Lewis Manning Co-Founder

One sentence sum-up: iPrescribe Exercise is an activity app that analyses health and prescribes a personalised exercise plan using an automated algorithm.

What is iPrescribe Exercise?: A huge amount of medical research shows that many chronic diseases can be managed and prevented by physical activity, sometimes with greater effect than drugs. However, many doctors do not have the time or the training to prescribe exercise as an intervention. As physiotherapists, we believe everyone should have access to a graduated and personalised exercise programme that is safe for their health.

iPrescribe Exercise analyses the user’s current situation, including their health data and resting heart rate (taking into account any coexisting chronic diseases) and prescribes a graduated and personalised exercise programme which, safely over 12 weeks, will help them to achieve the correct level of activity for their health. We are based in Epping, Essex and our programmes are based on the latest medical guidelines and scientific evidence.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: We are delighted to be joining the OpenActive accelerator as it will give us a great opportunity to increase the range of activities available for our users to get active. We want to work with activity providers to ensure the needs of the less active are met, that they are given the information required to know which activity is appropriate for them.

Onigo Escapes

Founders: Alex Stanley & Arthur Stril

One sentence sum-up: Onigo, based in Camden Town Hall, produces immersive team adventures against the clock, delivered through your phone, but lived in your local park.

What is Onigo Escapes?: Around a third of Europeans and Americans do not do enough exercise to stay in good health, because traditional activities are deemed too costly, challenging, dull or anti-social. To smash these barriers, Onigo produces immersive team adventures against the clock, delivered through your phone but brought to life in your local park – think Escape Games meet Pokemon Go! Onigo Escapes is currently live with two adventures (a prison break and a murder mystery) in two locations (Hyde Park and Clapham Common), and already has over 200 players enjoying our adventures.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: OpenActive is a fantastic opportunity to develop partnerships and use open activity data to bring Onigo’s outdoor adventures to a wider audience and get more people active!

Outdoor Nation

Founders: Grenville Chaganis (Business Head); Richard Picton (Outdoor Industry Head); Tim Tottenham (Digital Head)

One sentence sum-up: We are passionate about getting more people active outdoors, predominantly through adventurous activities in the UK’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty. Our offices are based in London.

What is Outdoor Nation?: Changes in our society and economic landscape mean that the potential to grow the outdoor recreation market is huge. Yet the outdoor recreation industry is failing to address this latent potential that lies dormant across the Nation; the market is too complex, stove-piped, traditional and focused on the enthusiast. There is a need for something more compelling and user-friendly that satisfies the need of the more casual participant. We will provide a solution that will tackle this head-on, directly addressing barriers that are preventing people from getting active outdoors.

Unlike anything else in the outdoor industry, our product will bind traditionally isolated information and services in a user-friendly and personalised way to the benefit of the casual participant, rather than the enthusiast. It will also provide unprecedented benefit to outdoor activity providers by providing direct access to potential customers across the UK.

Why they’re excited: We’re excited to be working together with OpenActive and Sport England, and to have the opportunity to play a role in the brilliant national goal of getting more people active.


Founders: Tomas Paulik, CEO and Software Architect & Juraj Salapa, Business Analyst

One sentence sum-up: Shout is a SaaS solution for unified location-based information interchange with headquarters based in Manchester.

What is Shout? Our vision is to make cities smarter by giving citizens the ability to instantly get information about things around them. Shout can be seen as an information marketplace where both organisations and individuals can post content covering various aspects of urban living.

For businesses of all sizes, Shout enables real-time engagement with local audiences in an unobtrusive manner. It increases footfall and attracts prospective customers to the stores and other commercial venues.

For individuals, Shout saves time and money by enabling the user to make immediate and informed decisions to deal with everyday urban challenges. It allows to discover highly-personalised information regarding retail highlights, pop-up events, sports and wellbeing, connected travelling, updates from public authorities, local jobs and accommodation offers.

Why they’re excited about taking part in the accelerator: The availability of open data has dramatically influenced our product roadmap and we’re thrilled to work with OpenActive to deliver better service to our customers.


Founders: Daragh Donohoe and Paul Lyes

One sentence sum-up: SPRYT is a community and marketplace platform for sports and fitness enthusiasts enabling users to find and connect with their nearest training partner, teammate, coach, club or class.

What is Spryt?: SPRYT is a free-to-use social network helping you discover new teammates, opponents, training partners, coaches and facilities near you. Whether your sporting experience is limited to running after your kids, sprinting to catch the night bus or breaking the four-minute mile, SPRYT will help you find thousands of ways to get active near your home or work base. Our team is based in our offices in London.

SPRYT have removed the awkward barriers in approaching other sports and exercise enthusiasts, creating the perfect platform to engage, create connections and discover new opportunities to get fit.

Why they’re excited about taking part in the accelerator: We are delighted to be accepted on to the OpenActive accelerator as we begin the next chapter of our startups journey.

Sweat & Sound

Founders: Ariana, Co-founder & Martina, Co-founder

One sentence sum-up: Immersive events at secret locations all over London, combining live music and fitness to create experience that make you forget that you are working out.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: To figure out how we can scale effectively.


Founders: Michael Levens – CEO, Ian Prangley – Health Director

One sentence sum-up: Providing people with evidence-based and data-driven exercise interventions for rehabilitation and wellbeing.

What is TrackActive?: Based in London, TrackActive Me, currently in development, is a self-help application providing individualised and adaptable exercise programs driven by data intelligence and machine learning, for a mass market of people trying to get healthy and maintain it.

TrackActive Pro, launched in 2015, is a platform for health professionals to design, deliver, support, monitor adherence, and track the outcomes of patient musculoskeletal rehabilitation programs. The clinical knowledge, content and data is from 45,000 use cases (patients) and these form the foundation of TrackActive Me.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: OpenActive accelerator provides us with the unique opportunity to work with like-minded people who want to improve population health through technology that facilitates uptake of exercise and physical activity.


Founder: Dr. Sean Radford, CEO

One sentence sum-up: An award-winning AI personal running coach, solving the problem of keeping runners fit, healthy, and injury free.

What is TrainAsONE?: TrainAsONE is a personal AI running coach that solves the problem of keeping runners of all abilities fit, healthy and injury free whilst training to reach their goals. This is achieved by providing each runner with their very own AI-powered training plan that constantly adapts to the user’s individual lifestyle and every run they perform or miss. TrainAsOne has offices in Norwich and in London.

Why they’re excited to take part in the accelerator: We want to use OpenActive data to make running more compelling for the less active, and to encourage additional complementary non running activities. Our initial goal is to extend our personalised training to include non run workouts linked to available gym and personal trainer sessions, and directly incorporate running events and relevant locations. In addition, we’re keen to work with the other startups on the accelerator – enhancing their offering and helping people start running, and stay engaged, healthy and injury free.