Nike has revealed the first entrants to its Nike+ startup accelerator program, and with it gives a guide as to where its fitness platform is heading. The company first announced its intention to expand the Nike+ ecosystem to a suite of third-party software, hardware, and services back in December 2012 by launching a startup accelerator in collaboration with TechStars. Now, it's chosen ten companies that it feels can leverage the Nike+ platform and NikeFuel points to push its established fitness platform in new directions.
Startups that will benefit from a $20,000 investment include CoachBase, a coaching app for web and iOS; FitDeck, which makes digital playing cards that randomize your workout routine; and GeoPalz, a company that's developing a number of step-tracking apps. GeoPalz was at CES this January showing off a proprietary Bluetooth pedometer and app suite that aimed to get kids fit. While we liked the premise, we found it lacked in execution — as with all of the selected companies, it's hoped that Nike's money and expertise will help them to perfect their products. The other seven successful startups are:
- GoRecess: Helps users find, book and review fitness activities.
- Chroma.io: An indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity.
- GoFitCause: Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities.
- HighFive: Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve their goals by rewarding them along their journey.
- Sprout At Work: Provider of corporate wellness solutions leveraging social and gamification tools to inspire employees and empower employers.
- Incomparable Things: Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues.
- RecBob: Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play.
The companies will now head to Portland, Oregon to develop their products under the watchful eye of a mentor. Nike has selected mentors from within its ranks, as well as from other successful companies like Facebook, Spotify, and Foursquare. Each startup will spend three months at the Nike+ Accelerator, where they'll be provided with "development tools, offices, technical platforms, and support." It'll be interesting to see how these companies modify their products to fit into the Nike+ ecosystem.