A number of Israeli startups, primarily in the health field, presented their technology and innovations to senior management representatives of the Israel Start-Up Nation (ISN) professional cycling team which is set to compete for the very first time in the Tour De France as a new entrant in the World Tour this year.
The cycling team will work alongside some of the startups on pilot projects, to merge their relevant technology with the team’s objectives, according to Start-Up Nation Central (SNC), the Israeli non-profit organization that tracks the local innovation ecosystem. The technologies are meant to help the cyclists better prepare, monitor and optimize performance based on advanced innovations that can track training load, nutrition, and sleep, among other factors.
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The presentations took place this week at the Tel Aviv offices of SNC, which had a hand in helping to set up the team with the Israel Cycling Academy. The organization also lent its name to the team as a nod to Israel’s earned reputation as the country with the most startups per capita in the world. The establishment of the team, owned by Israeli-Canadian philanthropist Sylvan Adams and Israeli businessman Ron Baron, was first announced last month.
SNC said that a specialized team from its organization studied the needs of the riders and coaches before filtering the Israeli startups that could deliver innovative solutions for the team.
“We joined the team’s training and met with the team’s professional managers to see and understand what technological solutions could bring value to the cyclists and the coaching team. After a thorough overview of the field, we introduced them to eight Israeli startups, which is just the beginning of the process. We hope to see some of the technologies integrated into the team’s platform and hopefully they will help the team produce results,” said Talia Shekel, Strategic Partnerships Manager at SNC, in a statement.
The 2020 Tour De France season will be the first time an Israeli team will compete in cycling’s most prestigious race which is also the world’s third most-watched sports event after the Summer Olympic Games and the World Cup. SNC said it presented an excellent opportunity to present Israeli innovation to the billions who watch the race all over the world.
The team will carry 30 riders from 16 different nationalities, including four Israelis: Itamar Einhorn, Omer Goldstein, Guy Niv, and Guy Sagiv. Some of the sport’s most experienced riders including Andre Greipel, a professional road cyclist from Germany, Dan Martin, a two-time Tour de France stage winner from Ireland, and Dani Navarro, a pro cyclist from Spain, are also on the team.
In total, eight Israeli startups presented their solutions. These included Physimax Technologies which built a platform to help track and improve musculoskeletal wellness and performance through data-driven analysis; Zone7 which helps analyze data from wearables and video, track medical condition and performance, and forecast injuries; Nutricco, a nutritional guidance system that helps users track, calculate and manage their daily nutritional balance; and Sleeprate, a tracker app that combines sleep monitoring, assessment, and therapy.
ISN Performance Director Paulo Saldanha who is in charge of maximizing the capabilities of the team’s cyclists said the presentations were “very impressive.
“This exposure to the startup high-tech ecosystem allows us to filter relevant companies and to apply the technology with some of the best athletes. This is a win-win scenario whereby the start-ups improve their products, and our team increases its opportunity to perform to the highest level,” he added.
Kjell Carlstrom, Team ISN Manager said that the “first round of introduction to startup companies at the SNC premises was a real success. It was great for us to listen to the innovative technologies and services that the companies presented. We are sure that both ISN and the startup companies can benefit greatly from this partnership and these encounters.”
ISN co-owner Sylvan Adams also expressed his satisfaction with the results of the presentations.
“Israel has the largest number of startups per capita of any country in the world, so it is entirely fitting that our principal sponsor is Start-Up Nation Central,” Adams said.
“This will give our Israel Start-Up Nation team access to cutting-edge technologies, a secret weapon of sorts as we embark on our first season in the World Tour. We recently had several emerging sports technology companies present their products to ISN, and that’s just the beginning of this exciting collaboration,” he added.
Adams is a cycling enthusiast who played a major role in helping to build the Middle East’s first indoor velodrome in Tel Aviv and bringing the Giro d’Italia to Israel last year where the multiple-stage bicycle race from Italy kicked off its “Big Start” in Jerusalem. Baron is the co-founder of the Israeli Cycling Academy, established in 2014 in Jerusalem as Israel’s first professional cycling team, with a vision to bring young cyclists “to the highest level of the sport.”