Miomove smart shoes teach how to run correctly. With CzechInvest, they reached the american market
The startup miomove is the developer of a smart shoe insert, or insole for athletes. The company’s participation in american trade fairs with the Czechdemo programme and collaboration with a CzechInvest mentor, former head of Nike Czech Republic Petr Janoušek, are helping it to transition from the phase of prototype development to introduction to the market.
The Czech Republic has been experiencing a running boom in recent years. The fact that it can be done practically anywhere and does not require any special equipment also adds to the sport’s popularity. However, one one thing is important – running technique, which can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the sport and the health of the individual runner.
The startup miomove, which was established by Barbora Malaníková and Daniel Majc in 2017, is developing a unique device for runners. The company is working on a smart insole whose uniqueness consists in pressure sensors placed on the entire surface of the product. These sensors analyse pressure at the point of impact, which is then displayed to the runner in a mobile application. The places where excessive impact occurs are shown in red on the image of the runner’s foot in the app. “The device serves as a personal trainer and physiotherapist in one. It can alert the user to uneven distribution of body weight or unbalanced centre of gravity, which for runners and people generally is valuable information that is not ordinarily visible,” explains miomove co-founder Daniel Majc. In addition to application developers, a team of scientists from the Centre of Polymer System at Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín is also collaborating on the project.
Miomove and CzechInvest
Thanks to CzechInvest’s CzechDemo project, the company attended the TechCrunch Disrupt trade fair in San Francisco in 2018, TechDay in New York in 2019 and CES Las Vegas in 2020. In addition to trade fairs, the company also got involved in 2019 in the CzechMatch project in New York, which is focused on companies that are considering foreign expansion. “Experienced American mentors warned us in advance about the pitfalls of the local market and, at the same time, advised us on how to attract attention there. At the trade fairs there was always strong interest in our product, both among people and among global companies which, besides contacts, gave us incredible motivation to keep working,” says Barbora Malaníková, co-founder of miomove.
The startup underwent professional preparation also in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the mentoring provided by CzechInvest, the company began collaborating with the former director of Nike Czech Republic, Petr Janoušek. “With Petr, we fine-tuned every new prototype and the responses are better and better. At the same time, he advised us with respect to the sales strategy and marketing. At first, we wanted to go to market with the product and sell it to customers. Over time, however, we came to the conclusion that for a small company comprising only a small team of people, a better strategy would be to sell the technology and work on other alternative products, such as in healthcare and manufacturing,” Malaníková adds.
“To have a product is one thing, but in order to sell it, you have to find a common language with the target group.” (Barbora Malaníková, co-founder of miomove)
In 2019, the company won the Vodafone Idea of the Year award, having overcome 174 other projects. With CzechInvest’s support, it also participated in the international Creative Business Cup competition in Copenhagen, to which it advanced after winning the Czech national round in 2018. According to Malaníková, those victories give her and Majc positive and motivating feedback on the product, whose introduction to the market is demanding in terms of both financing and time. Participation in major events is thus an effective way for a company to present itself to potential investors and partners, as well as the public.
The company is currently working on perfecting the application and selecting a suitable partner for collaboration. Therefore, miomove has decided to get involved in CzechInvest’s CzechStarter project, in which it wants to continue with Petr Janoušek’s mentoring for seven more months. Other opportunities to use the technology are presenting themselves, e.g. cooperation with companies where people move among machines and visualisation of workers’ movements, which can prevent collisions.
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments and is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. CzechInvest also accompany startups on the path to doing business. In 2019, it became the guarantor of the National Startup and Spin-off Environment pillar of the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic 2019-2030.
This project is implemented by CzechInvest with funding from the Marketing Program, priority axis 2 – “Development of Business and Competitiveness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises” of the Operational Program Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness 2014-2020.