How I Turned a Running Setback into a Successful Startup
adidas Platform A startup, Running Care, reflects on its roots in injuries and a passion for sport.
Imagine being told you’ll never run again. That was the news I received in 2015 after years of ignoring little niggles that would prove to have a detrimental effect on my knee. But while nursing my disappointment, I realized I could potentially do something to stop other avid runners ending up in the same boat.
Fast forward five years and meet Running Care, a startup I cofounded with K-Geoffrey Wandji, a sports medicine doctor, to turn my misfortune into the running world’s advantage. Running Care is a mobile app that helps prevent runners from injury through personalized health advice and programs. By analyzing your run, and any injuries that may have arisen from it, we can assist with exercises and tailor-made medical advice that will keep you on track to your next run.
The end of my training road starts a new business
Looking back, I had all the digital apps I needed to help track my time or where I ran, but nothing to help me track my medical injuries. After the pain got a little too much, I went to a GP and he told me I should stop running.
So, it was a very sad day when I was told I would no longer be able to have that outlet.
With experience scaling up several tech startups I decided together with K-Geoffrey to mix our expertise to create a way to give runners additional support, via an app. Seeking the advice of sports medicine doctors, we designed Running Care – an app that performs medical check-ups and allows users to report injuries.
Bringing my setback to market
We founded Running Care in 2016 with a pilot in France. After having won several innovation awards, we knew it was ready to bring to a bigger audience. A year later, adidas France and their call for startups attracted our attention.
I want people to practice sport in a healthy way, so aligning our medical and digital expertise with a global leader in sport made sense.
The Station F incubator pitch was the next challenge we faced. Pitching day was intense at the adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany. We were up against 29 other teams but luckily, we had a good understanding of what we could bring adidas, the brand, and the running community they look after through their Runtastic app. Our goal was to make this kind of technology available to everyone, everywhere, no matter where they are or how much they run. We knew adidas would understand this and support our passion.
Finding the right running partners
The adidas fit was clear from the start – a likeminded company and a global player who already has access to people at that scale, meant collaboration was natural. Station F is a hub for innovation from all kinds of industries. Quite often when we get off the train from Lille where we are based we run as a team straight to Station F itself. It is a good feeling to see how far we have come in such a short amount of time.
Right now, we are focused on running, but we want to roll this out for every kind of physical activity in the long term. We want an entire ecosystem that supports everyone who plays sport. That’s our end goal.