World’s First Fitness Accelerator Program Begins in Fort Worth – Welcome to the City of Fort Worth

Posted on September 16, 2022

Representatives from 10 of the world’s most innovative startups converged on Fort Worth this week to revolutionize the fitness industry with new technologies in a first-of-its-kind fitness accelerator.

The University of North Texas Fort Worth Health Sciences Center has partnered with Techstars – a global investment firm that provides access to capital, one-on-one mentoring and customized programs for entrepreneurs startup – as well as the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County and Goff Capital to start the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator.

Program partners have chosen 10 high-growth, early-stage startups to support and fund over the next three years. The companies were chosen from a pool of hundreds of applicants from around the world. Over the next several months, the owners, innovators and representatives of these startups will settle in Fort Worth, while team members from HSC, Techstars and Goff Capital will guide their ideas from concept to breakthrough technology.

The accelerator focuses on supporting companies that create new technologies, treatments and therapies in the field of physical health in areas such as rehabilitation, physiotherapy, performance and exercise. Selected startups will participate in an intensive 13-week program and benefit from hands-on mentorship, content and curated entrepreneurial programming, funding of up to $120,000, and access to a vast network of mentors, investors, alumni and influential business leaders.

These efforts will culminate on December 8 at Demo Day, when startup leaders showcase their work.

HSC received $4.8 million in funding from the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to launch a physical therapy-focused accelerator program with Techstars. Equity investments in the startups are being made by HSC and Goff Capital totaling nearly $10 million for the three-year project.

“We are very excited to welcome this cohort of Techstars to Fort Worth,” said Robert Sturns, the city’s director of economic development. “All of these companies are doing some really exciting and innovative things in the fitness industry, and their presence here is a real testament to both the strength of our city’s growing health industry, as well as the knowledge market and depth of expertise within Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

About Accelerator

The accelerator represents a collaboration to address the gaps identified by many business-savvy observers in Tarrant County: access to physical therapy and the lack of a true startup accelerator program for innovative start-ups .

This will be the first Techstars Accelerator in North Texas, although the company has hosted more than 80 Techstars Startup Weekends and Techstars Startup Week community events in other parts of the state. In Austin alone, the Colorado-based organization has invested in more than 150 startups that have raised over $1 billion in venture capital to date.

Techstars will also host two Entrepreneurs-in-Residence in the program. Both have expertise in the fitness space and successful track records growing their own startups.

About companies

  • Dallas-based Articulate Laboratories has developed platform technology that enables faster physical rehabilitation through motion-synchronous electrical muscle stimulation. The first application of this platform will focus on quadriceps atrophy and inhibition related to chronic knee conditions or following knee surgery.
  • BOOMROOM, based in Charlotte, NC, is an integrated platform that provides fitness entrepreneurs with the tools and technology to host premium virtual experiences and manage their businesses in one place.
  • GoManda is a digital solution for developing social skills through vocabulary building. It provides a tablet-based flashcard platform that offers teachers the best tool to teach vocabulary.
  • Neurofit creates virtual therapy exercises that assess, monitor and personalize care for neurological impairments. The Toronto startup is producing a digital data layer that uses telemedicine, remote monitoring and digital brain health programs to give patients and clinicians a more proactive way to support the recovery journey.
  • Pulsewave AG’s TempleGuard is a wearable accessory for existing goggles that measures vital signs behind the patient’s ear. The Swiss company’s device combines real-time patient monitoring with AI algorithms to predict the development of cardiovascular disease.
  • Toronto/Chicago-based Stabl’s product is a fully web-accessible computer vision platform that automatically tracks patients’ biomechanics as they perform their recovery exercises. Movement data is fed to the patient’s clinical team members’ dashboard, where they can monitor the patient’s recovery, identify potential health risks, and communicate with the patient.
  • For busy, health-conscious people who don’t have the time or inclination to hit crowded gyms or visit a physiotherapist, German company STRAFFR is the first truly smart resistance band that connects to an app to deliver personalized and effective functional training, enabled by real-time feedback and supported by certified trainers and professional athletes.
  • Tampa-based Verapy helps providers/payers increase compliance and reduce no-show rates by leveraging XR technologies to gamify fitness and work-related exercise.
  • Wellest Inc. has created an industry-leading AI coach for managing end-user nutrition and activity plans. The San Francisco startup’s deeply personalized and dynamic plans optimize users’ body composition to help them look their best, feel healthier, and live longer, while maintaining the flexibility to live life.
  • DC-based ZAMA Health develops behavioral health integration for any athletic program, fitness business, or gym.

Photo: Trey Bowles (center), CEO of the Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, with the 10 companies that will be part of the program.

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Ryan H. Bowman