The startup firm miomove has developed a smart shoe insert or insole for athletes. The company’s participation in US trade fairs with the CzechDemo program and collaboration with a CzechInvest mentor are helping it move from developing a prototype to introducing their product to the market.
As in many countries, the Czech Republic has been experiencing increased interest in running. It can be done practically anywhere and does not require any special equipment. Running technique, though, can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the sport and the individual runner’s health.
The startup miomove, established by Barbora Malaníková and Daniel Majc in 2017, is developing a device for runners. The smart insole has pressure sensors on its entire surface that analyze pressure at the point of impact, which is then displayed to the runner in a mobile application. Places, where excessive impact occurs, are shown in red on an image of a 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 center of gravity, which for runners and people generally is valuable information that is not ordinarily visible,” Majc said.
In addition to application developers, a team of scientists from the Center of Polymer System at Tomáš Baťa University in Zlín is also collaborating on the project.
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,” miomove’s Malaníková said.
The startup also underwent professional preparation 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 with 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.
In 2019, the company won the Vodafone Idea of the Year award, beating 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, so it can continue with Janoušek’s mentoring for seven more months.
Other opportunities to use the technology are presenting themselves, for example, cooperation with companies where people move among machines and visualization of workers’ movements, which can prevent collisions.
Opportunities are also opening up in healthcare. “Our technology can be placed practically anywhere it is necessary to measure pressure or force. For example, it could be used by parents to encourage proper development of their children’s soles and by diabetes patients and stroke victims who in many cases have to learn how to walk again,” Majc said.
For more information about the miomove project visit www.miomove.cz.