I Measure U to launch Kickstarter campaign for consumer running app

I Measure U, a developer of body-movement measuring technology, is soon to launch a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise at least $US500,000 to help commercialise a consumer app for runners.

Company co-founder Mark Finch said the minimum target was $US500,000 but he hoped to raise up to $US5 million-to-$US6 million in the campaign which will launch in early March. The app will be released on the US-based RunKeeper fitness platform which has more than 30 million users worldwide.

Kickstarter, which allows creators to fund their projects, has been available to kiwi companies since November 2013. It currently has 20 crowd-funding projects on the go here. Donors pledge funds to support a project, often in exchange for a reward, with developers having set deadlines in which to raise the targeted amount.

I Measure U was set up in May 2013 by Finch and co-founder Thor Besier. Its point of difference is through fusing sensor data with physics-based computational models to measure human body movement.

Finch said the money raised would help release I Measure U's first consumer-based product which gives runners get instant feedback via a smartphone or smartwatch.

"It's using the same sensor that is in all of our stuff and gives real-time feedback on their technique to reduce the risk of injury," he said.

I Measure U has worked for the past year with Harvard University biomechanist Dr Irene Davis who is an expert on the mechanics of barefoot running. The research has been fed into the app so it can give runners advice on their technique when barefoot running.

The app will be sold through Runkeeper, a GPS app that allows users to track their fitness activities such as running, walking and cycling. It has made it easy for other developers to plug into RunKeeper's users' feeds through an open API (application programme interface), and it currently has more than 100 integration partners.

The winner of the University of Auckland's annual Spark challenge in 2013, I Measure U won an $A250,000 contract in March last year with Athletics Australia. That included developing wearable solutions for its elite athletes involved in sprinting, hurdling, javelin and long jump. The solutions help measure training workloads to reduce the risk of injury and also give better training techniques.

Finch said the company had since signed a number of contracts with other national sporting bodies in Australia but had yet to make a deal with New Zealand high performance sports organisations.