Technology company Forciot is aiming for the international market. It is looking for customers like large sports equipment manufacturers – and promises to take them to the IoT era. The next step on this road is Slush, for which Forciot qualified in the Tampere region pitching competition in late October.
Tampere-based technology company Forciot is developing a force measurement system that can be integrated into the sports shoes, for example, to provide more information about a single jump than even the most demanding athlete could ever hope for. The company’s specialists are interested in combining technology and sports.
“Technical innovation, a quick development cycle and trying new things in practice are a source of inspiration for our company. Sports, on the other hand, are our dear hobby and part of our daily lives, so it is easy to be super excited about this work,” says Maria Alm, CEO of Forciot.
Forciot started with a couple of people in autumn 2015. The number of people exceeded 10 in less than a year, and the company intends to keep growing fast. Relying on research data gained from Tampere University of Technology as well as expertise and insight in mobile technology, for example, the company has set its goals high: Forciot is aiming for the international market and looking for customers like large sports equipment manufacturers.
“Forciot’s specialists are used to making products on a scale of millions, so we know how to scale the business globally,” says Tytti Julkunen, CMO of Forciot.
Measuring sports and exercise performance is gaining in popularity, since not only top athletes but also an increasing number of fitness enthusiasts want to monitor their development systematically. Forciot is taking the development in a direction where people do not need to carry separate measuring devices with them but the measurement technology is integrated into their sports equipment, such as shoes, insoles or, say, boxing gloves. The first demo products will be launched and introduced at Slush.
“There, we will demonstrate how our force measurement system works in practice. Things like take-off power and force can be measured highly accurately in real time, and the information can be utilised in optimising the training programme and analysing the recovery, for example,” Alm describes.
Making use of stretchable and printable electronics in a measurement system is an innovation that will give Forciot the chance to take the world by storm. Stretchable electronics are so adaptable and durable that they will work reliably in sports insoles, for example.
“We just made an insole demo that enables the monitoring and analysis of not only power but also the person’s weight distribution and centres of gravity during the performance,” Alm says.
“Thanks to stretchable electronics, technology can be integrated into a wide variety of products and application areas. It feels like whenever you talk to someone, you find new ideas and opportunities,” Julkunen continues.
The real-time measurement of power and force also has numerous other industrial application possibilities, logistics and health care. Like many other industrial companies, sports equipment manufacturers are also increasingly turning into IT companies, with all sorts of products now being equipped with sensors, software and an Internet connection. IoT is being introduced in machines and shoes alike.
“In this sense, Finland’s good reputation in data security benefits our export efforts. Our team members have gained strong expertise in Nokia’s mobile phone and network business, so data security and user authentication solutions are our forte,” Julkunen says.
Forciot won the Tampere region’s pre-Slush pitching competition at the end of October and thereby qualified for November’s Slush event. Julkunen was the person pitching for Forciot in the competition. She thinks that the local competition offered useful contacts and was an inspiring event altogether.
“When you get three minutes to speak, you have to refine your message and think about what is relevant for the listener,” Julkunen says.
Alm and Julkunen think that Slush is an extremely important event for the company, bringing together start-ups, world-class investors and technology scouts. Being seen at Slush is a good thing for a young company.
Forciot will also be one of the pitching competition finalists presenting on the main stage of Smash, a new official Slush side-event dedicated to sport, technology and start-ups.