This week we had the honor to interview Athanase Kollias, CEO of KINVENT, a company that helps sports and rehab professionals assess progress and build engagement and motivation.
Founded in 2017, KINVENT is a leading player in the fields of physical rehabilitation and sports biomechanics producing innovative measuring and training devices for the facilitation of every day and athletic movements. The company currently has 80 employees and has raised $8M to date. Half is from VCs in France and Greece. The other half comes from business angels coming from sports and rehabilitation. Of note, Raphaël Varane, who is a defender on the French national soccer team, 2018 World Cup Champion, and current Manchester United player, is one of their investors. KINVENT is doing very well financially as it is tripling its revenues every year, and they are looking at $15M-$20M in revenue this year.
Picture: KINVENT team
KINVENT offers an app, KINVENT PHYSIO, a range of 7 connected sensors measuring strength, balance and range of motion of athletes. KINVENT solution helps fasten teams’ rehab process, and assess athletes in one minute. What is also unique about the KINVENT PHYSIO app is that it can understands the baseline of each individuals and uses data from 200,000 patients globally to compare individual data against similar demographics.
Picture: KINVENT 7 sensors in 1 ecosystem
The display of the data recorded by the device sensors is transcribed by the KINVENT PHYSIO App, installed on any iOS or Android terminal. All sensors are capable to assess powerful muscular groups and record in real time, giving an instant biofeedback data on the app.
Picture: KINVENT products in action
Here are some pictures of the KINVENT mobile app and dashboard:
Picture: KINVENT mobile app and dashboard
Here is a video showcasing KINVENT products:
Their products are currently used globally by 11,000 coaches and physios, and 200,000 patients in more than 57 countries. KINVENT has also built the world’s biggest database of grip assessments as they have collected between 50,000 and 70,000 grip assessments. As shown in the picture below, many other elite teams such as PSG, the Brazilian national soccer team, the French national soccer team, SD Padres (MLB), Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Texas (NFL), UFC, INSEP, just to name a few, are using their product today.
Picture: KINVENT’s select sports customers.
KINVENT products are also used by leading healthcare organizations and universities such as Mayo Clinic, HSS, Brooks Rehabilitation, Aspetar, Princeton University, just to name a few.
Picture: KINVENT’s select healthcare customers
📝Show Notes: Through this interview with Athanase Kollias, we touched on his background, his company, product, and competitive advantages. We also touched on the benefits for the teams to use its products. We also discussed his business model and the pro teams using his product today. Lastly we discussed his plans for the next 12 months.
Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Athanase:
On his background and how he got the idea to start KINVENT:
“I've done competitive sports for 10 years, mostly in rowing in both Greece and France. I competed in national championships at the college level”.
“I spent most of my time, not with my girlfriend or my coach, but with my physical therapist. As a patient, I felt there were two things missing: Engagement during sessions as well as progress and follow ups. And during my engineering studies in biomechanics, every teacher always told me to trust facts and numbers, and there was none of it during my rehab”.
“And it was pretty frustrating. So I wanted to help the professional and the patient himself/herself to build better engagements, follow ups and progress. So that's how KINVENT started (…) I wanted to change how sports assessment, rehab assessment and rehab training is done”.
On the KINVENT team located across France, Greece and North America:
“We have been in business for 5 years, and now we are a team of 80 people, located in France where our headquarter is and Greece, where we have a big engineering team. We also have a presence in North America”.
“We are very proud of the fact that we manage everything from the design of sensors and software to the manufacturing, the promotion, the marketing, and sales. Everything is done internally”.
On KINVENT products (app and sensors):
“We built a solution comprised of an app called KINVENT PHYSIO, which is made primarily for health professionals. This app is connected to seven sensors and soon an eighth sensor. Through those sensors we can assess strength training, balance, and motion. We can do this through the use of dynamometers, goniometers, force plates, velocity based training, ECG, and we will soon be adding EMG sensors”.
“Our sensors allow athletes, patients, physical therapists and coaches to have biofeedback data in real time on three key metrics such as strength, balance, and motion through our app in order to take the right decision, put together the correct plan, rehabilitation process, and define the correct training for the athlete or patient”.
On their major focus on professional sports:
“Even though the majority of KINVENT users are physical therapists who have their own clinic, a very big part of our business is about the work we are doing with professional teams located across Europe and North America. We currently work with pro teams in soccer, rugby, handball, volleyball, baseball (MLB), and we are getting into the NFL and the NBA as well”.
On how pro teams are using their products today:
“Our products are used during the rehab process when there is an athlete who is injured. The challenge is to figure out when the athlete is ready to go back to play. There is a very strict process and strict rules and metrics that will allow us to make this decision”.
“The athlete should not go back and play too early, but he/she should not go back too late as well as it costs money to the teams. That’s one of the aspects of KINVENT, and that's why our main app is called KINVENT Physio. The second aspect is about following performance, and especially tracking athletic performance and that’s where we can help teams track strength, balance, and motion of athletes”.
“For example we can analyze jumps, power, max strength, as well as the force, explosiveness, and range of motion of athletes. We can do all this via standardized tests that an athletic trainer or a physio can put in place before the season starts so that they have a baseline and then track progress throughout the season”.
On how KINVENT can help establish the baseline of an athlete and compare it to other athletes in similar sports:
“For example let's imagine that I have an athlete that plays professional rugby in the second division in France. This athlete already plays in a very good championship. But that athlete wants to play in the first division. So how do his metrics compare to pro rugby players in the first division in France? How is his neck strength? How is his explosiveness in jumping? Is it good enough for the first division? This is where KINVENT can help because KINVENT has those types of advanced metrics in pro rugby, soccer, and now baseball where we can help athletic trainers and physios orient the training appropriately”.
On the fact that KINVENT has built the world’s biggest database of grip assessments:
“We are very proud of the fact that we have built the biggest database of grip assessments in the world (…) We have between 50,000 to 70,000 grip assessments that are of good quality”. In total we also have collected data from 11,000 professionals, and 200,000 patients followed”.
On the types of exercises and tests that can be done with KINVENT products:
“For example, with our sensors an athlete can work on his/her grip strength to reinforce his/her grip strength. Let's say that an athlete has 120 pounds of muscle strength in his left hand. With KINVENT you can set up a program in just three clicks which will allow an athlete to work out for 10 minutes in a tempo training, and add 50% to his/her strength”.
“The app is pretty intelligent to put its own levels of difficulty based to the results of the athlete. Typically athletes use our sensors with the physio of a pro team as part of the rehab process, but they can also use it at home as well in their own house”.
On how Raphaël Varane, current Manchester United player, 2018 World Champion with France, and one of KINVENT investors, uses KINVENT:
While announcing his retirement from the French national soccer team, Raphaël Varane also said that he's going to devote himself into the business world with startups, and the first startup that he invested in was KINVENT”.
“Raphaël now plays for Manchester United where they have a very competent medical staff but sometimes Raphaël also wants an external medical opinion, and he has other doctors that he works with”.
“Now what Raphaël does is that he is equipped with KINVENT at his house. And his surgeon has put in place an assessment program so that Raphaël can assess himself through KINVENT at home. And as soon as he gets the result and does the testing, his surgeon gets an update and he can check the results of Raphaël and see how Raphaël is doing in terms of strength and balance”.
On the types of pro teams that they work with today:
“We work with a number of pro teams such the San Diego Padres, the Blue Jays, Cleveland Guardians in the MLB. And very recently we signed the NY Mets.
In the NFL we work with the Houston Texans. In North America we are also focusing on the NBA and the MLS where we already work with the Houston Dynamo”.
“Pro soccer is very important for us in terms of technical challenges. There are so many technical challenges when it comes to following a soccer player because a soccer player is very technical but he/she is not as strong as in other sports like American football for example”.
“So there are lots of skills that we have to assess. So soccer is interesting and that's why we are also into it. And we already work with the Brazilian national soccer team, and the French soccer team who won the World Cup four years ago”.
On their competitive advantage compared to other products out there:
“We worked very hard at KINVENT to have a great user experience which means that even a physio who hasn't studied any biomechanics should be able to work with KINVENT tools in just a few seconds”.
“So imagine a physio that starts at 10 am. At 10.15 am he would already be able by himself to do the first assessment of his patient. So it's very, very fun and easy to put in place. That's one thing”.
“The second thing is the reporting. With all the reports that we do, we always try to make them as easy to understand as possible so that even a patient can understand them. This is very, very important, not only for patients, but also for athletes of major pro teams. They know that they need the data, but they need also to understand that data“.
“Our other competitive advantage is based on the fact that we are the only company in the market that offers just one app capable of controlling everything through that single app. And this is great because you can actually create your own protocols very fast”.
“For example I can build a protocol for a shoulder assessment in which I am going to use the delta force plates. I can also use pumps to do push ups or I can use the motion sensor to do a range of motion. And then I'm going to use the EMG sensors to check muscular activities of athletes. It is done in just one protocol. And the final thing is that you use those same tools and the results of the assessment to build training programs with biofeedback all in the same app”.
On their business model:
“Customers have to pay for one of the hardware products. We can replace the hardware in 2, 3, or 4 years (…) Then there is a subscription for the software, but there is just one common subscription for all the sensors, which is around $1000-$1,500 a year. This subscription gives professionals the ability to put in place remote training programs”.
“Instead of getting just one grip for the team, you can get 30 grips and equip each one of your players with a grip so that every three or four days, each player will be able by himself on his/her phone, to do his/her own test of grip strength or of range of motion, or of jump, whatever”.
On their plan for the next 12 months:
“Our main objective right now is the US and Canadian markets. So we are staffing the team there and we have more and more contacts in major sports leagues and then in physical therapy clinics. We are moving pretty fast. I'm very happy to say that we triple our numbers in the US every year, and I would like to make the same this year”.
“Today the US represents about 7% of our total sales, and in two to three years, I would like it to be at 40% of our total sales. The second thing is about the market itself. So today we are mainly focused in rehab and sports performance. Now the next frontier for us will be fitness and prevention of musculoskeletal diseases. And we want to enable remote monitoring, remote training, and prevention for all those places”.
On their fund raising plan:
“Our business is pretty good in terms of cash flow so we are very happy to say that business is going well. If we do any new fundraising, it would be to go even faster. We already did two rounds of funding. One in 2021 and one in 2019. We may be looking for a new round at the end of 2023 in order to accelerate things in the U.S.”
“Now we aim at tripling our revenues every year, so that's important to say that it’s a pretty good return on investment. I would also point out that we work with the best players in the world, and our team is cutting edge in terms of technology, biomechanics and in human performance. So it's fun, it's nice to work with us”.
On the best way to reach out to Athanase and his team at KINVENT: