Health, Wellness & Biotech

Exclusive: Uplift Labs Picks Up $3M Seed To Improve Human Movement

Uplift Labs wants to improve the way athletes, coaches and trainers collaborate on performance and manage sports and fitness injuries.

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The Palo Alto-based company raised $3 million in seed funding from existing investors Stadia Ventures and DEEPCORE to develop a remote training and coaching platform that is more true to in-person instruction.

As more coaches interact virtually with players, the technology has not kept up, according to Sukemasa Kabayama, co-founder and CEO of Uplift Labs. Kabayama, who has an education tech background running programs at both The LEGO Group and Apple, used to do Crossfit and would injure himself, leading him to wonder what it was about his form and technique that was causing him to not perform at maximum capacity, he said.

“My two co-founders (Jonathan Wills and Rahul Rajan) are heavily into fitness, too, and we began to look at how to improve on movement performance and connection,” Kabayama told Crunchbase News.

Many companies have raised funding for wearable technologies, but those have to be charged and managed, and don’t capture the entire body movement, he added. In addition, the market is flooded with apps for video analytics that record a video, analyze it and send it back.

Instead, Uplift Labs’ approach features a patented Movement Intelligence Platform performing real-time movement analytics that can analyze a golf swing, footwork while playing tennis or someone shooting a basketball, to see where the user’s form should be corrected and their technique improved.

These analytics can be made from the company’s two products: Uplift Capture, an enterprise-level tool for professional sports teams and athletes that provides 3D kinematics and video processing to record, track and analyze key metrics. The second is simply Uplift, a biomechanical data and analysis tool for individual coaches.

“With two cameras, I can get lab-grade 3D biomechanics imagery in real-time,” Kabayama said. “We ensure athletes are moving well and moving to their range of motion, and deliver a way to do this that is seamless, fun and engaging.”

When the company started in 2017, it was working with Major League Baseball teams and a golf instruction company. A year ago, when all sporting games came to a halt, many of Uplift’s clients were trying to make coaching work with other communication tools, but were finding them not built for form correction, he said. Today, the company works with lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, basketball and football teams.

Meanwhile, Kabayama intends to use the new funds for growth, adding more team members in sales, marketing and product development. He calls the company’s roadmap “a game changer” that has early applications for health care, athlete assessment, strength and conditioning.

“Products out there are more of a ‘Simon Says’ model, but the live component is where the accountability is,” he added. “With Uplift, the instructor or trainer spends more time just looking at you and assessing your form.”

Feature photo of Uplift Labs founders, from left, Jonathan Wills, Sukemasa Kabayama and Rahul Rajan, courtesy of company.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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