Leading lights from the worlds of fitness, technology, business and health will join forces in London this March for ActiveLab Live! – a one-day event exploring innovative solutions to the world’s mounting physical inactivity crisis.

As the fourth biggest killer globally, physical inactivity is one of the most pressing issues of modern time and a major priority for governments, businesses and pioneers. As a result, not-for-profit health body ukactive has created ActiveLab Live! to serve as the global launchpad for innovation that will revolutionise the way we move.

Taking place at The Crystal in London on 15 March, the event will combine thought-provoking keynotes and panel discussions with interactive workshops and demonstrations from some of the physical activity sector’s hottest startups.

Speakers already confirmed for ActiveLab Live! include leading BBC technology journalist Kate Russell; space entrepreneur and Mars One CEO Bas Lansdorp; as well as Thought Expansion Network founder Jonathan MacDonald – a leading change advocate who has advised companies including Google, Apple, P&G, Unilever, Nestlé, Microsoft and IKEA.

The event will also see the culmination of ActiveLab – the world’s first physical activity-focused startup accelerator – which was launched last year by ukactive with founding partners AXA PPP and Tech City UK. The intensive programme has seen 12 physical activity startups receive a series of networking opportunities with investors and leading physical activity firms, as well as tailored mentorship and expert workshops on the challenges of scaling a business.

At ActiveLab Live! these 12 companies will showcase their products and take part in a series of live pitches, with the winner receiving the top prize of a premium accelerator toolkit to fast-track their winning concept. Among the concepts vying for the top prize will be a virtual reality chair designed to get computer gamers active, a wireless circuit that inspires movement in the workplace, a ‘fitbit for strength training’, and a fitness-themed community hub for older people.

Developments in data, social media, virtual reality and wearable tech are having a major impact on the physical activity sector, which was forecast to grow in 2016 by £1.1bn (17 per cent) in 2016 in a recent ukactive report. The ActiveLab accelerator has already brought together a stellar cast of innovators and business leaders – such as investor and former David Lloyd Leisure CEO Scott Lloyd, fitness magnate David Giampaolo and Pacific Direct founder Lara Morgan – with ActiveLab Live! expected to stimulate further interest in the latent potential of the physical activity sector.

Steven Ward, Executive Director of ukactive, said: “The convergence of fitness, fashion, health and technology is ushering in a new dawn of opportunity for physical activity and ActiveLab Live! will set out the blueprint for how we convert this potential into tangible societal change.

“The combination of top calibre speakers, lively panel sessions and high-stakes pitches from the ActiveLab cohort means this event will be bursting with useful insights and exciting ideas for anyone interested in the future of physical activity.

“As we’ll hear at ActiveLab Live! from Bas Lansdorp, humankind now seeks to colonise Mars. If that ambition lies within our reach, I believe that solving inactivity does too. It will require transformational innovation to get there but, even if we fail, we will learn a whole lot trying. And that’s more fun than standing still or doing marginally better or worse than we did last year.”

Matthew Ward, ActiveLab judge and AXA PPP healthcare Head of Innovation, said: “AXA PPP healthcare is thrilled to have been involved in the initial judging process for ActiveLab and was impressed by the high calibre of companies involved in the programme.

“The physical activity landscape continues to be a key focus for AXA PPP healthcare and we will continue to help lead innovation in this space for the benefit of our members and the wider health of society.”

For more information on ActiveLab Live! and to buy tickets to the event, visit: http://activelab.co/activelab-live/


ActiveLab Live! Speaker biographies


Kate Russell

Journalist, reporter and author, Kate has been writing about technology and the Internet since 1995. Appearing weekly on BBC technology programme Click she also speaks regularly at conferences and lectures in schools and universities inspiring the next generation of technologists. She has regular columns in National Geographic Traveller magazine and BBC Focus magazine, and her website, KateRussell.co.uk , won the 2015 UK Blog Awards for best individual digital and technology blog. In June 2015 she was voted the 25th most influential woman in UK IT by Computer Weekly magazine. Her second published book, a science fiction novel based in space trading game, Elite: Dangerous, the childhood passion that inspired her love of technology was financed through crowd funding. Kate is also a prolific speaker, commentator and facilitator on the technology scene, often being invited to lecture in universities and speak in schools and at educational events to inspire the next generation of tech enthusiasts.


Bas Lansdorp

Bas Lansdorp is a born entrepreneur with a passion for ambitious projects. He is co-founder and CEO of Mars One, the Dutch foundation that aims to land the first humans on Mars in 2027. Lansdorp sold part of his shares in his former company to finance the start of Mars One. Now, only five years later, Mars One is one of the established names in the world of space exploration. Mars One is currently supported by and partnering with people and organizations such as NASA’s former chief technologist, a Nobel Prize Laureate, an astronaut and the University of Twente. Mars One has contracted established aerospace suppliers like Lockheed Martin. One of the reasons for the success of Mars One is Lansdorp’s enthusiasm, which he transfers to any audience in a contagious way.


Jonathan MacDonald

Jonathan MacDonald is the founder of the Thought Expansion Network and an internationally renowned speaker. His core messages focus on expanding people’s thinking about change, and how that impacts the future, exploring the opportunities that this perpetually changing, digitally and technologically enhanced landscape create. He is one of the few people that companies including Google, Apple, P&G, Unilever, Nestlé, Microsoft and IKEA trust to challenge their thinking and provide new perspectives and avenues of thought, particularly on the topics of disruptive innovation, future trends and how to use change to fuel outstanding business and personal success. Jonathan has been creating and advising businesses for over two decades, and his various accomplishments include Ministry of Sound’s digital strategy, launching a Sky TV channel and becoming the youngest ever Chairman of the British Music Industries Association. As one of the world’s most highly rated speakers, he is a contributor to Forbes and the author of two books, “Business Poison” and “28 Thoughts on Digital Revolution”.


About ukactive

ukactive is the UK’s leading not-for-profit body for physical activity, working with over 4,000 members and stakeholders across the UK. We champion the fun, enjoyment and benefits of being active and we facilitate big impact partnerships across the public and private sector.

We grow the value and importance of physical activity to society as a whole from cradle to grave. This also includes specific sub-sectors where we have developed significant stakeholder relationships including social, political, economic, health, technological, consumer, and financial.

ukactive provides leading research and evaluation, insight and thought-leadership, strategic project and stakeholder management, campaigning and promoting best practice for its partners.

For more information about ukactive, please contact Jak Phillips on 07958 119320, or jakphillips@ukactive.org.uk


What was thinking behind ActiveLab?

Firstly, the bed rock and success where we come from and weight of network are those big major operators, right across the country, public private third sector, small medium and large that are there delivering hundreds of millions of customer visits visit every year and when you talk to their leaders there all interested and keen to see innovation but are really busy.

They’ve got numbers to hit, they have heads down and to be frank, the hundreds of enquiries they get on their LinkedIn from different people pitching them, it’s really hard to sort that and sift out what’s relevant and what’s promising and therefore I think a lot of it gets missed and doesn’t get the audience it deserves, and there’s a disconnect. There’s a huge need for innovation but there’s no point in someone, pitching PureGym on the latest drowning protection system, using hi-tech, missing the fact that PureGym doesn’t have any pools. Navigating the industry is the need that lot of this innovation needs help with is, to understand the priorities of different operators and industry segments. Like, who is particular focused on customer acquisition? Who is focused on adding value through service? Who is focused on analytics? And what are these trends and hot buttons?

So there was a real need there for the biggest operators to have some help with filtering and selection, likewise it’s an immense privilege that we get to see every amazing business plan and sometimes not so amazing business plan for really passionate people who want to make an impact in our industry and make a difference and a lot of them come to ukactive and say we need your help and guidance.

Previously, if you were one of the big major players or suppliers or educators they would join our strategic partner group, they have the resources to purchase our services, our research and insight to guide them. But if you are earlier in your journey we didn’t really have a vehicle to help support those people to help develop and to give them to access to the networks and insights and support and help them on the way in the knowledge that something that could soar from that group that becomes the next thing in the industry and there’s huge benefits to part of the team that helped them on their journey. So we had this whole network of operators really keen to see innovation but in need of help of some quality assurance and filtering and guidance, and then we had this whole cohort of people who we had no way of serving but had high potential, innovating with new concepts and new models.

The third part of the mix, over the last 26 years ukactive being around., we’ve had a huge number of very successful entrepreneurs engage with us as an organisation who’ve done well in this industry and made an awful lot of money who have now moved off to focus their work in other sectors or have even retired to the golf course and their boats. But when you talk to them they retain an absolute passion for health and fitness and you can still see the flicker in their eye when you talk to them about an entrepreneur or a new product or service with high promise. They’re still perched, they can still get interested, and these guys and girls have got huge experience, huge networks and resources to invest, either personally or to help prepare an entrepreneur to take on rather large substantial investment from others.

Active Lab was born outside of a vision of bringing these needs together, we could do a world-first, and launch the first physical activity focussed accelerator. The UK is a global Launchpad market, if it can work in the UK it can easily work in USA and internationally. We set out with a big dream as a global launch pad for physical activity Launchpad of business in physical activity, and we thought we’d dip our toe in the water and test it out this year.