When Jules — “Tony” — deGreef conceived Mettis Trainer, he knew he was onto something, literally. The soles of his feet opened his eyes to the opportunity to revolutionize how people walk, run or engage in virtually any activity requiring balance.
A sports executive and entrepreneur bringing more than 30 years experience in business, deGreef established Bend Tech LLC to innovate sensor wearable technology so it becomes virtually unobtrusive yet highly practical for any lifestyle. Whether its our first step after surgery or the last step finishing a marathon, deGreef knew the single most important key to performance is proper balance.
More importantly, he also owns the single most effective tool to developing and maintaining proper balance — it’s called the Mettis Trainer®.
The business and product development began taking shape in 2012. Over the past three years, a vision, goal and product have been clarified:
• Vision — To revolutionize athletic performance with smarter (innovative) training tools.
• Goal — To explore ways to incorporate our core sensor technology, the Bend Sensor®, into other new and existing brand products, currently within the Wearable Industry.
• The Mettis Trainer® — Fresh off three years in development and beta-testing, the core technology and system await patent approval, and has been incorporated into the first application, a shoe insert and mobile app companion.
According to deGreef, Bend Tech is currently balancing its business future by focusing on the following areas:
1. Application Exploration — Balance is involved in so many activities, finding practical ways to assist people with Bend Tech’s core technology can cut a broad swatch of market opportunity, even beyond the projected Market Growth (see below) in wearables alone.
• New Products — Bend Tech’s technology can be applied immediately to existing shoes (therapeutic, athletic) or integrated into new shoes. But the core technology could be applied to a variety of scales, fitness equipment, and flooring.
• Sport-Specific — Golf and running shoes alone provide significant opportunity for shoes, however, balance plays a role in many other sports, Ex. Skiing which involves a boot typically molded to the athlete’s foot. Bend Tech’s sensor could assist the skier, even calibrated for the slope.
2. Distribution Channels — With the core technology protected, and the first product application ready for market, Bend Tech is proceeding into 2016 through the following channels:
• E-tail — The Mettis Trainer brand would continue to be established, with high-profile, high-tech and relevant content driving the lifestyle brand.
• Retail — Developing packaging and pricing that would be attractive to retail outlets, including golf stores.
• New Products — Increasing distribution by delivering core technology to new applications and products.
• New and Existing Shoes — The ground floor opportunity is to incorporate into a variety of types of shoes including therapeutic and athletic.
More Mettis Trainer
(Patent Pending: filed 10/4/14 #62/059.883, United States Patent Application No: 12/604,951 — Foot Function Sensors (FFS). BendTech has developed a shoe insert that communicates with smart phones and other wireless devices to get real-time analysis for balance and performance. Utilizing the core Bend Sensor® technology, the product has many advantages over other wearables, including ability to sustain moisture and contamination. be more reliable and affordable than the current competition. For product and mobile app details, go the Mettis Trainer website .
The wearable industry is projected to grow exponentially over the coming decade. According to the report by Vision gain, the global wearable technology market will attain a value of $5.26 billion this year, while Credit Suisse values the industry at somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in the next two to four years. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), global shipments of wearables are expected to reach 19 million units this year and will soar to 111.9 million units by 2018. Major multinational corporations, such as Intel have also acknowledged the size of this growing market. According to Neil Cox of Intel Europe, “We expect 500 million wearables to be sold annually by the end of the decade.”
Activity and sport trackers are estimated to be the most popular wearable devices this year accounting for almost 50% of global shipments. Currently, consumers have applied wearable technologies in the following lifestyle categories:
• Personal health and fitness management
• Management of disease within healthcare
• Performance enhancement in elite sport
Tracking the Tracking Movement
Numerous market indicators point to rapid growth opportunity for Bend Tech, including:
• Activity trackers are the main devices used in personal health and fitness management.
• One in 10 US adults own an activity tracker.
• Prominent international shoe manufacturers have demonstrated a very high demand for “Smart Shoes” that show real-time data and the ability to collect data for future training and comparisons.
• Golf shoes and golf training is a multibillion dollar a year industry and increasing at an amazing rate.
• There are 40 to 50 million runners in the U.S. alone. 50% of those suffer significant injuries each year. We can help prevent many of those injuries.
• The running shoe market alone is a $50-60 Billion a year industry.
By David Jahr