Israeli startup helps athletes avoid injury

athletics

PhysiMax aims to rescue professional players plagued by muscle injuries using advanced 3D imaging and analysis.

Ram Shalev and David Kahani founded PhysiMax Technologies, which focuses on treating amateur and professional athletes, back in 2013. Shalev came from the world of engineering and robotics. Kahani’s background was in video. They met when Comverse, where Shalev worked, and Kahani’s Mobixell (now Flash Networks) cooperated. The pair then decided to found a startup for movement analysis, later deciding to focus primarily on athletes.

“We are both sport fans. David is a statistics freak and I used to be a swimmer; today I run and ride,” said Shalev. “In conversations we had with doctors and athletes, we noticed that there was a shortage of data analysis that made no sense - that the quality of movement had not been quantified; each therapist does what they can, but the gaps lead to injuries.”

Shalev explains that the statistics from the US Department of Health and Human Services show millions of injuries a year that can be prevented - almost half of the total - with the right physical therapy. “The injuries are caused because the body was in an avoidable situation.”

There are a number of treatment approaches in professional sports, but Shalev claims that PhysiMax’s technology is unique because it provides comprehensive analysis of athletes’ movements. “We could have focused on medicine, on seniors, on injuries specifically, but we chose sports. It’s the highest possible bar because the movements are faster and more complex. You need much more sensitive sensors than in, say, measuring the ability of a senior citizen to get out of their chair.”

The movement analysis allows PhysiMax to estimate the risk of injury and the fitness level of an athlete before they return to the field.

“No MRI can show you that,” said Shalev. PhysiMax can also identify specific weak spots in the muscle and provide a detailed report for professionals, like coaches, and show what they should focus on. Then, with personalized training, it will be possible to reduce the risk and enhance performance.”

PhysiMax focuses mainly on team sports. “We are more active in team sports like soccer, basketball, and those that require maneuvering and jumping. Our clients include professional sport teams, and we have an agreement with the Wingate Institute, which included our technology in their testing regime.

“Today, Israeli teams, Olympic athletes, Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C., and colleges in Connecticut and Maryland use our product. And we have also been pitching to medical groups that treat athletes,” Shalev said.

PhysiMax uses next-generation 3D cameras from Microsoft, Apple, and Google in its system. “We read the data, upload it to the cloud where our algorithm analyzes the kinematics, and we can almost instantly analyze a person’s every movement,” said Shalev.

The company graduated Microsoft’s accelerator in 2014 and later made its way to the Georgia Institute of Technology in the US. Its product is in beta and already serving clients.

“We have already proven the tech works. The US Military Academy at West Point took our product in 2014 and compared it to 2D analysis. It was proven that we provide reliable analysis, and that the analysis was significantly improved, which opened the door to different notable organizations in the US,” explained Shalev.

The company received investment from LionBird; currently, it is seeking to raise funds from businessmen involved in the sports industry. “Using the funds from the next round of investment we will graduate the beta phase, create business partnerships that will help us quickly roll out in the US market, while we conduct talks with clients in Europe and Japan. Our advantage is that our product is more advanced than what is already on the market,” he said.

But the PhysiMax co-founder hasn’t ruled out an exit. “The sport tech market will undergo a consolidation because some solutions should be offered in one package. We believe that at some point we will be acquired, but it is still early days.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 29, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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