Who & What Is Team8?
Team8 is a startup focused on improving the health of kids around the world. They want to achieve that through gamification and wearable technology. So they developed a connectable watch (of the same name) for primary aged kids (around 6-12) or to be more specific – it’s for children from the age they are capable of reading (for themselves) to the age that they are allowed to have a smartphone (and that varies for different families). The three main goals of the watch are: to let the children have fun while encouraging them to exercise and stay healthy and to enable communication with their parents.
How Does It Work?
The first thing a child finds out about the watch is the superhero they can create – they can choose a boy/girl superhero, the colour/design, the name, the superpower. Then there are the games they can play with using the superhero character they created. Next, they will find out that in order for them to play those games and activities on the watch, their superhero needs energy. Their superhero gains energy when the kids expend energy – that means when the kids are active and doing sports and exercising (while wearing the watch), the watch ‘measures’ them and ‘feeds’ their superhero. There are progressions in those games and activities to make things interesting. For example, the superhero characters evolve and become stronger when kids do well in the games or gain points. Kids can invite their friends (who also have the watch) and their superheroes to form a team to join in on the adventures or play against each other.
Then at the ‘backend’ of it is a health platform that journals their daily activities and motivates them to be active. The general rule is: an hour of activity gives them an hour of screen playtime. Besides that, a camera on the watch allows the child to take pictures of their food (packaging barcodes) and provides warnings for allergies. Parents can create a health profile for their child and if they are unwell or have a health condition that requires medication, reminders can be created on the watch so the child receives notifications. Parents have oversight of their kids’ physical and virtual activities and can play an active role by setting agendas or rewarding good behaviour. Further to that, parents can communicate with their children through the watch using SMS or phone calls. The watch’s geolocation service also gives parents a peace of mind knowing their kids are where they are supposed to be and contact them if they are concerned.
Why Was It Created?
Stéphane Daucourt, the founder of Team8, grew up in France not being very active nor motivated to exercise. He was quite chubby growing up or as what they call in France a ‘pretty baby’. Things did not change much for him until he grew up to be overweight and was close to 160kg. Then in 2003, he lost 80 kg in one year. Reflecting on that and his growing up years, he wondered what could have been done differently to have prevented him from becoming obese. No one could push him to do sports or watch what he ate. He thought about what was motivating for him during his childhood years – games, video games, and superheroes. That led him to the idea of Team8 – using games, video games and superheroes as an early age introduction to active and healthy living.
It sounds pretty straightforward and there are actually lots of smartphone apps out there that combine gamification and sports/fitness. But a typical smartphone is way too much for a kid to handle on a daily basis. Then when you think about tracking physical activities, even adults who either go out for a run or bike or gym workout may not like strapping a smartphone on themselves. Many instead rely on their smartwatch or fitness bands or sports specific wearable. So when you put all these considerations together, it is no surprise that it all points to a connectable watch solution.
Where Are They At Now?
Team8 started back in 2015 in France. They did their first fundraise in 2018 and also showcased their first version at CES. They are currently working on expanding into the Asian market and they are trying to set up an office in Taipei, Taiwan. They have been doing that for the past year. Part of the reason for picking Taiwan is that their hardware partners are based there. While doing that, they crossed path with the team from Hype Sports Innovation who was going to run their Hype Spin Accelerator program in Taiwan. They found that there was a lot in common in terms of Hype’s values and vision – wanting to create a positive impact on sports and health. In addition, the mentors in this particular program would be very helpful to Team8 when trying to find local/regional partners and Business-to-business (B2B) customers, as well as navigating conversations with various manufacturers and suppliers. So it was an easy decision for Team8 to sign up to the Taiwan accelerator program.
Hype Spin Accelerator Taiwan + Covid19
Due to the Covid19 situation, the accelerator program was moved into a virtual format so that participants who are restricted from travelling can still take part. But fortunately, for Stéphane, he was already in Taipei and he is still able to attend some in-person meetings which he values immensely. He recounts his experience travelling to Taiwan when Covid19 was just starting to gain global attention. His family in France was initially very anxious about him being in Taiwan. But in 2 weeks, things just flipped around and the virus situation started to escalate in France and Europe while Taiwan was able to manage the crisis well enough and got it under control. In fact, Stéphane feels that this is a great opportunity for Taiwan to continue to grow and possibly move ahead of the rest of the world. So being where he is now and looking at the opportunities available to him, he feels very fortunate. Although he has that ‘advantage’, Stéphane is not slowing down. He spends 6 hours a day working on Taiwan time participating in the accelerator and an additional 8 hours working with his team back in France.
Goals And What Next
At the moment, Team8 has this first version of the hardware and they are working on the second version with a local Taiwanese hardware company. One of their goals during this accelerator program is to have this second version, even if it is a prototype, ready to be showcased on the accelerator demo day on July 18th. Another goal for them is to establish some new B2B customers, which is part of their roadmap strategy towards reaching more end customers. So through the accelerator program, they are aiming to get the support they need to ensure the collaboration between the hardware company and themselves work well. Stéphane believes this is one of their main challenges right now – navigating collaborations or trying to set up collaborations with big local corporates, whether its manufacturing partners or B2B partners. Having the mentoring team at Hype who are local has given him more confidence because they (the mentors) not only have the experience in both startups and big corporates, they are familiar with the local culture and can provide the right guidance to avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Finally, in Stéphane’s mind, Team8 is a huge project with lots of potentials. He believes that it is so big that they cannot handle it on their own. Thus they are continually on the lookout for partners – people and organisations that have expertise in their own field. Whether its in the telecommunications industry, food and beverage industry, insurance, sporting brands, electronics manufacturers, gaming developers or more, there is potential for growth in so many areas going forward. He says it makes no sense to try to make everything on their own. Instead, it will be so much better when integration and collaboration can take place.
So for anyone who is interested in what Team8 is doing or can see a possible partnership, feel free to reach out to them. The best place to contact Stéphane is through their website. They are also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. With that, I leave you with their product promotional video. Thanks for reading!