Syncoach platform allows athletes to easily connect with their coach
Founder eyes global market but is forced to postpone app launch due to coronavirus
Nicolas Mejri set up Syncoach two years ago
While endurance sports are usually an individual effort at competition level, participants generally prefer to train and get coached in groups. Despite this, there is a dearth of reasonably priced solutions to help coaches manage their groups and monitor their training, says Nicolas Mejri who set up Syncoach two years ago to fill the gap.
“As a passionate runner, I was frustrated by the lack of efficient communication tools at my club. The training plans were sent by email on an Excel spreadsheet, so they needed to be printed and kept accessible. There was also no real follow-up on the training with the coach,” Mejri says.
“Syncoach will act both as a training log for athletes and a direct line of communication to their coach and club. They will have access to feedback and to our training analysis to benchmark their workouts while the group communication and social features will help them to stay motivated when they can’t attend group training. For us, training and socialisation are interconnected.”
Mejri says clubs and coaches are currently juggling multiple applications to manage different elements from subscriptions and contacting athletes to distributing training plans. They also have no easy way of accessing athletes’ training data to provide feedback. “Syncoach will rationalise all of this and make all the relevant information available on one platform, no matter what connected hardware or applications the athletes are using,” Mejri says.
Syncoach is both a web platform and a mobile app and is focused mainly on endurance sports. “All that can be automated is automated, from calendars to training and health data. All that needs to be visualised is done simply,” Mejri adds. “This means athletes and coaches can concentrate on what matters: giving feedback, learning together and progressing.”
Mejri moved to Ireland from France four years ago and his background is in computer science, maths and finance. He holds a master’s degree in finance from the Institut d’Administration des Entreprises in Grenoble and has worked for Crédit Agricole as an analyst and at Lehman Brothers in Paris as a hedge fund manager. Prior to setting up Syncoach he was fund manager and head of index management at French investment company TOBAM’s Dublin operation. Mejri is a competitive sportsman with podium finishes in ultra-long distance running. He also cycles and does triathlon.
“I always wanted to start my own business but I wanted to wait until I was financially secure,” he says. “I had a good job so people were very surprised I was willing to take the risk. But in 2018 it became a question of it’s now or never.”
Mejri has self-funded the start-up and so far, his personal investment has been about €200,000. He has also had support from Enterprise Ireland and from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Local Enterprise Office. Mejri recently completed the New Frontiers entrepreneurs programme at TU Dublin Hothouse and had the coronavirus not got in the way, the ink would be drying on a deal to bring a French investor on board for a 30 per cent stake.
The first public version of Syncoach’s product was launched on the web in February and is being offered for free. The iOS and Android applications are due to follow shortly. The service is aimed at the global market and the plan had been to follow the free version with a premium paid version for clubs and athletes.
However, the pandemic has interfered with this timeline so while the service is freely available on the web, there will be a gap before the mobile app is launched. The premium app will cost about €50 for individual use while clubs/coaches will pay per community and number of athletes. “Our pricing for clubs is not per coach like most of our competitors, so the cost won’t skyrocket,” Mejri says.