Jason Mejeur started MaxOne, a digital coaching platform, based on his experiences as a high school and college basketball coach. The app provides a means for coaches and skills-trainers to assign workouts, while also offering young players a video repository of drills and lessons.
Aside from a few integrations, such as one with the movement assessment company Uplift Labs, MaxOne has largely been dependent on athletes inputting their own data from games, practices or the weight room. What’s been missing is that passive, objective data collection from wearable technologies.
That led MaxOne to nearly double their recently announced $3.5 million Series A round (which included NBA superstar Chris Paul as an investor) to $6 million, enabling the company to acquire Own It Tech—which solves the issue of how to interpret wearable data.
Own It Tech uses biometrics such as heart rate variability to provide health and performance insights. That will enable data gleaned from Whoop straps, Oura rings, Fitbits or Apple Watches to be used in the MaxOne app.
“The $96 billion-a-year wearable industry is leaving a pretty significant gap of, ‘What do I do with all this new information that’s being handed out to teams and to consumers?’ ” Mejeur says. “They’re seeing that it’s very real on the frontlines within adoption and engagement.”
Own It was founded by Justin Roethlingshoefer, a former college hockey player turned performance coach, and his fiancée, Alyse Gaulin, a former fashion executive who rose to VP of Christian Louboutin and is now Own It’s CEO. Even as a teenage junior hockey player in his native Edmonton, Roethlingshoefer wore early iterations of heart rate monitors to track his exertion, always keeping in mind the advice of his father: “Talent will get you noticed, but consistency will get you paid.”
Roethlingshoefer later earned a master’s in exercise physiology from Louisville, where he was a graduate assistant under Rick Pitino during Louisville’s 2013 run to the NCAA men’s basketball championship. He consulted for several NHL teams, earned a full-time job with the Anaheim Ducks and co-founded The Hockey Summit, an offseason training camp and tech-infused biohacking clinic for pro players. Roethlingshoefer says he’d use those metrics to inform “how we change their training, their recovery, their nutrition and their supplementation, so that when they went into season it was proactive rather than reactive.”
During that time, Roethlingshoefer happened to witness Magic Johnson speak at a Mastermind seminar—and heard how, at the end of his Laker career, the Hall of Fame point guard asked for the contact info of every season ticket holder in the first two rows at the Forum in order to get lunch, network and set up his post-basketball business life.
Inspired by that, Roethlingshoefer—knowing he’d be on the road an average of 108 days per year—began using LinkedIn to track down entrepreneurs and corporate executives in each city who might be willing to chat.
“I took [Magic Johnson’s speech] heart,” he says, “and I said, ‘I’ve been gifted the privilege to be in a three-letter league that carries a lot of weight, and people will probably meet with me.’ ”
Before long, Roethlingshoefer began getting personal referrals for new meetings. Many of them, including former New York Islanders president Chris Dey, asked Roethlingshoefer for help improving their own performance—not just athletic but in business and in life.
“I started Own It, which was focused on utilizing cellular metabolic data and HRV to solve the health, wellness, performance, longevity blueprints for people that were truly seeking something better,” he says.
The bedrock of Own It’s philosophies are what Roethlingshoefer calls the “eight controllables,” habits and activities that affect HRV: nutrition, exercise, hydration, sleep, immune function, self care, mindset and environment.
“Our body doesn’t know the difference between mental, physical, spiritual or emotional stress,” he says. “Stress is just an internal, neurological reaction to things that we’re exposed to—things we eat, the environments we’re in, the way we sleep, all of these things are just reactions to things around us.”
MaxOne is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., offers coaching support for 26 sports and has partnered with NBC SportsEngine. It became a corporate client of Own It to receive its personalized insights, and then, vice versa, MaxOne built an app for Own It. Halfway through that process, Mejeur approached Gaulin and Roethlingshoefer with an offer to buy the tech portion of their business. (Own It still maintains its one-on-one corporate coaching clientele; Roethlingshoefer is MaxOne’s new chief performance officer while Gaulin is doing business development consulting.)
“The whole world really can use the knowledge of understanding how my daily habits around hydration, nutrition, sleep affect my health and well-being and how I show up for my job every day,” Mejeur says, adding that Own It’s intellectual
property has clear benefits for its customer base of 650,000 athletes. “We can build a scalable system for them, [while] also entering into the corporate space to be able to coach anybody who wants to get better. We’re taking their IP, their ways of coaching, and building it into our platform.”
The recommendations offered by MaxOne previously centered on the suggested workouts, supplemented with video content explaining why and how. That same AI engine will soon support other habits.
“Now we’re able to say, ‘Hey, you should drink more water, and here’s the reasons why…and here’s how: a strategy on how to build the habit of drinking more water throughout the day,’ ” Mejeur says.
The acquisition is opening new markets for MaxOne, which previously had a core user demographic of teenage athletes, from 14 to 18. Now, it is moving not only into the corporate world, but also into college sports. Mejeur says his company has added University of Miami’s football team, among other NCAA Division I programs.
Many of those athletes are closely monitored in the two hours of daily training but not during the other 22 hours of the day.
“The coach is saying, ‘I need to know what’s happening, but I’m already overwhelmed by the amount of data that I’m trying to organize,” Mejeur says.
MaxOne, with Own It Tech, can now provide advice such as turning screens off an hour before bedtime to improve sleep quality and not to eat meals too late at night.
Nutrition and performance coaches have given Mejeur heartfelt thank-you’s for that, telling him:
“You [and the app] are doing the coaching for me. You’re helping our athletes get better without me having to show up with a text message at nine o’clock at night.”
Photo credits: MaxOne; Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images; Own It; MaxOne
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