Sport and fitness have taken on a new quality with the IT and AI-based technology. On global AI and IT maps, Armenia is taking its own place, with many start-ups developing new products, one of them Immensus. An AI-based fitness application for various sports, Immensus uses computer vision to detect user movement, analyze mistakes and suggest ways of improvement.
AI for sporty types
Aleksandr Simonyan, 25, Immensus co-founder and CEO, specialized in Artificial Intelligence at Northwestern University in Chicago.
“I’m interested in integrating advanced AI methods in sports and providing opportunities for people to train efficiently,” Simonyan explains. “At Immensus, I’m responsible for both the product and technical development. Mostly, I’m working on coming up with machine learning solutions.”
Simonyan and his partner David Harutunyan founded their company in August 2020. They developed a working prototype for the solution they had in mind, carried out a thorough market analysis, and applied to the “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development in Armenia” project under the EU4Business umbrella being implemented by GIZ and received an Idea Seed Stage Grant.
“Our primary objective with this grant was to turn our working prototype into an actual mobile application and engage users,” Simonyan says proudly. “We’ve reached that goal. Right now, our application is available at the App Store and we already have some serious traction. Some 8-10 users are signing in daily and we have more than 100 users overall. Since August 2021, we have received €10,000 and reached all our initial goals: we developed a complete application, finished the UX/UI check-ups, and engaged users.”
The Immensus founders are sure that, because their competitors focus only on either the functionality of a fitness application or its user experience, their product provides computer-vision technology embedded in the smartphone that is both functional and easy to use.
Immensus has already launched a test version for boxing. It can detect and evaluate punches with over 90% accuracy. The application makes it possible to predict fast movements that even the ordinary human eye struggles to detect.
Simonyan says that his company has accomplished several stages of the product thanks to the grant: “Without it, we would have wasted much more time, potentially losing our competitive advantage.”
Helping startup ecosystem development
Mariam Babayan, Project Advisor for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Development and Tech Ventures at GIZ Armenia, considers the Immensus project a real success.
“They developed their Minimal Viable Product or MVP into an actual working product that is available online and has already gained traction and a customer base,” Babayan says. “Immensus was among 6 early-stage startups that received in total of €60,000 in grant funding with 5% co-financing. The next round of the grant programme is expected to start in May 2022.”
The EU4Business-suppored “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development” project fosters accelerated development of project ideas and helps start up teams to develop investible ventures and go to market successfully. The grant programme is synchronized with the Armenia Startup Academy pre-acceleration programme and only successful participants are eligible to receive grants. It helps them to accelerate the knowledge and experience they have gained from the pre-acceleration programme and immediately start working on their product and customer development.
“The EU4Business’s role in startup ecosystem development is immense, as our interventions cover the entire cycle of startup ecosystem development in Armenia, starting with the idea and ending with entering global markets,” Babayan stresses. “Not many projects in Armenia are present in all stages of the ecosystem development. This is the reason why we consider the EU4Business role crucial in this field.”
The EU4Business Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia (ITTD) project is ongoing in Armenia. Its overall objective is to ensure shared, balanced and inclusive growth in tourism and innovative industries. The project is working with innovative tourism ventures in the northern regions of Armenia, providing support to hi-tech and innovative entrepreneurs, organizing international knowledge exchanges for hi-tech researchers, and establishing networks to foster a business culture among students and the general public.
Under the ITTD project, more than 100 ventures have already received support, with has helped sustain or generate a total of 300 jobs, and provided training for over 800 individuals.