The following article was copied from the SACC-USA website. The original article may be found here.
Attacking the final hurdle of the 400m finals at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, American track athlete Dalilah Muhammad had only one hope for holding off her upstart challenger: to win, she would need to set a new world record. A mere two days earlier in Qatar, in a comparable display of speed and power, former University of Florida track star Grant Holloway exploded out of the starting blocks in the men’s 110m hurdle final, dictating the race and blistering ahead of the world’s #1 ranked hurdler to capture the gold.
8,000 miles away from the action in Doha, at his home-base in Austin, Texas, Peter Holmertz watched Muhammad’s record-setting performance and Holloway’s upset win with a swell of pride and accomplishment. As President of 1080 Motion Inc., the Swedish international was witnessing the successful culmination of years worth of design, research, legwork, and execution—nearly 20 elite athletes who have trained with 1080 Motion’s robotic resistance systems competed successfully on the global stage at the 2019 World Championships.
“Building credibility is crucial,” Holmertz says, describing the strategy for penetrating the professional sports market and a need to balance urgency with patience. “But it takes time for people to validate and incorporate new technology into a very complex and tradition-bound ‘industry’ like sports.”
Headquartered in Stockholm, 1080 Motion was founded by a former track and field athlete and a university engineering student, building upon Sweden’s rich tradition in robotics and sports science by developing a software-controlled resistance training system. Initially supported by the Robotdalen technology incubator in Sweden, 1080 Motion’s high performance tools immediately offered coaches, athletes, and rehab professionals a more precise method of controlling resistance (or assistance) in training.
In bringing the system to the North American market, the question for Holmertz was how to establish a strong foothold in an industry where the most effective sales tool is…having a strong foothold in the industry.
“The best way to acquire new clients is to make sure your existing ones are well taken care of,” Holmertz says. “If you do it right, your customers will carry the message for you and put you in front of opportunities you didn’t even know existed.”
A Day In the Life
Holmertz has been based in the USA for 13 years, but in a typical month he spends less than half of his time in Austin, instead logging thousands of miles to criss-cross the nation on visits to professional franchises, university athletic programs, human performance research facilities, private training facilities, physical therapy and rehab centers, and countless industry conferences. Being present and building key relationships has paid off—1080 Motion’s current high profile clients include the LA Kings, Portland Trailblazers, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Oregon, LA Angels, Detroit Redwings, USC, the University of Minnesota, Clemson…. and the list goes on.
Supporting the company’s efforts in North America, at the 1080 home office in Stockholm, experts in biomechanics, engineering, physical performance, and physical therapy pursue further advancements with the technology and training systems. In addition, 1080 Motion’s R&D and manufacturing are based in Västerås and Gävle, Sweden, respectively.
“As member of SACC Texas, I’ve found the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce to be a great resource,” Holmerts says. “The organization provides an important network of people with an affiliation to Sweden, as well as a direct line to fellow entrepreneurs for guidance and testing out new ideas.”
Next Stop, Tokyo
While events like the World Track and Field Championships showcase 1080’s current influence in sprint-based disciplines, Holmertz looks to continue the strategy of building credibility one customer and one sport at a time. Looming on the calendar in 2020, along with all the annual key sporting highlights, the Tokyo Olympic Games offer the opportunity to show the full breadth of sports and athletes who utilize 1080 Motion’s systems in their training program.
In the meantime, 1080 will continue to provide a unique, effective training stimulus for athletes across North America: developing acceleration out of the starting blocks and max speed down the runway for university track athletes; training rotational power and swing speed for professional baseball players, tennis players, and golfers; enhancing the ability to deliver and withstand force for elite players on the football gridiron, hockey rink, basketball court, and soccer pitch.
“Even as we continue to scale up our organization and promote expanded research in both sports performance and sports medicine, we always keep in mind that everything we do at 1080 begins with helping athletes get faster, stronger, and more powerful,” Holmertz says. “And that’s also where the real payoff occurs—when we can watch the athletes who train with our systems go out and succeed on the biggest stages in sport, that’s, well, gold.”