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Mymo, a North East based Tech Start-up

Craig Downs is CEO of mymo, a North East-based tech start-up which has recently launched its newly developed product.

Tell us about your business

I set up mymo in 2016 having spotted a gap in the market. I’m a keen runner and after poor in-store sales advice, I ended up getting injured from wearing the wrong type of trainers.

We’ve developed an innovative new product which uses the latest in digital technology to help people buy the correct type of running shoes. It’s an easy to use piece of wearable tech. A sensor, that is worn in a sock, measures your running gait and uses artificial intelligence to match your running style to shoes on the market – sharing the unbiased, data-driven information via an app.

How have you worked with Northumbria University to date?

We worked with technology experts at Northumbria University, led by Dr Alan Godfrey from the Digital Health and Wellbeing group, to develop the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm, which converts the raw data from the sensors and matches your running gait to a database of all available running shoes – identifying those that are suitable for your personal running style.

We were one of the Innovation Pilot projects as part of Creative Fuse North East, which was how we were first introduced to the University, and have since also worked with Northumbria as part of the GX project which enabled us to explore potential wider uses and benefits of our product. Mymo sensors and technology were used as part of an initial study into the relationship between gait and ageing diseases.   

What would you say are the key things you’ve gained from this collaboration?

As a commercial organisation, it was important for us to be able to collaborate with academics; we knew that to take our product to market we’d need to prove unequivocally that it works.  Our collaboration with Northumbria University has enabled us to do just that. Working with leading AI experts, we have successfully developed a product which we can prove is effective. 

The current AI algorithm is performing at 96.4% accuracy for shoe recommendations and the University has published an academic paper on their methodology and approach outlining the development, testing and implementation of the algorithm. This gives us, and our future customers, investors, suppliers and partners, confidence in the product and a level of credibility that we couldn’t have achieved on our own. 

Another benefit of working with Northumbria, has been the ability to access such a wealth of expertise and knowledge. We have been able to engage with lots of different people, including academics, professionals and business leaders, to discuss innovation, creativity and delivery. We have also been able to apply for and access additional funding, which we don’t think would have been possible without the University’s involvement and support.

How do you see your business developing in the next three to five years?

We’ve got an exciting few months and years ahead. We launched mymo to the UK running market in October 2020 and are further developing the technology to work with sports physios and therapists.

Our plan is then to launch in the US market in 2021 and in Europe in 2022.  We’ve filed for international Patents (pending) in the UK, Europe and US and have secured a European trademark. 

We’re also looking to extend the mymo technology and sensor capabilities into other sports markets and into the healthcare sector too.

Would you work with Northumbria University again?

Absolutely, in fact, our collaboration continues: as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Intensive Industrial Innovation Programme (IIIP), we have recruited a PhD student for the next three years. Fraser Young, who started in September 2020, will be responsible for further developing the existing algorithm as we look to expand into other sports and healthcare markets. 

We are also continuing to discuss and explore other development opportunities with the Computing and Information Sciences department. 

What would you say to another small business that needs help to grow, transform or develop but may not think the University is relevant or accessible to them?

I would encourage any small business to be open-minded about where they might access support and expertise to help them develop. We’ve discovered that universities like Northumbria are home to huge amounts of research, knowledge and expertise that they’re keen to share.  

When we first started out, we thought universities weren’t accessible to businesses like ours. Our perception was that they would only collaborate with large, well-established organisations but actually, Northumbria University is just as open and committed to working with SMEs and start-ups like our own.

It’s critical that you believe in your product, service or idea and that you have very clear objectives and a full understanding of the outcomes you want to achieve. You really need this clarity of vision before exploring collaboration opportunities so that you can identify what expertise, knowledge or capacity will best support your business to grow.

To find out more about how Northumbria University could help your business, visit our Business section or contact

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