Health Tech: Athanase Kollias On How KINVENT’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our Overall Wellness
Listen to your clients, patients and athletes — Make sure to understand what they need and what they will need for the next 10 years.
In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Athanase Kollias.
A former French rowing champion and biomechanical engineer, Athanase Kollias is the founder and CEO of KINVENT. The company has developed a series of connected devices and an intuitive app, that measure muscular movements with the highest level of precision. KINVENT’s cutting-edge solution is designed for use in physiotherapy, athletic coaching and personal fitness.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?
I spent my childhood in Greece. From a very young age, I was always interested in playing with my father’s tools. My father worked in a biomechanical lab, measuring athletes in the university. I guess I just have biomechanics in my blood — I’ve always been attracted to high level sport. I started competing at the age of 13 years old, and did rowing, some rugby, as well as climbing. So this is how I entered the physiotherapy field.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
How about how I built my very first KINVENT device? I was talking with some physiotherapists about different techniques they used concerning neuromotor control, when an idea hit me — what would happen if you could direct a patient in a certain way, and be able to assess their strength? I asked my therapist friends and saw stars in their eyes. They loved the idea and asked me to build it. So the next day, I took apart a bluetooth connector intended for my car and linked it to a sensor. This is how the first connected dynamometer was created. Two days later, I started building our first app.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father of course! Iraklis A. Kollias is a Professor Emeritus in Biomechanics, and was the former Director of the Biomechanics Laboratory in the Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. There he taught Biomechanics as well as Track and Field. As I said before, I spent my childhood in his lab. I even know that I served as a calibration weight for the machines. My whole story began with him.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Trust in numbers and facts… but also your guts”. When it comes to innovation, this is exactly what my experience has taught me!
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
1- Optimism: when you start something from scratch, not everything goes as planned and you have to find a way to fix it.
2- Stay true to your vision: the big picture always lets you know where you are going, so keep your eyes focused on it.
3- Have faith in people: working with others is the best way to move forward, because alone you can go faster but together we go much further.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive impact on our wellness. To begin, which particular problems are you aiming to solve?
Data and technology have revolutionized almost every aspect of our health and well-being. And yet, when it comes to physical therapy, athletic coaching and personal fitness, these industries seem to be stuck in the past — all too often relying on approximation, assumptions and guesswork. As a result, progress is next-to-impossible to see, and motivation soon dwindles. We want to change that!
How do you think your technology can address this?
At KINVENT, we’re bringing precision and objectivity into the fields of physiotherapy, athletic coaching and personal fitness. When we present patients and athletes with our instantaneous insights into their progress, we inspire longer engagement and more effective outcomes.
Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?
In the KINVENT team we are all sportsmen, and we had a realization that rehabilitation was still a tedious process for most of the patients, including us! So, we decided to use our engineering background and our innovative spirit to help professionals through biomechanics, to assess, motivate and follow-up on a patient’s progress.
How do you think this might change the world?
We want to empower every physical therapist, professional athletic coach, and personal fitness trainer to take their client’s progress to the next level, to offer them real results and to motivate them to reach their highest potential. We believe that KINVENT can do just that.
With KINVENT’S technology, patients might think they can rehabilitate themselves. KINVENT is not there to replace the health professional or the sports coach. We are there to guide them, support them and always develop our rehabilitation solutions with them. The health professional remains in control of the situation and creates the rehabilitation programs personally.
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”? (Please share a story or an example, for each.)
1 — Listen to your clients, patients and athletes — Make sure to understand what they need and what they will need for the next 10 years.
2 — Maintain relationships — Build engagement between patients and professionals.
3 — Keep it simple — Creating portable, simple products that are easy to implement.
4 — Be eco-conscious — building products that are recyclable and do not harm the environment.
5 — Be Positive — Create a positive company culture where every team member feels at home
If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?
Having a positive impact in the world and faith in people, always trust your colleagues and they will trust in you.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek-Nigerian professional NBA player for the Milwaukee Bucks. I would like to meet him because he is Greek like me :). His story is one of success, as he started off with nothing from the neighborhood of Athens and now he is one of the best basketball players in the world. (Plus, I’d love to evaluate his counter movement jump.)
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.
Health Tech: Athanase Kollias On How KINVENT’s Technology Can Make An Important Impact On Our… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.