Business: SymbionIQ

Founder: Jean-Philippe Diel

HQ: Auckland

What products, services, solutions or technology have you developed? 

Our product empowers health and fitness professionals with advanced tools like motion capture and a 3D mixed reality app that serves as a lesson builder and delivery platform and runs on your phone. 3D is a much better way to learn the correct movements / postures. Our platform allows health and fitness professionals to effectively teach, engage, and expand their business online and remotely. By using our platform, these professionals are able to offer their clients AI driven personalised insights and training to help them achieve better health and fitness, no matter where they are in the world.

Please also note that we do not remove the trainer or the coach out of the equation, we augment them but they still have the ability to engage and discuss with users about their struggles or their successes and keep delivering the soft skills part of their job. We just make sure they don’t have to stand behind every single user, every single minute of their time. However they do have the ability to go back and review a user’s progress and performance.

The back-end network that powers our services is open source and built on blockchain technology and encryption tools to guarantee users privacy, ownership and custody of their data. For the first time in history users are able to aggregate data from their fitness activity together with their wearables (watch, fitness trackers, health trackers) and get personalised guidance on improving their fitness levels.

NeoMoov™ promo video


  • Being able to train “work on your health” anywhere and everywhere. Millenials for example are very much looking for a hybrid alternative to just going to the gym. This phenomenon has been exacerbated by the recent COVID pandemic. The digital health and fitness market is now a $6.9bn market growing at 30%CAGR and will reach $59bn by 2027. For users it’s about freedom to train at the gym but also at home or outdoors. For coaches, trainers and teachers who run small businesses dependent on face-to-face interactions, it’s about growing their business outside of the constraints of time and place. With our tools they can now offer lessons and even “Master Classes” to the entire world. These lessons can be taken anywhere.
  • Right now traditional gyms are struggling, closing down or experiencing high user acquisition costs. Trainers are struggling to access more customers, either because the most successful ones are at capacity or because they need to build an audience. The more clever ones end up on various social media platforms trying to build an audience but realise the costs and commitments involved with creating meaningful content can be challenging and time consuming.
  • What’s at stake here is the global health crisis. 74m Americans are obese, 54m Chinese. It’s a global issue. Calories are cheap (especially bad calories), time is scarce. We prefer spending two hours bingeing on Netflix than at the gym. It’s time technology helped us adapt to new ways of staying healthy and finding out what works for us.

Who and where are your target customers?

Our business is B2B2C which means we reach end users through a network of professionals that speak for us and the credibility of our offers.

Our target customers are global. They are a digital tribe rather than a country specific audience. Think content creators of complex movement lessons, dance teachers, fitness trainers, golf coaches, yoga teachers, etc anyone preoccupied with teaching the correct posture. Even Physio and Rehabilitation exercises. All of those who were trying to survive on Zoom during the pandemic and who are now trying to make ends meet using Instagram or TikTok or Twitter (X) to build an audience and deliver their classes.

NeoTrackR™ side by side live and wireless example.

How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?

In 2014, studying movement science and how I could use IOT sensors to capture movement, I stumbled upon the work of a German gentleman called Rudolf Laban. Rudolf Laban invented a series of scripts that describes movement, he is the father of modern choreography. Best known in the world of dance sadly his work hasn’t really permeated out into the normal world. But think of this as the score of movement the same way you have a score for music. I looked at this and thought “if it can be scripted then it’s digital” and if it’s digital then movement is an asset I can exchange, share, trade, and others can look at it and learn. This has been my drive ever since, coupled with the fact that I am a geek passionate about what we call the quantified self, basically trying to measure everything of my own body, to understand the deepest chemistry that drives our health.

What are three things about your business that you are proud of?

  • My team. This is reboot #3 or the third time I am having a go at building this product ecosystem and some of them have stayed in touch with me since the beginning. I would like to think it’s not credit to me but to the quality of our ideas. I am grateful for their loyalty and support as of course I couldn’t be doing this alone.
  • Our global vision. We are inherently looking at this beyond the borders of New Zealand, sure there are differences marketing products in export markets, but that is not the lens I have on this. Probably because being from Europe originally (France) and having worked in many different countries around the world, I have experience with global markets.
  • Our technology expertise. The people I work with are incredibly clever. Of course we don’t pretend to know everything, but we have the capacity to learn and problem solve which is I believe essential in a bootstrapped small team who cannot afford to onboard “experts” at every turn of fate.
Jean-Philippe Diel, founder of SymbionIQ.

How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?

I mentioned earlier that we are B2B2C and therefore wanting to work directly with professionals to get them to create content on our platform. I am a firm believer that this is the best approach. If you get the seal of approval from the very people who make teaching and coaching their business, then they become your best ambassadors. This may sound totally unrelated but I have direct experience of this working in FMCG and the hospitality industry early on in my career. Small businesses need support if you provide that support they are infinitely loyal to you and will support you back. You can build a thriving and long lasting relationship.

My advice to others is to try to change the lens you are using looking at business problems and marketing strategies. Quite often it’s really about changing the way you look at things. And often it’s a lot more organic than we think and its always about people, the ones who believe in you, the ones who buy your product, the ones who refer you. It’s a chain. One that needs seeding and nurturing.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?

Resources obviously. They are finite. Trying to communicate our vision and explain why we for example advocate an open source back end built on blockchain technology. Many have told us “users don’t care about privacy”. We disagree and are planning a totally innovative take on how we will tackle this issue.

What is the biggest entrepreneur lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?

Surround yourself with quality advice, from other founders, people in your space (don’t be worried about competition – most of the time the cake is big enough), never be afraid to reach out. And beware of those who are just here to make a living from your misadventures.

Story created in partnership with Grid AKL.

Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and diversity in entrepreneurship from around New Zealand.

Innovation Nation proudly supported by:

Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!


Sapro-Tech plans to disrupt textile industry by using fungi to make leather


On Your Terms

You might also like...