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  • Writer's pictureSPSG Consulting

The Interview - Mateusz Delikat, Founder and CEO at QLAC

Discover how the innovative Q-Lac sensor is transforming sports monitoring by analyzing muscle oxygenation and lactic acid concentration without training interruptions. We speak with its founder about the origin of the project, its competitive edge, and Q-Lac's experience in the prestigious sports innovation program in Andorra. Additionally, we explore the impact of sports startups in Poland and the technological trends to shape the future of athletic performance. SPSG Consulting is proud to advice Q-Lac / Oxymotion in their business development plan, adding value in the process to take the company to the next level. Don't miss the interview



You are the Founder of Q-Lac. Basically, it is a sensor that analyses muscle oxygenation and indicates the concentration of lactic acid using a non-invasive method. Can you elaborate what was the origin of Q-Lac and the competitiveness advantage of the sensor and service?


For over 20 years, I trained football, and during my several-year stay at the Legia Warsaw Academy, we were frequently tested for various parameters, such as lactate. Properly testing a single athlete is a complex process; it requires preparing an appropriate training session, planning its interruption several times to take blood samples to assess lactate concentration variability, in order to accurately determine metabolic thresholds and, based on this, evaluate the athlete's condition and establish optimal loads for subsequent micro and macro training cycles.

 

This is a complex process for one person, and if you multiply it by over 20 players in a team, it becomes a considerable logistical operation, which I observed firsthand as a player. Several years later, after ending my football career, I decided that I might find a way to significantly simplify this process. The goal was to make the measurement non-invasive, continuous, and not requiring training interruptions.

 

I started seeking unique knowledge that would make this possible, and this led me to the Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, where step by step, we concluded that it was achievable and simultaneously initiated the "Q-LAC" project.


Q-Lac participated in 2023 in a Scale-Up Challenge, organized by Andorra Sports Innovation Hub, which is focused on Winter & Mountain Sports and Cycling, and which is lead by Andorra Business and Andorra Research & Innovation, and assisted by GSIC and SPSG Consulting. How was the experience? What activities did it involve? And at what extend the program and activities benefited Q-Lac?


The Andorra Sports Innovation Hub is a highly valuable program. It allowed us to further validate and refine our business model, and perhaps even more importantly, to test our business model with people from entirely different markets than the Polish market, where we initially started. Thanks to the program, we had direct access to top-tier experts in the "sports-tech" world, covering various aspects of running a business.

 

We engaged with investors, brand development strategists, sales experts, and lawyers who are well-versed in complex issues and advised us on what elements to consider when selecting a new market to enter. The Andorra Sports Innovation Hub provided us the opportunity to participate in the parallel "Andorra Living Lab" program, which allowed us to present our solution to various athletes and potential partners from Andorra.

 

This is a crucial element because it significantly facilitates starting activities in a new market and efficiently establishing new business relationships with credible partners, which is very important for a company, especially in the early stages of development. Andorra excels in this aspect, as within a small area, you can find both professional athletes who live and train in this beautiful country and numerous valuable partners who can help us promote Q-LAC on an increasingly larger scale.


Q-Lac has been tested, with positive results, in sports such as Cycling. What are the main reasons to choose these sports? What other sports can be Q-Lac tested in?


Cyclists are highly aware athletes when it comes to understanding their bodies through continuous monitoring. Therefore, even more advanced data than, for example, heart rate is not unfamiliar to them, and they know how to interpret this data to gain an advantage over other athletes who do not use such data. Cyclists and runners often test themselves for lactate, and they are also familiar with analyzing oxygenation variability, making them a very good group that responded very positively to the functionalities of our solution. Cycling and running are sports where physical condition is crucial to achieving good results, and this is why the advanced data provided by Q-LAC is highly desired in these sports.

 

Equally important is the readiness of our software, where compatibility with multifunctional watches makes our solution fully valuable to users of such watches. We are still working on developing more complex software, for example, for football players, which is why our presence in the football world is currently somewhat smaller. However, the next few weeks will bring significant changes in this regard, and we will be launching several very interesting implementations.

 

The final stage will be the development of software for use in gyms and fitness chains, where a crucial element will be creating appropriate training modes with an AI assistant that will help users select the right number of repetitions for a given exercise or the weight to be used, making it an important complement or extension of a typical personal trainer.


Q-Lac is a company from Poland. Can you share with all of us how pro-active are sport industry start-ups in Poland and their internationalization process? And at what extend the public administration as well as big companies in Poland are supporting start-ups to go to the next level?


The startup industry, and especially sports-tech in Poland, is still significantly less developed compared to countries like Spain, France, or especially the United Kingdom. However, year by year, increasingly interesting initiatives are emerging, such as the Innovation Department in the Polish Football Association, which has already implemented the "Startups in Play" program. Most importantly, companies are emerging that, within a few years, enter foreign markets and evolve from typical startups into fully-fledged companies, significantly aided by such top-down initiatives.

 

In Poland, we have many talented scientists, engineers, and programmers who create solutions that can easily compete with those from even the USA. Additionally, we often reach the same level of technological advancement while spending significantly less money.

 

Many industries are increasingly looking towards startups, with major brands creating their own innovation departments and becoming more willing to collaborate with startups. This is not simply because it is good for PR or to present CSR activities, but because good startups provide very tangible financial value, even for the largest companies.


Your company is bridging the sport industry with technology and health. According to your understanding, what are the main trends in the sport industry from a performance technology perspective within the next years?


The trend towards a healthy lifestyle, which has been ongoing for several years, has created many athletes and advanced amateurs who now approach training, hygiene, nutrition, and other aspects of their lives very consciously. This awareness has rendered basic parameters like heart rate insufficient. People understand the limitations of these basic metrics and seek to delve deeper into their bodies by analyzing more complex parameters.

 

Therefore, I believe that in the coming years, there will be significant development in solutions that allow for the monitoring of increasingly complex body parameters. Ultimately, this will enable users not only to become better athletes but also to improve their overall well-being. They will understand how specific physical activities or nutritional improvements directly affect particular parameters and, indirectly, enhance their quality of life.

 

A crucial element is ensuring that various solutions and devices can work together seamlessly. Athletes, like the rest of society, expect even the most advanced parameters to be presented in an accessible way, preferably within a single device such as a sports watch or smartphone. Consequently, I wouldn't be surprised if, in the coming years, a significant consolidation occurs among devices from different manufacturers.

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