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“The Belgian app Trenara receives €500,000 to break through internationally as a recognized digital running coach.”

“From 5 kilometers to an ultramarathon: with the Belgian running app ‘Trenara,’ Gert Moermans (engineer) and Christophe Roosen (authority in the running world) developed a digital, intelligent running coach that goes far beyond simple tracking of your running behavior or impersonal training schedules.”

To realize their international growth ambitions for Trenara, the investment company LRM grants them a breakthrough loan of 250,000 euros, supplemented by a bank financing of 200,000 euros from KBC and a growth subsidy of 50,000 euros from VLAIO.

It all started a few years ago with a WhatsApp message that Gert Moermans sent to Christophe Roosen. Christophe had undergone surgery on his Achilles tendon in 2016 and during his rehabilitation, he focused more on coaching. During his recovery, he also conducted fitness tests on a treadmill at Gert’s place, but the measuring equipment was not stable enough. With his background as an engineer, Gert delved into the software. A few months later, in 2017, he sent a WhatsApp message to inform Christophe that he had written a new, improved algorithm to address the problem. And he immediately added that they should turn it into an app.

With the financial support of ‘family, friends, and fools’ and the investment of many hours, Trenara was born. Serial entrepreneur and Ironman triathlete Ismaël Ben-Al-Lal is one of the early investors. Gert says, “As an engineer, I created the acclaimed algorithm that analyzes every step you take. Christophe Roosen is a certified coach and an authority in the running world, including as a coach for Mieke Gorissen. He developed the schedules and scientific conditions within which the Trenara app operates.”

This combination is also what makes the app so uniquely special. “Our training schedules are based on your personal history, not that of an average of a thousand other runners. The schedules are also adaptive: if you make better progress than expected, we adjust,” explains Christophe. “In addition to running, we go beyond. For example, earlier this summer, we introduced personalized strength schedules in collaboration with Maarten Thysen, a physiotherapist at the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee.”

From 60,000 to 125,000 users

With thousands of active users every week, Trenara has already coached thousands of runners towards a personal record or an injury-free running future. But the entrepreneurial duo’s ambition reaches much further, beyond the country’s borders. “The time of a hobby project getting out of hand is definitively behind us. Indeed, we now want to scale, and that requires resources. With our recurring revenues, we cannot make a significant marketing effort, which is necessary if we want to conquer the running world,” says Christophe.

Raising external capital was not interesting for several reasons at the moment – despite interest. “So we turned to the investment company LRM. LRM is a beacon of trust for us. The fact that both LRM and VLAIO validate our project is proof that Trenara’s success is not a coincidence and has a bright future.”

Specifically, LRM grants a Breakthrough Loan of 250,000 euros to Trenara. Additionally, there is bank financing of 200,000 euros from KBC. VLAIO has also given the green light for a growth subsidy for internationalization worth 50,000 euros. “The majority of that money will be spent on marketing. Within a year, we want to grow from the current 60,000 users to 125,000. In the first two quarters, we will focus mainly on Belgium and the Netherlands. In the next phase, we also want to establish a strong presence in neighboring countries such as Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The B2B aspect will also play a prominent role in our business plan.”

And purely in terms of sports? “At every major running event, we want to have hundreds of participants at the start line who have prepared themselves in a responsible manner via Trenara to give their best. We want to see our colors at every major European marathon. We are already close to that in the core region, but we also see it on a broader scale. It’s a serious challenge, but one we enthusiastically and fiercely embrace,” says Christophe.

At the investment company LRM, there is already the same enthusiasm and belief that the running app has great international potential. Tom Vanham, CEO of LRM: “With Gert’s background as an engineer and Christophe as a certified coach and authority in the running world, this Limburg entrepreneurial duo is a golden combination. Moreover, they still cherish many entrepreneurial dreams with Trenara and know exactly where they want to go. Furthermore, they will significantly expand their business towards B2B. So, this is not the finish line, they have just started. Full of ambition and scientifically fully supported. From LRM, we are happy to support them with a Breakthrough Loan.”

Gunter Plevoets, Head of Corporate Lending at LRM: “With the Breakthrough Loan, we support companies with a Limburg link in defining, substantiating, and implementing ambitious breakthrough investments aimed at internationalization, digital transformation, or sustainability. Trenara is a perfect example of that. In addition to their focus on internationalization and digitization, they will also strongly focus on further expanding B2B collaborations. In short, Trenara is doing well from all perspectives.”

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