Todd Linden was recently appointed Managing Director of Park Ten Capital where he will oversee technology investment Upper Hand. Linden will also serve on Upper Hands Board of Directors and have responsibility for expanded market strategy, industry partnerships and capital expansion. Here he tells us what we can expect from the future of fitness and sports technology and why Upper Hand is leading the industry.
Todd Linden on the Next Era of Sports and Fitness Tech
Q: How do you envision the sports and fitness industry changing over the next 3-5 years? And what role will payments and software play in that change?
I believe the health and fitness world will continue to evolve from a technology perspective. Virtual training programs, social media driven “gamification” and the overall proliferation of the space will be driven by financial technology and integrated payments.
Q: Having seen the payment space go through periods of significant change, what hurdles exist in achieving true innovation?
Technology transformation of any industry is often met by fear of change. Overcoming those fears is incumbent upon the commercialization process of technology providers and potential partners. Empathy driven solutions, aimed directly towards a superior customer experience, are crucial to overcoming barriers.
Q: What kind of uncertainty do you foresee being a hinderance to implementation of new innovation in the market?
Data can be a hindrance, as many of these solutions are data driven. We see many situations where existing systems infrastructure is too cumbersome to easily provide necessary data. Again, this is where we need to provide a seamless customer install process whereas we can assist in solving some of the issues native to the existing customer systems environment.
Q: Where do you see payments and software creating the best opportunities for businesses and consumers? Particularly in fitness and sports technology.
I think the best fit exists for those entities that are more apt to engage and unite businesses and customers in a more intimate manner.
Q: How does Upper Hand keep pace with the innovation and depth of platforms like Stripe?
Our focus, company culture and payment experience will more than allow us to keep pace. We further believe our long term payment strategy reaches well beyond those of existing competitors.
Q: What excites you the most about Upper Hand in the sports and fitness industry?
Well, I’m thrilled to be involved with Upper Hand, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, the company culture is contagious and their customers really feel it. The platform evolves daily, through a very engaging empathy gathering process. It’s very fun to be part of the Upper Hand Team.
Q: How does Apple’s partnership with Goldman Sachs to launch Apple Card impact the future of payments?
I think it underscores the proliferation of payments and potential partnerships that can be driven through solid customer engagement.