6 Sportstech Startups Racing for Success
We hear a lot, in both the tech and mainstream press, about the latest movers and shakers in fintech, climatetech and healthtech. These terms are comprehensively hashtagged and namechecked by excited industry commentators eagerly surveying the landscape for the next headline-making innovator and investor-magnet.
Slightly underreported by comparison is sportstech, a thriving field of firms which are altering the way sports fans and athletes alike are engaging with their passions.
This is a sector in rude health – last year, sportstech firms raised more than $990 million in Europe alone. We’ve also seen the emergence of sportstech-specific accelerators like SportBoost. Founded by former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, it provides an entrepreneurship bootcamp, strategic advice, networking opportunities and even investment for sportstech innovators. Its eclectic portfolio includes AI-powered football analysis platform Kognia, club management app Clupik and sports nutrition management app Indya.
What are some other digital platforms that have been quite literally changing their respective games, and gaining deep-pocketed cheerleaders in the process? Here’s a handful that have caught our eye.
A prime example of a trailblazing sportstech company that’s been gaining investor attention is Fishbrain, the Stockholm-based company on a mission to “make fishing dreams come true”. Its app provides real-time information on prime angling locations and the locations of local marinas and bait shops, and also provides a social network where anglers can show off their catches and share experiences.
Used by an impressive 15 million people across the world, Fishbrain has recently reeled in $6 million in its latest funding round, with an investment director at leading Nordic VC firm Industrifonden hailing “the value Fishbrain brings to fishing enthusiasts and partners worldwide and the long-term potential in the outdoor space”.
Anyone for tennis? That age-old question was the essential inspiration for RacketPal, an app which lets people into racket sports find other people into racket sports of all kinds.
As its founders noted, people who enjoy playing games like tennis, badminton, squash and table tennis often struggle to find others who’d like to join them on court, with friends more likely to opt for lounging in the pub than hitting the courts. Leveraging the power of the internet seemed the obvious solution – though, somewhat ironically, the concept came to the founders while they were themselves down the pub.
The community on the app has grown to include coaches as well as players, and the London-based company has so far raised an estimated $1.31 million in venture capital.
Based in Connecticut, Arccos utilises Internet-of-Things technology to provide golfers with real-time data that can help them lower their handicaps and look forward to feeling that glow of satisfaction while strolling to the 19th hole.
Sensors are attached to golf clubs, allowing players to capture and analyse each and every shot, and receive AI-powered insights into their play.
In-depth analytics, personalised advice and achievable goals are all offered through the system, and the stats are impressive. According to Arccos, the technology can make you five times more likely to hit a hole in one, which will be music to any golfer’s ears. The company has positioned itself as the leading purveyor of this kind of golf tech, having recently raised $20 million in a funding round led by none other than the PGA Tour.
Let’s Do This
London-based app Let’s Do This has embarked on a bold mission to make its users “feel alive”. It allows users to browse and book their places for race events from fun runs to Ironman triathlons, as well as track results, engage in group chats and share photos.
A convenient way to keep up with the latest events and avoid missing out on the latest news in this world, the platform has received backing from sporting A-listers including Serena Williams and Usain Bolt, and racked up a $60 million fundraise last year.
“The fate of aspiring footballers shouldn't be determined solely by the gut feeling of managers and coaches.” That’s the clarion call of Tonsser, a company founded in Copenhagen which is on a mission to empower the rising stars of the beautiful game all around the world.
The app was created with the intention of shedding light on a vast pool of unmapped players who have what it takes to go professional, but no opportunity to showcase their skills. Unsigned players can upload videos and stats from their games, potentially putting themselves on the radar of scouts from leading clubs and academies.
Tonsser, which has so far raised over $10 million in funding, made headlines earlier this year when Southampton United announced it would be using the platform to find new additions to its academy.
Finding the right coach can be a tricky business for up-and-coming sporting talent, and CoachUp was founded to tackle this particular pain point. All the coaches listed on the app are vetted through substantial background checks, and have proven track records in their respective fields. That means users can relax and let the app make suggestions of coaches, based on their geographical location and training goals.
Headquartered in Massachusetts, the app caters to everyone from casual athletes to those wanting to go pro, and allows you to seek out one-to-one coaching, group sessions, and purely online mentoring.
Founded by professional basketball player turned venture capitalist Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp has so far benefitted from around $11 million in funding, and has formed its own online community called CoachUp Nation.