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£1.7m raised

Funding for PlayerData’s sports injury forecasting tech

Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball

Software company PlayerData, which can help predict sports injuries, has raised £1.7 million from Hiro Capital.

The London and Luxembourg VC fund invests across games, esports, streaming and digital sports.  Former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy , an existing PlayerData investor, also participated in the Series A round.  

Edinburgh, UK-based PlayerData uses software, analytics and wearable technology.  In its first year live, its wearable tech has captured more than 10,000 team sessions and more than 50 million metres of athlete play in UK grassroots football and rugby.

The new finance will be used to support PlayerData’s growth across multiple sports and to expand internationally.

PlayerData’s AI algorithms predict player injuries and its tools allow coaches to replay key moments from the game, modelling different outcomes based on player positioning.

Each club signed by PlayerData brings five more [clubs] onto the platform due to the powerful team network effect of the service. PlayerData joins fellow digital sports startups FitXR (London), Zwift (California/London) and NURVV (London) in the Hiro Capital portfolio, alongside eight games studios and games technology firms across the US, Europe and the UK. 

Digital sports and connected fitness are star growth sectors of 2020/21. Global connected fitness revenues grew 30% in 2020, while health and fitness app downloads grew by approximately 47% year-on-year to around 700 million, accelerated by a global focus on health and wellbeing during lockdowns.

Unicorn-scale stars of the sector include Peloton, Tonal, Mirror and Hiro’s portfolio investment Zwift, as well as major strategic sports and wellness segments within Apple (Watch 6 and Fitness+), Google (Fitbit), Nike (Nike App), and others. 

Roy Hotrabhvanon, cofounder and CEO of PlayerData, is a former international archer who narrowly missed out on selection for the Rio Olympics in 2016 for the Thai national team.

Hayden Ball, cofounder and chief technology officer (CTO) is a computer sciences expert in hardware and cloud infrastructure who previously designed, built, and launched a distributed software as a service (SaaS) solution for the Edinburgh Fringe. 

On the Hiro investment, Mr Hotrabhvanon said: “Our mission is to bring fine grained data and insight to clubs across team sports, helping them improve player performance and avoid injury. 

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“We leverage our platform and data to generate biometric insights applicable at any level – from competitive grassroots to professional. Our ultimate goal is to implement cutting-edge insights from pioneering wearables that are applicable to any team in any discipline at any level. As an investment partner, Hiro Capital shares this commitment to our mission.”

Cherry Freeman, co-founding partner at Hiro says: “PlayerData ticks all of our key boxes: a huge total available market with over 3 million grassroots clubs; a deep moat built on shared player data, machine learning and highly actionable predictive algorithms; compelling customer network effects; and a really impressive yet humble founding team.

“We are delighted to be leading this investment round in this exciting digital sports  innovator.”

See also: Wearable tech to tackle head injuries in sport

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