PlayerData, a startup aiming to become a major player in the global sports wearables market, has secured an early stage investment round from high profile backers including former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy, Blackcircles.com founder Mike Welch, who has been appointed PlayerData’s Chairman, and Quest Corporate’s Marcus Noble.
The company was co-founded in 2015 by University of Edinburgh computer science graduates Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball, supported by Edinburgh Innovations. Its first product, PlayerData EDGE, which is in its late development stages, combines a base layer garment with sensors and a removable control module. It is aimed at multi-sport professional and amateur athletes.
PlayerData EDGE provides data on biometrics, performance and technique for both individuals and teams. The seed round will allow the company to expand development to a market-ready product by the end of 2018, with high value sports including running, football and golf being targeted.
Chief Executive Officer Hotrabhvanon, a former international archer who has represented Thailand, and the PlayerData team are planning for the company’s first product to sell through multi-channels business-to-business followed by business-to-consumer. The team are scoping a longer term strategy that could see products developed for other sectors including gaming and healthcare.
Hotrabhvanon said: “With over six biometric performance indicators, we’re already ahead of all competitors in the market. Using the latest advances in artificial intelligence we are developing algorithms to give coaches actionable insight to athlete performances.
“As a team, we’re excited that our global ambitions are being matched by such a dedicated and high-profile group of investors and it’s great to have Mike Welch on board as Chairman.”
Welch said: “Roy and Hayden are inspiring founders with an incredible product that has a real chance to make a significant move into one of the fastest growing tech markets on the planet.”
PlayerData received early-stage support from Edinburgh Innovations’ LAUNCH.ed service, as well as the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Hotrabhvanon said: “LAUNCH.ed and Edinburgh Innovations have helped me since the early stages of the idea. Giving the right advice at the right times has been instrumental to our fast growth.”
Multiple industry reports predict that the overall smart wearables market will grow in value to more than $15 billion by 2021.
From left: University archer Fiona Inglis wearing PlayerData EDGE, with Mike Welch, Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball. Photograph by Stewart Attwood