Former Tesco boss pumps more money into Edinburgh firm whose wearable tech can predict sports injuries

An Edinburgh-based firm whose wearable technology can predict sports injuries before they happen has raised a seven-figure sum of money to pump up its growth.

The $2.3 million (£1.7m) raised by PlayerData includes cash from former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy, an existing investor in the capital company.

PlayerData aims to transform the way grassroots and professional sports teams train, using software, analytics and wearable technology. In its first year live, the firm’s 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.

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The capital raise will be used to support its growth across multiple sports and to expand internationally.

Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball of Edinburgh's PlayerData. Picture: Stewart Attwood
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Global connected fitness revenues grew 30 per cent in 2020, while health and fitness app downloads grew by almost 47 per cent year-on-year to around 700 million, accelerated by a global focus on health and wellbeing during lockdowns.

Stars of the sector include Peloton, Tonal, Mirror and Zwift, as well as major strategic sports and wellness segments within Apple (Watch 6 and Fitness+), Google (Fitbit) and Nike (Nike App).

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Roy Hotrabhvanon, co-founder and chief executive 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, co-founder and chief technology officer is a computer sciences expert in hardware and cloud infrastructure who previously designed, built, and launched distributed software for the Edinburgh Fringe.

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Hiro Capital – the London and Luxembourg-based venture capital fund investing across games, esports, streaming and digital sports – led the series A investment round in PlayerData.

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.”

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Combining “frictionless ease-of-use with sports science machine learning”, PlayerData’s algorithms can predict player injuries before they happen and its tools allow coaches to replay key moments from the game, modelling different outcomes based on player positioning.

Cherry Freeman, co-founding partner at Hiro, said: “PlayerData ticks all of our key boxes: a huge total available market with over three 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.

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

Luke Alvarez, managing partner at Hiro, added: “In a year when lockdown accelerated digital adoption and kept us all out of the gym, companies like Nurvv, FitXR, Zwift and Peloton helped people stay fit, healthy, and biomechanically self-aware. 2020 super-charged connected fitness and PlayerData is our latest exciting investment in this accelerating macro trend.”

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Wearable tech start-up PlayerData wins funds from high-profile backers

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