Wearable tech startup PlayerData raises $2.3m in series A investment round led by Hiro Capital

Roy Hotrabhvanon and Hayden Ball of PlayerData (by Stewart Attwood)
  • PlayerData’s mission is to transform the way amateur and professional sports teams train through the use of data, AI, and wearable technology
  • The Edinburgh-based startup is Hiro Capital’s 4th digital sports and connected fitness investment, joining Zwift, FitXR and NURVV in the fast-growing Hiro portfolio

HIRO Capital – the London and Luxembourg VC fund investing across games, esports, streaming and digital sports – has further strengthened its portfolio by leading a $2.3 million series A investment round in PlayerData.  Former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy , an existing PlayerData investor, also participated in the round.  

Edinburgh, UK-based PlayerData’s mission is to transform the way grassroots and professional sports teams train, using software, analytics and wearable technology.  In its first year live, PlayerData’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..  The $2.3 million raise will be used to support PlayerData’s growth across multiple sports and to expand internationally.

Combining frictionless ease-of-use with sports science machine learning, PlayerData’s AI algorithms 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. 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, Roy 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.  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.”

Luke Alvarez, Managing Partner at Hiro says: “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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