Can they kick it? Yes, they can: Playermaker tracks athlete performance
If you're a coach who's ever thought, "Man, I wish there was a footwear-mounted performance tracker for my soccer team," boy, do I have some excellent news for you. Playermaker, founded in 2016, is already in use by more than 250 teams, and the company today announced a $40 million fundraise, which will help it expand to additional sports (basketball is up first) and become more available to athletes of all skill levels.
The point of the tracking is to capture analytics — the company describes it as "professional-grade technical, tactical, biomechanical, and physical data from the source of motion," which it suggests will give insights that can help athletes maximize their skills, monitor injury risk and expedite injury recovery.
“Our mission is to challenge the disparities in sport, striving to attain fair play and equal opportunity for all by ensuring that everyone can access the knowledge they need to improve their game,” said Guy Aharon, CEO and co-founder of Playermaker, in a press release. “We are empowering and inspiring boys and girls across the world of sports to stay active, pursue their dreams, and be the best they can be regardless of their discipline, location, or resources. Ultimately, wherever there is passion and shoes, that’s where we want to be.”
Performance trackers are nothing new, of course, but Playermaker suggests that most other solutions have only been available to professional athletes in the past, with data sets trained on male professional athletes at that. The company is eager to point out that it wants to break down the barriers between the genders and skill levels, and to make the performance tracking available to everyone who wishes to be tracked.
“We have been blown away by the support Playermaker has received internationally, and our investors have shown great faith in our team and the potential of our technology,” explained Aharon. “Our journey began with soccer, but the data, knowledge, and experience we’ve gained is a rock-solid foundation that we are excited to leverage to elevate all athletes across sports. We are confident that the success we have seen in soccer will be replicated in other sports because nothing feels better than having all the tools you need to improve when playing a sport you love at any level.”
Playermaker's solution is to track based purely on the motion of the left and right shoe, removing the necessity for GPS — which, of course, also makes the solution usable indoors.
The $40 million funding round was led by Ventura Capital Group, with additional investment by MIG Capital, Pegasus Tech Ventures and others. The funding will be used to further extend the company’s global reach, with an emphasis on accelerating its growth within the consumer market and developing a new multisport platform to drive Playermaker’s expansion beyond soccer, beginning, as I mentioned, with basketball as its newest frontier. Trackers are already available on Amazon — for just under $200 per set.
“Such a groundbreaking sports technology is extremely rare to find. Playermaker ups the game for professional and recreational footballers alike, creating a unique level of deep insight and competitive edge for players in a simple and user-friendly way,” said Mo El Husseiny, managing partner at Ventura Capital, in a press release. “We now have the ability to track performance data and provide deep and instant insight far beyond the usual metrics — something that every athlete can benefit from and a vision that we at Ventura are very excited to back. Guy and the team have proven Playermaker’s immense value by already dominating the world of football [soccer]. More importantly, the Playermaker team is driven by a clear purpose and goal — to better the world of sports for all who play them. They digitized and gamified the world’s favorite game and that’s just for starters.”