Bad news - summer is over. Good news - the NFL and NCAA football seasons have begun.
It also means we're not far off from the NHL, NBA and NCAA hoops seasons getting started. The sports lull of the summer months is coming to an end. Not only is that great for sports fans, but it also bodes well for some tech startups who are engrained in the sports and athetics industry.
Boston, along with our bad driving and crazy weather, is known for our sports teams. Outside perception of Bostonian's personalities is built largely on the behavior of our sports fans. But, in recent years, Boston is becoming more and more well-known for our incredible tech and startup eosystem. It's as good a time as any to launch a startup here.
So, with the height of the sports season upon us I thought I'd give a snapshot of some Boston area sports technology companies I'm a fan of...
Have to start with DraftKings, the leading provider of online fantasy sports. In July they pulled in a $300M Series D round of funding from Fox Sports and if you've put your TV on at all recently you've undoubtedly seen one of their many advertisements. On top of that, keeping their Bostons ties tight, they secured Patriots' Tight End, Rob Gronkowski as a spokesperson. Walk into South Station - It's a complete DraftKings + Gronk takeover.
CoachUp is a service that connects athletes with private coaches. Founded by Jordan Fliegel and Arian Radmand, CoachUp has been very active. They've raised more than $9M, with the latest round being $6.7M. Like DraftKings, CoachUp has several current and former professional athletes on board, including NBA MVP, Steph Curry, Patriots' WR, Julian Edelman, and Philadelphia 76ers Power Forward, Nerlens Noel. In addition, earlier this year CoachUp brought on a new CEO, consumer marketing veteran, John Kelley.
A 2014 TechStars grad, WOO Sports has built the WOO - an innovative wearable for action sports that measures things like airtime, jump height, g-force, slope conditions, among many other key metrics. The collected data is transmitted to the iOS app and the cloud which will create value for three sets of customers: Consumers, Media & Brands. It might be the most interesting and fun startup team in Boston to hang with and the product is gaining traction in the niche market. I'll let their product video tell the rest.
Founded in 2012, Fancred is uniting the world’s sports fans by creating a new way to consume sports information and interact with other fans and members of their community. Last summer they pulled in an additional $3M in funding and later in 2014 they released a new feature called "Your Fancred." The Facebook for sports fans is still gaining traction and we hear anoher new, major announcement is coming from 'Kash' and crew.
If you're an avid road-racer or an obstacle competitor you may be familiar with Gameface. I love what this company is doing. Gameface enables brands to make a deep connection with customers and prospects by providing photos of each participant from events such as road races, obstacle course races, mud runs, youth sports, skiing, hockey, and more. In 2014, Gameface capture 1.6 million participants!
Hudl makes software that creates online video analysis tools that help coaches and athletes at any level prepare and improve on their craft. Their web and mobile products for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android connect all members of a team around the video and data captured, providing the opportunity to prepare and self-analyze performance. The company is headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska but their Boston office got a jumpstart when they acquired Ubersense in 2014. Hudl raised $72.5M in funding last year.
MC10 is fascinating. Much of what they're building has yet to be released to the public, but they're reshaping the 'wearables' market. MC10 reshapes electronics to create thin, conformal systems that flex, stretch, and bend seamlessly with the natural world. Previously, they partnered with Reebok to create their first sports consumer product, CHECKLIGHT, which measured impact to an athlete's head. MC10, like CoachUp, has several current and former professional atheltes on their advisory board. The company's sports division is headed up by former NFL Linebacker, Isaiah Kacyvenski.
* Thumbnail image from: Shutterstock.