ShotTracker, a company that got its start by launching a wearable sensor to track and analyze your basketball shots, has announced a $5M seed round that includes participation from basketball legend Magic Johnson and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
R/GA and Elysian Park Ventures, which manage the LA Dodgers’ sports accelerator also participated, as well as Greycroft Partners.
The funding will go to fine tuning product as well as supporting 10 demo centers across the country, so customers can see the product in action.
The Kansas City-based startup’s first product cost $149 and consisted of two sensors – one on your wrist and one that you put in the net. Between them the startup could capture enough data to figure out what your shots were looking like and what you needed to change to make more of them go in.
And while professional teams found it intriguing, they saw it as more of an offseason tool – not something that would help in team practices.
So ShotTracker went back to the drawing board and came up with ShotTracker team – a product that can simultaneously capture analytics for an entire team. It can track 18 players on the court at once, as long as all of them are wearing a special sensor that attaches to their shoelace. Plus the court has four overhead sensors to track additional movement, and the ball has a build-in sensor (which the company has developed in partnership with Spalding).
The result is pretty amazing – each player’s movements are tracked in real time on an iPad or computer.
In addition to being to show a live view of practice, Davyeon Ross, co-founder and CEO of the company explained that their algorithms can turn this raw data into every single statistic typically collected by hand in a basketball game except for fouls. These include turnovers, steals, assists and shots – every statistic from a game you’d normally see in a box score that previously had to be tabulated by hand.
This team service is costly – starting around $3,000 plus an optional subscription analytics service starting at $1,200 per year. But for an NBA team and most college teams, that price is nothing. As players get better and better teams are looking for alternative and smarter ways to win, and the analytics they collect from ShotTracker could be one of those ways.
While getting the product in front of professional teams is the immediate goal (and advisors like Magic Johnson and David Stern should be able to help with that), ShotTracker sees a future where “ShotTracker is to gyms what WiFi is to coffee shops”. If they can get gyms pre-wired with over-court sensors, even amateur teams and players could throw on a sensor and get access to the same analytics as NBA teams will.
Plus, the startup thinks their technology can carry over into other sports like Baseball (pitch tracking) and Football. So while the team is heads down focused on basketball at the moment, there could definitely be a day where ShotTracker could deploy analytics products across all major sports.