Are professional athletes more skilled today than they were in previous generations? Some may argue no; the most talented players of all time have already made their appearances in sports. Others are watching sports develop and adapt, seeing individuals improve their game like never before. For the latter perspective, this is not just because people are becoming more athletic, but because modern sports technologies allow players to monitor, analyze, share, and enjoy their careers-- improving game by game. It has also allowed for a virtuous cycle of engaging more fans as the players progress. The fan is motivated to engage with sports from a multifaceted perspective, from virtual gaming to all-inclusive streaming. Israel's startup nation has greatly contributed to the advancement of the sports-tech world. In fact, Israel has introduced over 200 successful sports startups to the arena, and counting. Whether you want to watch, engage, or train better, these Israeli startups each have a home-run solution for you:
Imagine sitting in a room with your team for hours on end as your coach keeps rewinding game footage to find different plays to analyze. You are frustrated because there are technical difficulties, it won't zoom in enough, no one has been identified, and so on. Trust me, I've also been there, and it usually does not feel like a productive use of time. Track160 picked up on this disconnect between coaches and players and has created a technology to save everyone hours and alleviate stress. Track160 cameras can be installed across the venue (field or court) and collect video data from their various vantage points. The collected data is then analyzed using AI and deep learning to identify the most relevant plays, which are then added to a video gallery shared with the team. Now, players can go into the folder on their own time and see specific videos tailored to their role with data (such as tables, charts, and tactical maps) attached, increasing player development. This technology applies to any level, from amateur to pro.
Track160 was founded in 2017 by CEO Eyal Ben-Ari, Chairman and Co-Founder Miky Tamir, and Co-Founder Michael Birnboim. They have expanded to over 20 employees and closed their Series A funding after raising $5 million from ADvantage Sports Tech Fund. The company has already made a notable partnership with DFL (Deutsche Fußball Liga) and is FIFA EPTS Quality certified, expanding their reign outside of their headquarters in Petah Tikva.
The beginning years of your sports career are integral to your development as a player. Either you pick up the correct techniques and muscle movements, setting you up for a strong career, or you develop incorrect habits, which then become increasingly difficult to correct with age. Playform, an Israeli startup based in Rehovot, understands this value and is working to ensure each soccer player is set up for success. They have created a mobile app to monitor youth soccer players' movements and skills. The video data recorded on your iPhone is analyzed with computer vision and AI algorithms to give coaches, clubs, and players immediate and personal feedback, making soccer technology much more accessible.
Since its founding in 2018, this company has expanded to over 20 employees and has an impressive partnership with Washington Youth Soccer (WYS). Managed by CEO Shmulik Barel, Co-Founder and COO Ehud Simon, and Co-founder and VP of Business Development Haim Trabelsi, it is expected to see Playform head to the top by expanding into other sports verticals soon.
Modern sports fans demand more content, on more platforms and devices, and they want it delivered to them faster than ever before. WSC Sports, a startup based in Tel Aviv, was built to serve the sports world and has developed technology to help sports rights holders meet the ever changing consumption habits of fans. WSC Sports’ technology utilizes AI and machine learning algorithms to automatically create real-time sports highlights, (for over 20 different sports) analyzing, tagging and ranking each and every event that happens in a game. This allows rights holders to distribute videos in real-time, empowers them to engage with fans, grow their brands, and explore new monetization opportunities for their content. Now, as we’re watching the Euros with a beer and a bag of chips, wherever you are and whatever platform you’re using, it’s likely you’ll be consuming one of WSC Sports’ highlights.
WSC Sports works with more than 150 rights holders worldwide including an impressive roster of names such as the NBA, ESPN, Bundesliga, Tencent, the PGA, YouTubeTV and many others. Since their founding in 2011, WSC Sports has raised over $36 million in funding and has expanded quickly to over 200 current employees. The startup is led by Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Shichman, and his friends and fellow Co-Founders, Hy Gal (COO), Aviv Arnon (CDBO) and Shmulik Yoffee (CTO).
Based in Ashkelon, LSports has been working in the sports betting industry since 2012. Employing proprietary API technology, sportsbook trading management services, and comprehensive and accurate sports data feeds, LSports is focused on creating an all-in-one sportsbook data site. LSports is focused on creating an all-in-one sportsbook data site. Real-time sports betting has become increasingly popular due to factors such as, convenience, inclusion, prizes, and the satisfaction it provides. The key to betting is having as much knowledge as possible and LSports delivers data which improves betting confidence and accuracy. They can't guarantee you that $1M cashout, but it is guaranteed that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take!
Led by CEO and Co-Founder Dotan Lazar, LSports has partnered with the American Flag Football League (AFFL) and the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), allowing them to expand further into new international sports data and betting markets.
When speaking about player development and how players become professionals, it all starts with the right technology to track improvement over time. Playermaker, an Israeli startup, that transforms any soccer cleat into a smart cleat and has created a wearable sensor attached to a soccer player's cleat, helping them monitor and improve their performance in training and games. This company helps players track everything from their technical and physical ability such as number of touches, kick power, ball possessions, the use of the left vs right foot, distance covered, speed and many more. At the end of the session, the data is automatically uploaded to the cloud and is ready to be analyzed. This technology was initially designed for elite teams usage and now has expanded into the individual market with Playermaker UNO.
This startup’s wearable solution is already used by Pro clubs in Israel, Colombia, Poland, the English Premier League, including Manchester City and Norwich, teams in the MLS, and 100 U.S. colleges. The technology was also recently accepted into FIFA's new Innovation Programme. Playermaker was founded in 2016 and is run by CEO and Co-Founder: Guy Aharon, CTO: Moran Gad, and COO: Yuval Odem. To date, it has raised $10 million and has expanded into offices outside of Tel Aviv in Florida and London.
Training can't always take place in a gym or on a field. During the pandemic, the majority of us did not have access to gyms, forcing us to adjust our regimens. BlazePod, an Israeli startup founded in 2015, is a fitness-training solution comprised of four light-up pods called Flash Reflex Training. They can be set up anywhere, allowing our exercise to become more flexible and personalized to our hectic schedules. After setting up the app and pods, you have a multitude of workouts to choose from, each focusing on a unique skill (such as decision making, agility, and core). You can also create your own activities to fit your personal goals. The pods are connected to Bluetooth through Bluetooth Low Energy technology and communicate with your smartphone as you work out to provide you with your workout results.
BlazePod has quite a roster of users, such as the Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball team, Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen, Brazilian soccer player Roberto Firmino, and the IDF. To date, it has raised $9.8 million in funding over two rounds, with the majority coming from their most recent Series A funding. Based in Tel Aviv with an additional office in Miami, Florida, Founder and CEO Yaniv Shneiderman is illuminating the world of at-home fitness.
Finding the right nutritionist, beginning a prescribed diet, changing the diet to fit your lifestyle, eventually quitting it because it is too challenging, and then inevitably starting the cycle all over again with a "changed perspective." Sound familiar? Don't worry; you are not the only one. As athletes, nutrition is integral to success-- but often feels impossible to get right. Newt, an Israeli startup, invented a behavioral personalization platform to improve dieting and make nutrition accessible to all. As founder and CEO Gil Kerbs shared in a previous Geektime interview, "our goal is to make not only the best clinical knowledge available, but rather to combine it with cutting edge psychology/behavior knowledge that makes behavior and diet change a real possibility in the long run." Newt utilizes AI to track daily habits and adapt your plan to allow you to stay on track and keep you motivated.
Newt has an impressive advisory board ranging from Joy Bauer, TV host and best-selling author, to Ayelet Weinstein, Head of nutrition for the Israeli Olympic Team, to Prof. Adam Grant, a Wharton top-rated professor and psychology expert. Just founded in 2019, Newt has eight employees and has received funding from a wellness microfund and angel investors. Check out this "newt" way of looking at nutrition.
Trekking to physical therapy regularly is quite an inconvenience and even a detriment to some. So, in response, an Israeli startup created an impressive solution to ease the rehab process. WizeCare, founded in 2012, offers at-home tele-rehabilitation. On the patient side, all one has to do is download the mobile or desktop app, book an appointment, and show up! Behind the scenes of an appointment, WizeCare watches the patient through their camera and applies AI to monitor the patients' skeletal movements to provide them with feedback, ensuring they follow the clinician's directions. They address orthopedic, neurological, and cardiac conditions. Now, starting the road to recovery is just a few movements away.
WizeCare has partnered with Virtual Health PT and Meuhedet Health Services, a large HMO in Israel. The company is run by CEO and Co-Founder Roy Shteren, CTO and Co-Founder Shai David, and is based in Or Yehuda with a second office in New York as it continues to enter the global market. Its US presence has been valuable as it also has worked with the Cleveland Clinic for Parkinson's patients. WizeCare has raised $2 million in funding over three rounds and also was awarded a grant for $8.2 million from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.
Calling all gaming and fantasy sports fans. Have you ever wished to be able to interact and socialize with your teammates, opponents, and others using a single platform? If so, Funatix, an Israeli startup, is on a mission to help. Its flagship product, Real Manager, provides fans with a way to compete in their fantasy leagues, game online, and engage with social networks of fans to feel connected to like-minded people worldwide. Funatix, headquartered in Be'er Sheva, also has a base in Mexico and a significant focus in the soccer market.
They are employed by official soccer leagues, including the Ukrainian Premier League, Super League Greece, Liga Max, and Israeli Premier Football League (IPFL). Additionally, Real Manager was chosen by the IPFL to be the official fantasy game for the 2018–2019 season. Founder and COO Yoni Ben-Simhon, CEO Ohad Crystal, and Co-Founder and CBO Lishar Bahar have raised $1.6 million over two rounds so far.
Improving our performance as athletes is always a priority. So, when RSPCT, an Israeli startup, created an optical sensor to place on the backboard of a basketball hoop to improve shot accuracy, top NBA players were quick to invest. These included JJ Reddick, Chris Paul, and Larry Hughes. RSPCT allows players to track their shot from the release, through the arc, to how it goes through the hoop (hopefully). Analyzing this data enables the player to hone in on their specific weaknesses to develop further.
11 NBA teams, The International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and the Maccabi games utilize this technology. RSPCT is based in Tel Aviv and has an office in Miami, Florida. Led by CEO Oren Moravchik, this company is a slam-dunk for precision training.