Output Sports, a University College Dublin (UCD) sports technology spin-out, today announced that it has closed a €1.3 million seed funding round. The funding round was led by the Atlantic Bridge University Fund, with Elkstone Partners, Enterprise Ireland, and angel investors, John Hearne, co-founder and former CEO of Curám Software and Leinster Rugby players, Adam Byrne and Dan Leavy. The global sports wearables and sports analytics markets which Output Sports is targeting are multi-billion and rapidly growing markets.
Using advanced signal processing and machine learning techniques Output Sports has developed Output Capture, an end-to-end solution that can test multiple components of athletic performance and track training programmes with a single wearable sensor. Now for the first time ever, a wearable for exercise analysis can enable coaches to truly understand athletes and optimise their performance in a single, user-centric, fully integrated system. The company, headquartered at NovaUCD, was co-founded in 2018 by Dr Martin O’Reilly, Dr Darragh Whelan, Julian Eberle and Professor Brian Caulfield as a spin-out from the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics following the completion of Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Funding.
Output // Capture systems are already being used by over 40 professional teams including international and premier league football teams, professional rugby organisations and Olympic athletes in Ireland, UK and USA. The seed funding will support the company’s commercial strategy to expand Output // Capture into the elite and sub-elite sports markets in the UK and Europe and to build on key partnerships already established in the US market. The funding will also enable the company to expand its R&D and technology team to develop, Output // Hub and Output // Insights, follow-on products to Output // Capture.
Dr Martin O’Reilly, CEO and co-founder, Output Sports said, “After 6 years of research in UCD it is incredibly exciting to reach this pivotal milestone of seed investment. We are invigorated to be backed by such a diverse set of investors, each bringing their own unique value to the Output mission.” He added, “As a company we believe greatly in the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. This funding will enable us to build our team who have skills and expertise in business development, sports science, engineering, data science, strength and conditioning and physiotherapy. In the coming months the company will grow to a team of 9 based at NovaUCD.” He concluded, “We now look forward to growing the momentum Output Sports is gathering both commercially and technologically and tackling the challenges ahead.”
Output // Hub will enable coaches and athletes to efficiently review, analyse and optimise progression through strength and conditioning and rehab programmes. Output // Insights will leverage artificial intelligence and the anonymised back-end wearable sensor data from Output Capture to identify novel key sports performance indicators, injury-risk factors and to enable autoregulation of exercise programme progression.
Dr Helen McBreen, Senior Investment Director, Atlantic Bridge said, “Atlantic Bridge is delighted to welcome Output Sports to our growing portfolio in the University Fund, a €60 million fund focused on commercialising cutting-edge research from leading third-level institutions.” “Based on research carried out at the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics at UCD, the company’s unique and proprietary technology platform has the potential to revolutionise athletic performance measurement and analytics, and serve a large and growing global sport performance market.” “The company strongly represents the commercial strength of the world-class academic research underway at UCD and illustrates how Atlantic Bridge can accelerate and scale early-stage companies internationally.” Following the investment Dr McBreen is joining the Board of Directors of Output Sports.
Declan Magee, Venture Partner, Elkstone Partners said, “We’ve known Martin, Darragh and Julian for just under a year and have been impressed by how they have translated their energy, passion and elite academic research into a commercial solution that has commanded the attention of many of the world’s leading professional sports teams.” “STATSports proved with its on-field tracking system that a world class sports tech business can be built from Ireland, and we believe that Output Sports has the potential to achieve a similar position in the off-field testing and performance analytics market.”
Angel investor and Leinster Rugby player, Dan Leavy, said, “Output Sports initially reached out to me and the company’s novel technology helped me on my road to recovery. They combine an exciting team of young motivated researchers and entrepreneurs with an ambitious vision to not only improve athlete optimisation processes in elite sports but also to bring the benefits of pro-sports tech to a wider audience than ever previously possible.”
Output Sports was named ‘Best Early Stage’ company, at the Dublin Final of the 2019 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition.
Pictured (l-r) at the UCD Institute for Sport and Health are; Dr Darragh Whelan and Dr Martin O’Reilly, co-founders, Output Sports; angel investors and Leinster Rugby players, Dan Leavy and Adam Byrne; and Julian Eberle, co-founder, Output Sports. (Credit: Damien Eagers).