Israel’s technological startup sector, which is now worth more than US$6 billion, is made up of 8,500 enterprises, all with a red-hot entrepreneurial mentality. Israel has a thriving network of innovators in the sports technology field, which is unexpected given its small domestic sports landscape.
With the rise of digital sports consumption throughout the world and continued AI breakthroughs, Israel’s technology sector is seizing the opportunity to create a new value chain centered on real-time content automation, video personalization, and user experience monetization.
Heavyweight sports properties in the United States and Europe have already taken notice. Israel’s sports startups have raised more than $800 million to date, thanks to support from international technology giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Intel – though the sector is estimated to be worth much more.
Keep an eye on these Israeli startups in sports tech
Today, there are over 600 sports-related tech startups in Israel’s startup sector, with 220 of them directly tied to the sports industry. Let’s look at the startups causing a stir.
Modern sports fans want more content provided to them on more platforms and devices than ever before, and they want it delivered faster than ever before. WSC Sports, a Tel Aviv-based startup, was founded to service the sports industry and has developed technology to assist sports rights holders in meeting fans’ ever-changing consumption habits.
WSC Sports’ technology uses AI and machine learning algorithms to create real-time sports highlights, analyze, label, and rank every event during a game (for over 20 different sports). Technology like this enables rights holders to distribute videos in real-time, allowing them to interact with fans, expand their brands, and explore new revenue streams for their material.
WSC Sports collaborates with more than 150 rights holders worldwide, making it a great way to keep updated on the Bundesliga, and your other favorite leagues like the NBA, the PGA, and a long list of others.
The startup raised over $36 million in funding since its inception in 2011 and has quickly grown to over 200 current employees. The star-studded lineup includes Daniel Shichman, co-founder and CEO, and his pals and fellow co-founders, Hy Gal (COO), Aviv Arnon (CDBO), and Shmulik Yoffee (CTO).
What Track160 works on is an automated video-based sports analytics tool that tracks players’ jersey numbers, team colors and textures, and distinctive player movements to deliver game insights using computer vision technology.
Track160 saw the gap between coaches and players and developed technologies to save everyone time and reduce stress. Track160 cameras can be strategically placed across the event (field or court) to collect video data from multiple perspective points.
The acquired data is then evaluated with AI and deep learning to determine the most significant plays, which are then added to a team-shared video gallery.
The startup Playform, based in Rehovot, Israel, recognizes the importance of tracking young and upcoming football stars. They developed a mobile app to track the actions and skills of young soccer players. The video data captured on your iPhone is processed using computer vision and AI algorithms to provide immediate and personalized feedback to coaches, clubs, and players, making soccer technology far more accessible.
This company has grown to over 20 people since its inception in 2018, and it has a fantastic collaboration with Washington Youth Soccer (WYS). Projections say Playform will accelerate its rise to the top by expanding into other sports verticals shortly. Led by CEO Shmulik Barel, Co-Founder and COO Ehud Simon, and Co-Founder and VP of Business Development Haim Trabelsi.
An automated sportscasting technology allows broadcasters to create game and player recordings, utilizing an unmanned multi-camera system and stitch together a panoramic image of the whole playing area.
The Petah Tikva-based company was founded in 2013 and has already received $40 million in investments.
A sports analytics system founded in 2010, this startup delivers real-time, automatic videos that can record an athlete’s activity and motion during any match or training session. This Kefar Sava-based startup was primarily designed for court-based sports and has received $36 million in investments.
This global fantasy soccer platform combines mobile app games and social media networks to promote user engagement. It was founded in 2018 and has already collaborated with the Israeli Premier League.
The company has also already received $100,000 in investments in the short amount of time it has been on the market.
Replay’s freeD technology, also known as Free Dimensional Video, was acquired by Intel for $175 million in May 2016, just five years after it was first established. It uses 4K cameras mounted in stadiums to create a 360-degree viewing experience.
There’s little doubt Israel is home to some of the most interesting sports tech startups and is making some serious headway in the industry. Watch out world: Times are changing and the old guard should take this as a warning. Stay tuned for more to come.
Photo credit: The feature image is a mockup, to represent sports analytics technology. The source photo has been taken by Michele Valotti.