Leinster Rugby players invest in Dublin start-up Output Sports

2 Mar 2020

From left: Adam Byrne, Dr Martin O’Reilly and Dan Leavy. Image: Damian Eagers

Now that Output Sports has closed its seed funding round, the Dublin start-up plans to expand into new markets and grow its team.

Irish sports-tech start-up and University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out Output Sports has announced that it closed €1.3m in seed funding.

While the funding round was led by the Atlantic Bridge University Fund, there was additional participation from Elkstone Partners, Enterprise Ireland, angel investors and Leinster Rugby players Adam Byrne and Dan Leavy. John Hearne, co-founder and former CEO of Curám Software, also invested in the business.

Headquartered at NovaUCD, Output Sports was co-founded by Dr Martin O’Reilly, Dr Darragh Whelan, Julian Eberle and Prof Brian Caulfield in 2018. The company is a spin-out of the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, and the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics.

The start-up is now targeting the global sports wearables and sports analytics markets.

Plans for the funding

According to the company, its technology has already been adopted by more than 40 professional teams, including international and Premier League football teams, professional rugby organisations and Olympic athletes in Ireland, the UK and the US.

With its seed funding, Output Sports plans to support its commercial strategy to expand into the elite and sub-elite sports markets in the UK and Europe, while building on key partnerships it has already established in the US market.

The seed round will also enable the Irish firm to expand its R&D and technology teams to develop existing products and follow-on products that the company has planned.

O’Reilly, who is CEO of Output Sports, said: “After six 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 as diverse set of investors, each bringing their own unique value to the Output mission.

“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 nine based at NovaUCD.

“We now look forward to growing the momentum Output Sports is gathering, both commercially and technologically, and tackling the challenges ahead.”

‘The potential to revolutionise athletic performance’

The start-up plans to launch its Output Hub, which will enable coaches and athletes to review, analyse and optimise progression through strength and conditioning and rehab programmes.

The insights provided by the platform leverage artificial intelligence and anonymised back-end wearable sensor data from Output Capture to identify novel key sports performance indicators, injury-risk factors and to enable auto regulation of exercise programme progression.

Leinster Rugby player Leavy commented: “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.”

Dr Helen McBreen, a senior investment director at Atlantic Bridge who will now join Output’s board, added that 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,” she said.

The news comes just days after it was revealed that Sony invested in Dublin-based sports intelligence firm Kitman Labs, which has been backed by former Ireland rugby captain Jamie Heaslip.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic