Start-up Johan shows space-age thinking is the future of sports science

20 Apr 2016

Pictured at Uprise in Amsterdam were Johan founder and CEO Robin van Kappel and data analyst Matthijs Roobek

An Amsterdam start-up accelerated by the European Space Agency called Johan is developing internet of things (IoT) sensors that could improve how entire sports teams train and perform.

Johan was founded by Robin van Kappel and Jelle Reichert in 2013 with the idea of taking the latest satellite technology from Europe and applying it to field sports.

The company was one of a multitude of European start-ups presenting at the Uprise Festival in Amsterdam today.

The start-up won the European Space Agency’s (ESA) satellite navigation competition in 2013 and was accepted into the ESA Business Incubation Centre.

Data analytics is a team play

The idea has evolved to include data analytics and IoT sensors that exist in the form of small objects that can be sewn into sports jerseys to turn the team into a living, breathing network of feedback based on fitness.

The result is real-time analysis of how players are training and performing and how players are recovering from their injuries.

“We have backgrounds in aerospace engineering and the idea was to apply new technologies that make it cheaper to apply but yield higher-quality data,” explained co-founder Robin van Kappel.

The technology is being piloted in The Netherlands but later this summer the plan is to bring the technology to Australia, the US and the UK.

“The hardware is getting easier and easier to make and our technology can gather high-quality data,” said van Kappel.

Johan is backed by angel investors and last month completed a crowdfunding campaign in which it raised €150,000 in just three days, which enabled it to hire two extra employees to finish the prototype.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years