Start-up raises €1m to create wearable device that helps athletes up their game

28 Apr 2015

Playertek's wearable device helps athletes up their game

A Dundalk-based technology start-up has just raised €1m to develop wearable technology that gives amateur rugby and football players the ability to optimise their training and matches.

Playertek, led by sports technology experts Ronan Mac Ruairi and Kevin McDaid, is bringing technology previously only available to professional players to the amateur or aspiring level.

The system is aimed at players of team sports from football and rugby to GAA and hockey. The Playertek device is currently available to pre-order from Playertek with a RRP of €249, which includes the device, a base station and charger cables.

Future Human

The system is based on GPS and is packed with sensors and smarts that make it easy to measure runs and workloads across training and matches.

The system measures more than 2,000 variables every second and uses algorithms to boil these numbers down to some no-nonsense measurements that help players of all ages to get the most out of their training.

Analytics on the go

Playertek's wearable device helps athletes boost their game

Kevin McDaid and Ronan Mac Ruairi

Players get the main numbers upfront and Playertek provides simple charts that show where improvements can be made.

Players using Playertek can compare their physical performance with each other, with their teammates and even directly with the professionals.

As well as charts and graphs, the system gives you TV-style heat maps that show the player what parts of the pitch they covered and when he or she made their best runs.

“It’s like having a very interested and very knowledgeable coach with you at all times,” explained McDaid.

“It gives players the main numbers upfront and provides simple charts that show where improvements can be made. At its simplest, Playertek measures the distance a player covers, his or her speed and the power they generate.”

McDaid continued: “Playertek is a system that can give a player pinpoint accuracy, it is much more sophisticated than the GPS in a jogger’s watch – because it HAS to be  — football, rugby, GAA, hurling and hockey players for example don’t run in straight lines!”

The €1m investment came from Danu Investment Partners and entrepreneur Branden Gilmore.

“300 million people play football around the world,” said Leonard Ryan from Danu Investment Partners.

“It is the universal sport but there are no GPS-tracking products available for consumers. Smaller sports such as cycling have numerous products so why not football? What Ronan and Kevin have created is a product that is at the professional level for those playing amateur sports,” Ryan said.

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