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How a simple ‘no’ led this Shark Tank star to founding his successful sports tech start-up

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William Strange

William Strange, 26, started his company Sports Performance Tracking when he was spurned by local sports science tech market leader Catapult Sports.

An avid sportsman, William played football for his local club. When he got in contact to see if they could provide tech for his local team, he was rejected. He was told his team wasn’t professional enough for their tech.

He saw an opening, so he started SPT and created GameTracka. It’s a GPS tracking device that monitors players movements during training or the game.

Will’s already a serial entrepreneur. He started his successful business, Three65 Underwear, in 2013 at age 24. It offered traditionally shopping-shy men a delivery of fresh underwear and socks with delivery regularity depending on the deal.

He went on to pitch it on Channel 10’s Shark Tank and received an on-air offer from Janine Allis and Naomi Simson to take an equity stake in the startup.

After a stint at running two businesses, William focused his attention on SPT, which launched signature product GameTraka in January 2015.

Now he’s built a booming business out of it

SPT has become a major Australian competitor for Catapult. It has raised $2.5 million in two separate rounds, backed by Brady Scanlon and Tony Gandel, the sons of Rich Listers John Gandel and Peter Scanlon.

The business now closing in on the elites, picking up major local or international clients: Melbourne University Hockey, Victoria University, Sunderland A.F.C (UK), Bristol Rovers (UK), Real Oveido (Spain), Club Rosario (Argentina), Old Scotch high school, Ballarat Football Club, Gippsland Power and Coburg VFL.

SPT product2

“At it’s most basic level, SPT does for sub-elite sporting clubs what data scientists do for the major players. It’s a no-brainer – the clubs and players are thrilled to finally have access to this kind of data to help improve performance,” said William.

“In the past three years, we’ve expanded so that our technology is now in more than 40 countries. We’ve found a huge gap in the market and filled it with a cheap and simple GPS solution that provides valuable data to teams and coaches.”

“The hardware tracks what athletes do during training and games and the software package breaks it down in an easy to read format.”

What exactly does SPT do?

You can see players’ distance, speed, speed zones, heat maps and top speeds, among other data. Following the game, the data appears on SPT’s dashboard and within 30 seconds you have collations and outcomes. With the elite players, it can take days.

Using objective data to provide measurable ways to improve player performance at the basic level.  SPT and GameTracka give coaches a means to monitor players on the field, keep track of their fitness and movement and assess team strengths and weaknesses.

SPT product in use

The real value of SPT’s product is in the software rather than the hardware. The business is growing at rapid rate because the data is accessible and understandable to teams, without needing interpretation by a professional data scientist.

In 2015, SPT won startup pitching event Slush Down Under and was flown to Helsinki to present the technology to over 15,000 tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, where they came in the top 25, out of 5000+ contestants.

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