THERE WASN’T A BIG-DATA SOURCE FOR ALL THE NA­TION’S BIG­GEST PASTIMES. UN­TIL TH­ESE GUYS CAME ALONG

Inc. (USA) - - UP NEXT - –CAMERON AL­BERT-DEITCH

An­gela Rug­giero, a four-time Olympic medal­ist for the U.S. na­tional hockey team, adored the heart-rate mon­i­tors she used dur­ing her strength and con­di­tion­ing prac­tices. They helped her fall in love with data and an­a­lyt­ics as well, which led her to get an MBA at Har­vard when her hockey days ended. Af­ter­ward, while at a cof­fee shop in Bos­ton in late 2016, she lamented to se­rial en­tre­pre­neur Josh Walker that the sports in­dus­try rarely used data to jus­tify or in­form huge de­ci­sions. Walker, in turn, was as­tounded that no cen­tral plat­form for such data ex­isted—af­ter all, prac­ti­cally ev­ery other in­dus­try had one. That De­cem­ber, they founded Sports In­no­va­tion Lab, seek­ing to be that data ag­gre­ga­tor—and quickly built an en­vi­able list of clients that in­cludes the NBA, the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Google, Ver­i­zon, In­tel, Ga­torade, and the Cana­dian Olympic Com­mit­tee.

One league came to Rug­giero and Walker seek­ing info on the best tech wear­ables that could mon­i­tor strength and con­di­tion­ing, men­tal train­ing, and post-work­out re­cov­ery, and help with in­jury pre­ven­tion. Af­ter in­ten­sive anal­y­sis, the com­pany told the league: Wear­ables can’t yet pro­vide the ad­vanced bio­met­rics you want, but we’ll up­date you when some­one has a vi­able op­tion. (One well-known com­pany, in­ter­ested in track­ing the en­ergy lev­els, men­tal per­for­mance, and heart rates of its em­ploy­ees, re­ceived the same re­sponse.) By the end of 2019, Rug­giero and Walker ex­pect that an au­to­mated sys­tem will pro­vide the com­pany’s plat­form clients with such per­son­al­ized in­sights and up­dates di­rectly. “This is the ex­cit­ing part,” says Rug­giero. “To help the lead­ers in sports en­vi­sion the fu­ture of sports.”

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