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Volume 24 No. 180

Technology

Louisville-based data intelligence firm EdjSports "wants to change the way football views itself" and has been "marketing an analytics product called EdjFootball to NFL and college teams since June," according to Gentry Estes of the Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL. EdjFootball has the "ability to measure the chaotic nature of the sport in order to gain a strategic edge in games." To do it, EdjSports uses a computer model that "compiles past data and runs it through millions of play-by-play game simulations to tell coaches ahead of time what’s the best move in any situation -- be it a run, pass, field goal or punt." EdjSports President Tony DeFeo said, "There's nothing else that really gives you that context." DeFeo can "speak a football coach’s language as well as that of a data analyst." He has worked with the 49ers on "salary cap optimization and contracts, and data and analytics operations." EdjSports is an offshoot of EdjAnalytics, a company Chief Business Development Officer & co-Founder Frank Frigo started in '13 that "uses data to help decision-making in industries such as health care, education and financial markets." EdjSports said that a "small number of NFL teams are already using its product." Frigo and DeFeo said that some of those teams have been "winning this season." Frigo: "There are some teams that we've worked with that are clearly behaving differently and better." Frigo and DeFeo "didn’t name past or current clients, but there were hints" in their office. The walls were "lined with team logos," such as the Eagles, Steelers, Chiefs, Cardinals, Raiders, Lions, Colts and Saints (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 12/14).

Colorado-based sports tech startup Sports VTS is releasing a new VR-based football training simulator called QBSIM. The simulator seeks to build upon many existing VR-based sports training systems by involving real-time player data from Pro Football Focus, as well as actual helmets, pads and footballs, providing more tactile feedback to pair with the simulated environments. The company was co-founded by former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, who said, “I see a real opportunity to take the kind of simulation technology I saw in my military background, and pair it with the needs of GMs and coaches.” The Air Force grad added, “This is a way to get repetitions in game-speed settings and reaction from a virtual players without risk of injury.” The company has raised about $1M to date in a private fundraising, and is developing a Series A round for ’18. Costs for QBSIM have not been disclosed, but the product will be sold primarily on a monthly license basis. Meanwhile, Sports VTS also is working with former Catapult Sports President of North America Brian Kopp. A ’16 SBJ Forty Under 40 winner, Kopp has joined Sports VTS as Exec Dir of Business Development, a part-time, more advisory role that will allow him to continue with his other consulting work in the sports tech and analytics spaces. “I see a ton of potential here, not only for training environments, but also potentially more commercial, fan engagement types of applications,” Kopp said.