Being a HighTechXL alumnus, DashTag is allowed to be on stage again during XL Day tomorrow. Last September they were right at the point where the eight startups of this year’s class are, with their dream “to offer the same gameplay on a real pitch as FIFA16 does in a virtual world.” The recent investment of 250,000 euros makes this dream a reality. “In a year from now we want to be the industry leader in digital sports data” explains Dirk van den Berg, one of the founders of DashTag.
XL Day, the end of the fourth edition HighTechXL is Thursday, September 22 at the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven. For the first time, in addition to participating startups there’s also time to watch the alumni from previous years. What happened to them after HighTechXL? Read more about the program here.
Through a campaign on Leapfunder DashTag received more than 100,000 euros and a private investor added 150,000 to it. DashTag will use this amount to further develop the product, but also to grow regionally. Last year Dirk van den Berg, Epco Berger and Cliff de Roode started their ‘incredible journey‘, now their team has ten members. “We have a designer, an engineer and communication professional on board.”
First there was the Dash, a wearable sensor that measures various data such as position on the pitch, speed, touch and kicking power. After Demo Day, the end of HighTechXL 2015, the sensor has been extensively tested and further developed. Van den Berg: “After a lot of talking to players and coaches we realised that the sensor alone is not enough as a product. It still plays a crucial role in collecting data but young people are talking about a lot of other things to each other than just data. Generation Z, the snapchat-generation, communicates quickly, and in real time. We wish to join. Two weeks old data is no longer relevant. It is the now that counts. We started looking at how we can make wider data from our sensors.”
So DashTag asked for a group of testing teams in early June. From the many applicants 10 football teams were selected, a group of 200 young people aged 12 to 24 years, both men and women, of different levels. Van den Berg and his partners offered the players all sorts of questions for their research and validated their assumptions. For this they also used Facebook Messenger. “Our conversations there lasted an average of 8 minutes. This is really something special, because usually people of that age lose their interest after 30 seconds. Among the questions we asked: what’s your name, where do you prefer to play, what do you like, what facts speak up, what are your interests, which computer games you play. It’s not about the 8 minutes, but we learned a lot about how they talk and how they behave.”
Van den Berg: “Our product is an online sports platform focused on football. A crucial element here is the sensor with an accompanying app. Our sensor collects data and we link those data to the weather, the location and time of the next match, things like that. I cannot say much more about that, because we want to keep that for the launch of the app and platform later this year. The sensor we want to bring to the market in early 2017.”
“Now we need user growth”, and the team is convinced that they will achieve this. “We see our 200 ambassadors, out of the first beta group, grow by about 30% each week. Of course we need to bring our product out to the audience in order to achieve this growth. Epco has just returned from a business trip to America and has talked with various people and companies, such as the consulate, Under Armour, SportTechie, all sorts of startups and other enterprises. Just to listen and learn. And yes, it works: SportTechie wrote about us after speaking with Epco. In December we also do an official presentation on a fair in Geneva, to share our vision, next to the big sports brands and sports associations from all over Europe.”
So where will DashTag be in a year from now? “Then we are the market leader in the field of sports data for youth in team sports. Not only in the Netherlands but also in European top countries like Germany, England and Italy.”
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