- Founders: Madan Raj Rajagopal
- Founded in: 2019
- Employees: 10
- Money raised: 700.000 euros
- Ultimate goal: To put Ludimos in the toolbox of every cricket player around the world.
Cricket is not a major sport in the Netherlands. Yet there are more than 460 million players worldwide. In India, it is even the number one national sport. Start-up Ludimos does see the potential of this global sport. They are developing a coaching platform with AI-driven analysis of players and their play. Just recently, the young company netted an investment from the Dutch Sport Tech Fund. In this instalment of start-up-of-the-day, Madan Raj Rajagopal talks to us about what this recent investment means for his company and why cricket will soon become a fixture in the Western world.
Why have you chosen to focus on cricket as a Dutch start-up?
“The majority of cricketers hail from the Asian region. However despite that, we are focusing on the British and Australian markets for the time being. In fact, due to two events, we are anticipating an upsurge in interest in cricket in the West. For example, a new international cricket tournament is being organized in America this year. What’s more, cricket may become part of the Olympics in 2028. So that would mean millions of new viewers and potential players. It’s already a huge market, but it keeps on growing.”
How did you come up with the idea for Ludimos?
“I have been playing cricket all my life, but I didn’t see my overall performance improve in 2018. Because of that, I no longer enjoyed the game. Apart from that, I was also asked to coach my club’s juniors. It was quite a tough task. I would give my players feedback during practice. As soon as they walked out the door, they had already forgotten everything. We could start all over again the following week. I realized that training was completely ineffective like that. Then the idea arose to make the process of learning cricket more fun and effective. By documenting the training of the player, using AI-driven analytics, and intensifying the contact between the coach and the players during the week.”
What is Ludimos exactly?
“Ludimos is a software platform that we sell as a service. It helps cricketers with coaching and training. It is data-driven and personalized. We have a platform with two dashboards. One for the coach with a calendar, different coach groups and an AI tool that can analyze the training videos so that the coach can give feedback. You can even watch two videos side by side so you can see how someone’s game has improved. Players can use a similar dashboard to upload their videos and view feedback from the coach. Our goal is that Ludimos will eventually be in every cricketer’s toolbox.”
Dutch Sport Tech Fund recently invested in Ludimos. What does that mean for your company?
“It means a tremendous amount to us. A cricket company from the Netherlands doesn’t sound like much. So for us it is incredibly important to have gotten this local support. We are really gaining recognition now. In addition, with the money and the network we are now in, we can also look at other sports where our technology can also be useful.”
Different kinds of sports also call for new AI training. How do you do that?
“Our software infrastructure plays a huge role in that. We have developed a technology which makes it very easy to enter the data of a new sport. We have a core with basic image detection, which we can easily expand to any number of sports. That information is fed back to a sport-specific layer. By talking to coaches and players, we collect points and insights that they’d like to see incorporated into that layer. All of that has to be labeled. We’ve developed a way to do that which makes it pretty fast. Depending on how much funding we raise, it could take two to three months to develop the first models for other sports. After that, we want to start expanding it with more significant insights as our user base grows.”
What obstacles are you running into right now?
“We are trying to bring change to a traditional sport. Players and coaches have been training the same way for decades. This is why it is sometimes difficult to convince them of how useful our software is. In doing that, we do see that younger players actually have a greater need for personalized and data-driven coaching. They are usually already tech savvy. Digital learning is not a problem for them. So I expect traditional coaches to adapt. They have to. Otherwise they will be left lagging behind. We also notice this change ourselves. Our turnover is growing. We now want to get to the point where we can offer Ludimos to clubs all over the world, and clubs will come to us of their own accord.”
Recently your software scouted someone to play as a professional. How did that happen?
“We are working with a cricket team called the Royal Challenges Bangalore. They play in the Indian Premier League. At their request, we visited thirty cities to scout people. These people were given the chance to throw six balls. Our software then analyzed each throw. With those results, we went back to the club’s scouts. A few people were invited to take a physical test. One of them was one of those raw talents. He is now a successful cricketer who has recently been signed for US$75,000. It was really the decisive factor for us that our software is accurate and that our technology is reliable.”
What distinguishes you from the competition?
“Our unique advantage is that we are able to provide in-depth analysis of a player while at the same time meeting all the needs of coaches. Ludimos distinguishes itself in two aspects. On our platform, the ball, the bat and the player can be analyzed either jointly or separately. This is not possible with any other platform at the moment. In addition, we support coaches and players during the whole process. Not only during training, but also when it comes to drawing up schedules, analyses and developing training sessions.”