Millions of soccer fans worldwide find themselves riveted by this summer’s World Cup – and while Israel isn’t among the teams competing in the quadrennial tournament this year, the Start-Up Nation is not entirely absent. Israeli technologies are helping shape the World Cup experience, leveraging the country’s surging sports tech sector.
From innovative platforms that redefine fans’ viewing experiences to tools for honing athletes’ performance, Israel has witnessed a boom in sports tech startup activity in recent years. Five years ago, the country was home to 61 sports tech companies, compared to 103 today – a 69 percent increase.
Israel’s game-changing sports technologies will be showcased this week during a U.S. roadshow, with 12 Israeli companies visiting teams, stadiums, broadcasting companies, tech partners, and venture capital firms in New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Organized by the Israeli Economic and Commercial Mission to the West Coast and in New York, and the Israeli Export Institute, the delegation features companies working in a range of sports tech spaces, including:
- SmarterTV, founded in 2014, is redefining live broadcasting by creating interactive viewing experiences for fans with live clickable video derived from a machine-based understanding of the image content.
- Founded in 2015, FanPassTick has developed a mobile app whereby sports clubs can resell tickets if the purchasers are unable to attend a game. The company’s technology is designed to eliminate fraudulent tickets, reduce scalpers, and increase team income.
- Pico was founded in 2014 to help companies build brand awareness and boost fan engagement. Designed with sports teams in mind, the company’s technology enables brands to find fans’ user-generated content, communicate with fans, and generate calls to action. To create unique, personalized experiences, Pico harnesses AI and chatbot technologies.
The U.S. trip comes on the heels of an Israeli delegation to Barcelona in May. Participating companies were active in a wide array of fields, including AR/VR, healthcare, and athlete performance. A sampling of companies in the delegation underscores the breadth of Israel’s sports tech spectrum:
- Metabolism differs from person to person, and these differences can significantly influence performance from one athlete to another. Enter Lumen, developed by Metaflow: a device that tracks metabolic rate in real-time by analyzing users’ breath. Combined with nutritional advice and energy insights, Lumen acts as a personal fitness coach.
- SonicBone Medical has developed the Bone Age Ultrasound System, a proprietary diagnostic tool for assessing bones and detecting related disorders. Based on ultrasound technology, the device is geared toward early detection of growth, puberty, and endocrine disorders. Additionally, the company has developed BAUSport™, a system providing a unique ultrasound device for assessing the bone age and predicting the final adult height of young athletes. The system helps inform talent selection, skills development, and training programs.
The secrets to Israel’s sports tech success? They’re not all that different from the mainstays of the world’s top athletes: Dogged persistence, a commitment to excellence, and a vibrant support system – from world-class R&D facilities to robust public and private sector support for innovation.
Fans, athletes, and team owners alike are among the beneficiaries of Israel’s tech ecosystem – and that’s cause for fans of all stripes to cheer.