Str8bat is starting off with cricket and plans to move to other racquet/bat-based sports as business expands
For Gagan Daga, this startup is the realisation of his unfulfilled childhood dream.
Born in Indore (central India) and raised in Kolkata, he had given his best when chasing his dream of becoming a well-recognised cricketer, like his idol Sachin Tendulkar. He had the talent and charisma, and he also participated in under-16 tournaments at school-level. But then, fate had something else in store.
“Str8bat is one of my unrealised childhood dreams,” he tells e27. “Sports in general, and cricket in particular, has always been my passion. I used to play in under-16 tournaments in the school-level, but professional-level competitions were still beyond my reach. Maybe, my efforts were not good enough. So I decided to focus on the studies back then, which was an easier option,” he says. “Now after staying off the field for more than 20 years, I have decided to fulfil my childhood dream through my own startup.”
Based in Bangalore, Str8bat is a motion capture and analytics company. It has created a platform for capturing the motion, form and performance of a player, giving instant feedback to both the coach and player in real time. This helps the player improve his performance.
The company is starting off with cricket, the most popular sports event in India, and plans to move to other racquet/bat-based sports as it expands.
The startup was co-founded in 2016 by Daga (CEO), who left his more than 12 years’ career at SAP, along with Rahul Nagar and Ritesh Kapahi. Like Daga, Nagar also comes from a sports background — he used to run marathons and is also a long-distance swimmer.
“I had realised that wearables had huge potential in marathons and other sports. I thought why we couldn’t bring the same wearables into cricket. This is the primary reason why I joined Str8bat,” Nagar says.
How Str8bat works
Str8bat is essentially a batting coach assistant. It leverages IoT to improve the skills and performance levels of players. Players and coaches get instant, visual and actionable insights, real-time motion capture, and a dashboard to show their weak spots and trends.
Str8bat Co-founders Gagan Daga (4th from right), Rahul Nagar (2nd from right), and Ritesh Kapahi (5th from right) with the rest of the team
“Str8bat is a simple device,” explains Daga. “It is a light-weight sensor, which is attached to the back of the bat. The player can now go to the field with his bat and start to play. As he plays, the sensor starts sending data to the coach’s mobile phone in real time.”
The coach can add as many players as he wants to his database and can record the sessions of each player. The dashboard has the details all the players. He can then select a player and see the sessions played by him/her on a particular date. Upon clicking ‘the session’, it will show the summary of all the shots played by that player. Based on this feedback, the coach can give suggestions and instructions to improve the players’ skills.
“Sports has been changing for the good and cricket has also witnessed an evolution since 1992. If you look at the overall evolution, most of these changes have been driven by camera. Infrastructure and equipment also got better. However, on the ground level, nothing has changed. Players and coaches still follow the same old methodology on the field, and we want to change that,” Daga shares.
The company claims to have bagged a few paying customers already. They include MS Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai, Just Cricket Academy in Bangalore, and Dave Whatmore Academy in Chennai. The startup also had sessions with some players of the India A, India Test, and Afghanistan teams recently.
Late last year, Str8bat raised an angel round of approximately US$300,000 from HNIs in India, the US, and Thailand.
“Our ultimate aim is to become a sports-tech motion capture platform play, where anybody can build targeted sports applications on top of our hardware, software and app framework,” adds Co-founder and COO Nagar.
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