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May 20, 2014 10:39 am

Israeli Tennis Analytics Company Attracts Investors Bill Ackman, Billie Jean King and Novak Djokovic

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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PlaySight's SmartCourt. Photo: PS.

PlaySight's SmartCourt. Photo: PS.

PlaySight Interactive Ltd., an Israeli sports analytics company, said it raised $3.5 million from Novak Djokovic, the world’s second-ranked tennis player, Billie Jean King, women’s tennis legend, and Bill Ackman, founder of Pershing Capital Management LLC, Israel’s Globes business daily reported on Tuesday.

Other investors in the round include Venturehouse Group CEO Mark Ein, Dr. James Loehr, and Ray Benton.

PlaySight created an affordable, tennis analytics system called the ‘SmartCourt’.

The new investment will fund a global roll-out of SmartCourt and R&D for applications for other popular sports, in addition to tennis. The company plans to apply its technology to basketball, soccer, hockey, baseball and other fields.

PlaySight CEO Chen Shachar, chief product designer Yoram Bentzur and CTO Evgeni Khazanov founded the company in 2011. PlaySight is headquartered in New York and has R&D offices in Kfar Saba, Israel.

PlaySight’s SmartCourt technology is installed at a number of prestigious venues including Roland Garros in Paris (home of the French Tennis Federation), CourtSense Tennis Training Center in New Jersey, Queens Club in London, Stefan Edberg’s academy in Sweden, Holland’s Laurense Tennis Academy (the training center for legendary coach Sven Groeneveld) and Ramat Hasharon tennis center in Israel. The International Tennis Federation approved its use in amateur tournaments.

PlaySight has already installed 35 SmartCourts globally, including 19 in the U.S. Its first collegiate court is at The University of Georgia, and it’s scheduled to install at more than 100 facilities in Florida, California, New York and at other locations around the world later this year.

“When we developed this technology we saw an opportunity to create an affordable, easy-to-install, cloud-based system for athletes of all levels to improve their game,” CEO Chen Shachar said. “In the same way that wearable tech devices and micro-cameras are transforming running and extreme sports, we are certain that SmartCourts will make tennis more engaging and fun.”

“PlaySight combines advanced player analytics technology (PAT) with video-replay and social media to deliver an exceptional experience to the world’s 100 million tennis players,” Shachar said. “It will change the way we play ball-sports forever.”

Venturehouse Group CEO Mark Ein said, “PlaySight has the potential to revolutionize the game of tennis as well as other sports through bringing the same sophisticated analytics available at the highest levels sports at a price point that makes it accessible to clubs and players of all levels around the globe.”

“Through this ‘video-gamification’ of sports, PlaySight will make the game more fun and appealing to new and casual players while providing an incredibly valuable training tool for the more frequent player,” investor Ein said.

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