Startup helps basketball players capture hoop highlights

SportsVisio Team
Nov 2022

Jason Syversen finally works for a company he can tell you about.

The engineer has spent most of his career in cybersecurity, most notably with Siege Technologies, a research and development company he launched in 2009 in Manchester that was acquired in 2016.

His resume includes eight years at BAE Systems and two in D.C. working for the Defense Department.

What did he do at work? He wasn't allowed to say.

Now he can talk about basketball.

While SportsVisio's technology may be proprietary, there's nothing top secret about its purpose. The Manchester startup uses artificial intelligence to automate statistics, analytics and video highlights for basketball players, gleaning data from real-time footage that users can view on a smartphone. The company recently closed on $3.1 million in seed funding

"At Siege we did a lot of classified work that I couldn't talk about or it was super-complicated technically, and people didn't understand it if I was allowed to talk about it," Syversen said during an interview last week. "But this is really fun. You can show people what you're doing. Even my children understand."

The current iteration of SportsVisio involves using dual smartphones. The company is developing a new version that will require only one phone and will have controls on a tripod. Since launching its product two weeks ago, the company has attracted a half a dozen customers and has about 30 on a waiting list. They're hoping to add 25 high schools or middle schools this month, charging $350 per season.

"We're rolling it out to each one slowly, trying to work out the bugs, and getting the single-camera solution up," he said.

Syversen agreed SportsVisio shares some similarities with Helios, an Exeter-based company that helps hockey players improve their performance through the use of body-worn sensors and a smartphone app.

SportsVisio, whose product uses computer vision technology but does not include hardware, sees a broad market for youth and amateur players, their coaches and their parents.

"Right now what we're focused on with basketball is stats and video highlights, which we're going to expand more on the entertainment side," he said. "We're going to add some Snapchat-style filters, where you can put a fireball on the ball or on the hoop and add music and put the clips on social media, kind of catering to the younger generation. Not everyone is going to go pro. Some people are just playing to have fun."

The $3.1 million funding round was led by Hyperplane Venture Capital, a Boston-based company focused on early-stage technology companies, especially those using artificial technology. The round also included Geek Ventures, Sovereign's Capital and some other investors.

"With the advances in edge devices over the past several years, we've seen a dramatic decrease in the cost to deploy computer vision applications at scale," said John Murphy, founder and managing partner at Hyperplane, in a statement.

SportsVisio employs about 25 people, including seven in Manchester. The rest work from remote locations, including Canada, Florida and South America.

This is what "retirement" looks like for Syversen, who has six children and is a longtime competitive basketball player and youth league coach.

The Dunbarton resident remained with Siege Technologies for about a year after the company was acquired by Virginia-based Nehemiah Security. He was financially able to retire at the ripe old age of 42 in 2019.

Syversen didn't need more money, but he needed a sense of purpose.

"You can sit by the pool and just drink mojitos or play golf all day, but I don't think that's why humans are created," said Syversen, who founded a charitable foundation and seeded it with most of his earnings from the sale of his business. He plans to invest whatever money he makes from SportsVisio into the foundation, which supports nonprofits.

In addition to serving as CEO of SportsVisio, he manages 10X Venture Partners, an angel investment group in Manchester, and sits on the boards of four nonprofit groups.

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