Business, it’s in the game….

How Irish sport tech SMEs are changing the sporting world

Business isn’t a game, but for a number of companies we’ve had on That Great Business Show, there can be a great business in sport. People play sports in every corner of the world so the opportunities in the sports business are truly global.

We had great fun on Episode 25, when we spoke with sports tech enthusiast and co-founder, James Murphy of Impact Gumshields. One great tip he gave us was about marketing on ‘no’ (absolutely no!) budget. To get the word out about his truly innovative gum shields, James called on his pal and Irish international rugby player, Ian Madigan, to help with a promo video. The resulting video, already seen by a million people, is truly eye-wateringly funny.  

The company was founded in 2013 with the vision of providing amateurs and professional athletes of contact sports with the best customised dental protection possible. The company claims to provide custom gumshields in a better, quicker and more cost-efficient manner than competitors such as from dentists or shop-brought brands. This is the real differentiator. After significant trial and error, Impact Gumshields use bespoke (and now patented) software and 3D technology to provide sportspeople with a superior fitting and protective gumshield.

Many Irish rugby players now wear these gumshields. They’re official gumshield supplier (yes, there is such a thing! to Munster Rugby team and they’re expanding into the UK, Belgium, Holland and New Zealand. And the opportunities don’t stop there. From retainers to whitening trays, the future business possibilities for Impact Gumshields seem endless!

Jerry Foley of XR Concepts Ltd, featured in Episode 22, wants to improve golfers play on golf courses all over the world. The company plans to revolutionise sports training utilising a combination of emerging and existing technologies, including VR, IoT, AI, machine learning and 5G/Mobile technologies. XR (standing for ‘Extended Reality’) Concepts give ‘short-game’ golfers automated and immediate feedback for performance improvement. The technology compares players’ swing and technique with a range of different professionals and identifies which professionals’ technique best matches the player. Jerry says that this technology can be applied to many other sports that use specialised equipment and exploration for its use in these other games is actively being pursued, again to a worldwide audience.

GloFox, co-founded by Conor O’Loughlin

We met former rugby pro Conor O’Loughlin from GloFox on Episode 5 of That Great Business Show, a man who is hoping to change the fitness industry forever. Founded in 2014, with offices in Dublin, Los Angeles, Galway and Sydney, their gym management software for the fitness business, from small studios to global gym chains. Designed for boutique, group-focused fitness studios and gyms the company has raised $23 million in funding to date and is going from strength to strength with a new live streaming platform for gyms as it focuses on helping the fitness industry through the pandemic.

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