Gadgets

Zepp Labs gets $15M to own the sports data market

Image Credit: Zepp Labs

There will come a day when every sports game will have some element of data — a brand that brings you the Halftime analysis in a whole new way.

Zepp Labs, which raised $15 million in funding today, says it’s going to be that brand.

The company sells a sensor that can monitor your swing and give you feedback on it. It works with your tennis racket, baseball bat, or your golf glove. When we asked chief executive Jason Fass whether the company was looking at more sports, he confirmed he’s already on it.

“Yes, we are working on more. We raised $15 million in the Series B round with a pretty big vision,” he said in an interview. “The way we look at it is we think every ball, bat, racket, helmet, shoe, [data from] all these things are going to be digitally collected.”

The company says it is focusing on the software side of things and will be hiring a number of engineers in the future alongside app developers and graphic designers. Sony recently announced at CES that it is also putting out a sports sensor, but Fass thinks Zepp Labs is much better positioned as a small software company to take on the sports market.

“I think there’s a lot of differences with our tech and our future versus Sony, but fundamentally I think we’re better positioned from a software perspective, and we’re more connected,” said Fass. “I think we’re going to be able to adapt to the athletic and sports market in the way only a small brand can.”

The company is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and its sensors are currently distributed through the Apple and Verizon stores as well as its own website. Fass says the company is currently talking with sports and equipment stores as well as “technology locations.”

After doing some recruiting, Zepp is going to spend some money on research and development — both on the software and hardware sides. The company is always looking for better sensor and power components, as well as new uses for the product. And it seems like the team barely has to do any of the heavy lifting. Zepp’s customers are already emailing about new ways they want to use the device, which is a little bigger than the size of a quarter.

“I got an email the other day from a musician who wanted a Zepp for teaching a repetitive motion for guitar or drumming,” said Fass.

While you might not see a musically-focused Zepp just yet, you might start seeing some interesting partnerships on the software side. Fass named Strava as one of the more interesting sports and data apps to watch and said he could see a nice relationship with the company.

The two have already spoken together, though nothing is in stone yet.

Zepp was founded in 2012. Investors in this round include GGV Capital, Bertelsmann, and Cherubic Ventures as well as existing investor Legend Capital, which provided Zepp’s first round of $5 million.


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