US sports gear company snaps up Sydney AI tech startup Gameface for $32 million

- September 28, 2021 2 MIN READ
Image: Gameface
US lists sports equipment business Slinger Bag is acquiring Sydney player data analytics startup Gameface.ai for US$24 million (A$32m) in an all-stock deal.

The trans-Pacific ventures have already been collaborating on a new app for Slinger using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide instant analysis of match play to offer technical and strategy insights.

The M&A deal will see Slinger acquire Gameface.ai for more than 6.6 million Slinger shares, plus additional stock worth up to US$3,500,000 in earn-out considerations. The deal values Gameface at US$24 million based on the price of Slinger shares prior to the announcement.

Founded in 2015, Gameface’s software is used by sports teams to scout for talent and analyse player performance pre- and post- game, as well as offering half-time insights. The startup’s initial focus has been on soccer, cricket and basketball.

Slinger CEO Mike Ballardie said they were impressed by the technology expertise and software development capabilities of the Gameface team during the build of the Slinger app.

“The acquisition of Gameface.ai is the next step in our evolution towards building a disruptive, world-class connected sports company and enables us to serve our customers in new and exciting ways,” he said.

“Gameface.ai’s core capabilities are delivered through any camera or phone, which allows us to build consumer-friendly and scalable solutions for the sports market.”

Ballardie said the acquisition will enhance Slinger’s existing technology capabilities across AI, data collection and performance analysis, initially building upon its core tennis offering while also creating opportunities to build connected products and services serving new sports and markets, from consumer technology and media to sports betting.

Gameface co-founder and CEO Jalal Shaik said AI offered a great opportunity to create new athlete and fan experiences using data points that previously were never captured.

“We believe that every athlete or coach should have access to high performance analytics that are relevant and meaningful to them. The time is now for the democratization of high-performance coaching, and our AI technology helps players to train better and improve their performance,” he said.

“Many companies talk about using AI, but AI has been our sole focus and expertise as a company since 2015, and Slinger will now take what we have built to new levels and help us expand to meet the huge growth opportunities we see ahead.”

Gameface will become a Slinger subsidiary and Shaik and the team of 10 engineers are signing on for the new era.

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