Startup

Amritsar-based founders hit sixers in Australia with their IoT-enabled sports products

Thimmaya Poojary
15th Jan 2019
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With StanceBeam, you can better your game at cricket with a 360-degree batting performance analysis with all the information on an app. And guess what? It is already being sold in Australia.

Have you ever wondered if you can get a minute-by-minute, stroke by stroke analysis of the highs and lows of your work? So do our beloved cricketers! Players will often sit through their matches, observing their every move, watching themselves in slo-mo on YouTube, making notes and trying to get better. But, do they really have to? After all, tech is smart enough now.

While India created history by winning its first overseas cricket test series in Australia, another dream team is being driven by two techies, hailing from a small village in Amritsar, Punjab. The duo set out to create an array of smart sports products that can assist players to realise their full potential.

StanceBeam, a Bengaluru-based 18-month-old startup, founded by brothers Arminder Thind and Ishwinderpal Singh, has a hi-tech miniature product, which can be fitted onto the handle of a cricket bat to provide a 360-degree analysis for a batsman. The product is already being sold in sports shops across Australia.

Arminder and Ishwinderpal's smart sports product is a combination of hardware and software.

“I was always passionate about sports right from my childhood, which included pedalling 10 km daily to my school on my bicycle,” says Arminder, CEO and Co-founder. His passion for cricket was shared by his younger brother Ishwinderpal, who is the real technology brain behind the product.

Both of them went through their own conventional routes to attaining an engineering degree and securing a corporate job, though Arminder adds, “Even when I was working with a corporate, I always knew that one day I will start something of my own.”

Cricket, stancebeam

The start of StanceBeam 

After a decade of corporate life, Arminder decided to chuck it all away four years ago and follow his passion. He wanted to explore new and special things in the sports arena.

While he tried and experimented with various business models like being an aggregator of sports grounds or introducing sports curriculum in schools, none really achieved the desired scale due to certain challenges. However, the blessing came when he found out certain fundamental gaps in sports in India, especially in a game like cricket.

“The two big pain points I saw for cricket in India were not enough good coaches and secondly, there are a huge number of talented players in the hinterlands, who never got noticed,” says Arminder.

During this time, the founders delved deeper and realised that in order to step into the sports tech segment, it was not just about building a product but also about distribution.

The global sports industry is estimated to worth $600-700 billion and the smart tech segment only make up around seven percent of it.

Performance analysis

Arminder and Ishwinderpal brainstormed on creating a product, which can provide an instant and complete analysis of a batsman’s performance during practice sessions. These include bat speed, 3D swing analysis, power index and shot efficiency.

StanceBeam’s product, called ‘Striker’, is an Internet of Things (IoT) device, which transmits all the data through Bluetooth onto a mobile app. The device measures the performance of a player and any coach can get instant data and analysis in hand through the app.

The question is - Why did StanceBeam choose the batsmen in the entire cricket ecosystem? Arminder says, “A bat generally constitutes around 60 percent of the game.”

Currently bootstrapped with funds raised from friends and family, StanceBeam found many well-wishers on its journey. Arminder’s connections in the sports industry in Jalandhar opened the doors to many individuals and companies, who provided a lot of valuable inputs.

Similarly, having participated in Karnataka government’s Elevate 100 Programme and winning the prize gave the duo the much need funds to continue with their R&D activity. They also participated in a niche sports analytics conference, which connected them to the who’s who of global cricket.

Made in India

Arminder is proud of the fact that StanceBeam’s products are completely made in India with the design done in Bengaluru and manufacturing in NCR.

For StanceBeam, the big boost came from its association with Kookaburra, the leading sports good manufacturer and brand in the games of cricket and hockey, headquartered in Australia. 

Kookaburra provided valuable inputs in its product development and they have now formalised their relationship with a distributor agreement. Under this, Kookaburra distributes StanceBeam product across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and England. The product is priced at AUD 250.

However, there is considerable competition for StanceBeam in the sports tech arena as there are many homegrown startups and foreign companies in the segment.

Arminder says the difference between StanceBeam and others is the time to market. “We have been solely focussed on product creation, which is visible in the market and nobody has created a smart sports device,” he says.

Today, StanceBeam has set a bigger goal for themselves, which includes getting into other aspects of cricket like bowling, fielding etc. It also has plans to connect the fans of the game through its analytics technology and the team is currently engaged in discussions with a couple of broadcasters. This also includes a presence in India where StanceBeam plans to hold the licence for nationwide distribution and to this end, it is looking to raise funds.

“In three years’ time, we will be a multi-sport and multi-product company,” says Arminder.

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