Utrecht-based Mingle Sport, a sports tech startup focused on grassroots ball sports, announced that it has raised €1.75M in its Seed round of funding to further develop its app. According to the company, this investment follows an earlier round of €1.5M, making Mingle Sport one of the bigger sports tech startups to raise such money in such an early phase.
Freek Bijl, co-founder and CEO of Mingle Sport, says, “Developing modern sports tech requires substantial investments. This is understood in America, but in Europe, investments for the early phases are still relatively small. That is why we focus on investors on both sides of the Atlantic. Currently, we have investors from the Netherlands, Denmark, France, US and Canada.”
Last year, more than 12 billion was invested in sports tech worldwide, a growth of more than 400 per cent. Compared to the US, Europe is lagging behind.
“Changing the grassroots ball game”
Founded in 2021 by Freek Bijl, Joost Bollen, Nicky Rog and Tim van Asch, Mingle Sport is a sports tech startup focused on grassroots ball sports. The company is building an app for ball sports using computer vision AI, design and mobile technology.
The app for football and padel, among other sports, is yet to be launched. When launched, it will initially be available to a limited number of users. Explaining this situation, Freek Bijl says, “We have consciously chosen to roll out the app within a select number of clubs first. Making an advanced app for the masses takes time and requires attention to things like privacy by design and high video quality.”
To try to secure early access, users can register on the waiting list on Mingle.Sport.
Mobile and AI make sports tech accessible to the masses
According to Bijl, “Professional ball sports are way ahead in the field of sports tech. Cameras are everywhere and every athlete wears special sensors these days. However, amateur ball sports are rarely ‘captured’ – neither the performance nor the experience is digitally recorded. Yet, there is no shortage of advanced cameras alongside amateur fields, courts and grounds. The problem is that most people keep their smartphone in their pocket.”
Mingle Sport uses technology in smartphones, computer vision (using computers to extract meaningful information from images) and AI to transform this situation. The company’s app can create match reports, offer chats with team members, and also helps build one’s profile with statistics.
The app is for all ball sports, with the initial focus on football (soccer), tennis, padel and basketball. “We’re making an app for the Fortnite and TikTok generation, so we’re using AI to make cool videos and better stats. Our mission is to help more people enjoy ball sports,” adds Bijl.