Startup helps basketball players capture hoop highlights

Nov. 13—JASON SYVERSEN FINALLY works for a company he can tell you about.

The engineer has spent most of his career in cybersecurity, notably at Siege Technologies, a research and development company he launched in 2009 in Manchester and which was acquired in 2016.

His resume includes eight years at BAE Systems and two at DC working for the Department of Defense.

What was he doing at work? He had no right to say that.

Now he can talk about basketball.

Although SportsVisio’s technology is proprietary, there’s nothing top secret about its purpose. The Manchester startup uses artificial intelligence to automate statistics, analysis and video highlights for basketball players, gleaning data from real-time footage that users can view on a smartphone. The company recently closed $3.1 million in seed funding.

“At Siege, we did a lot of classified work that I couldn’t talk about or it was technically very complicated, and people didn’t understand if I was allowed to talk about it,” Syversen said in an interview the latest. last week. “But it’s really fun. You can show people what you’re doing. Even my kids get it.”

The current iteration of SportsVisio involves the use of two smartphones. The company is developing a new version that will only require a single phone and will have controls on a tripod. Since launching its product two weeks ago, the company has attracted half a dozen customers and has around 30 on the waiting list. They hope to add 25 high schools or colleges this month, charging $350 per season.

“We’re slowly rolling it out to each of them, trying to fix the bugs and get the single-camera solution in place,” he said.

Syversen agreed that SportsVisio shares some similarities with Helios, an Exeter-based company that helps hockey players improve performance through the use of body-worn sensors and a smartphone app.

SportsVisio, whose product uses computer vision technology but does not include hardware, sees a large market for youth and amateur gamers, their coaches and parents.

“At the moment, we are focusing on basketball stats and video clips, which we will develop more on the entertainment side,” he said. “We’re going to add Snapchat-style filters, where you can put a fireball on the ball or on the hoop and add music and put the clips on social media, sort of to meet the needs of the younger generation . Not everyone is going to turn pro. Some people just play for fun.”

The $3.1 million funding round was led by Hyperplane Venture Capital, a Boston-based firm that focuses on early-stage tech companies, especially those that use artificial technology. The round also included Geek Ventures, Sovereign’s Capital and a few other investors.

“With the advancements in cutting-edge devices over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the cost of deploying large-scale computer vision applications,” said John Murphy, founder and managing partner of Hyperplane, in a statement. communicated.

SportsVisio employs approximately 25 people, including seven in Manchester. The rest work from remote locations, including Canada, Florida and South America.

Here’s what “retirement” looks like for Syversen, who has six children and is a longtime basketball player and youth league coach.

The Dunbarton resident remained with Siege Technologies for about a year after the company was acquired by Virginia-based Nehemiah Security. He was able to financially retire at the ripe old age of 42 in 2019.

Syversen didn’t need more money, but he did need a goal.

“You can sit by the pool and just drink mojitos or play golf all day, but I don’t think that’s what humans were created for,” said Syversen, who founded a charitable foundation and seeded it with most of his income from the sale of his business. He plans to invest all the money he earns from SportsVisio into the foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations.

As well as being CEO of SportsVisio, he manages 10X Venture Partners, an angel investment group in Manchester, and sits on the boards of four non-profit groups.

He is also active with Shiloh Community Church on the West Side of the city. Syversen grew up in a Christian home and cites how faith transformed her parents’ lives and influenced her upbringing.

“I think people make Christianity more complicated than it is. It’s really about loving God, loving your neighbor,” he said.

“And what does it mean to love God? It usually means to love your fellow man. You should love God by living a life where you are dedicated to trying to serve the people around you.”

Mike Cote is editor for news and affairs. Contact him at mcote@unionleader.com or (603) 206-7724.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not represent the views and opinions of the sponsor, its members and affiliates.

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