From Olympic hopeful to entrepreneur at 25 - Pioneering People podcast
Episode three of the podcast Pioneering People features entrepreneur Roy Hotrabhvanon.
Roy Hotrabhvanon is the CEO and co-founder of PlayerData, a multi-award winning startup innovating in the sports technology sector.
Roy began his journey in building sports improvement technology after taking up archery in his first year at Edinburgh University. He went from a beginner in the sport to competing in the World Championships, representing Thailand. Looking to improve his technique, he started working on a motion tracking product. Around the time he met co-founder and fellow electronics and computer science student, Hayden Ball, who happened to be developing heart monitoring technology.
“That's how we started working together and building the foundations of what we have today," Roy says.
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Roy had a passion for building things and programming them but he did not know this would lead to a business venture. “Did I know that this would become a product? No. I was single-minded in my goal of going to the Rio 2016 Olympics - that's all I could see.”
However, a life-threatening car accident meant he could no longer compete. Instead of being deterred by his experience, he decided to focus on developing wearable sports technology. Through his personal sports journey from beginner to professional, he decided that every athlete should have access to sports improvement technology.
“The founding technology of PlayerData is motion capture technology where we turn you into a 3D model of yourself so we can look at your technique and analyse it," he says. "What we realised early on was that there was no money in archery but the technology that we developed is fundamentally useful to a lot of sports.”
Playerdata now has two products: a 3D model and a GPS tracker for sports teams. Roy adopted a subscription model to allow clubs - whether grassroot or professional - to access the products. Before this, clubs were required to make a large upfront investment in the technology that proved to be a barrier to entry.
At 25, Roy is incredibly young to have made his vision a reality. As for the future? “I like to see myself doing the same thing I'm doing now, which is building something that will help someone out there.”
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