Loupe has created the streaming platform the surging sports card market desperately needs, secures $3m in funding
Loupe Tech Inc., a new sports card breaking app, launched their service in October and have since closed $3 million in funding with a first round led by Upfront Ventures. Notable card collector Nat Turner has also contributed capital to help accelerate Loupe's innovative business model.
Sports and trading cards are a multi-billion dollar market, with eBay selling 45 million cards in 2020, and rookie cards of star athletes like LeBron James and Mike Trout selling for more than $1 million each at auction. An emergent trend within the hobby is a craze called “box breaking.” In box breaks, audiences watch live as a seller opens a buyer’s cards on video. Box breaking has specifically been credited as one of the primary reasons the sports card hobby has undergone a renaissance and has spiked in popularity.
Loupe provides the first unified platform for breakers to live stream and sell sealed packs and single cards to collectors. The service thrives because it’s able to maintain a deep pool of buyers and a solid stable of sellers, all in one place. Loupe also removes the friction of other sports card box breaks by providing all tools —from start to end of the transaction —for a seamless experience with nearly no latency. On any given night, you will find card collectors joining together in one place to chat about sports cards and adding to their fast-growing collections. Loupe Tech’s approach to eagerly supporting box breaking has been validated by strong 100% month-over-month revenues.
“Demand for sports cards has skyrocketed over the past 12 months and it’s clear the hobby wasn’t prepared for the surge in buyers,” says Loupe founder and CEO Eric Doty. “Our mission is simple: We want to bring modern technology to the card collecting hobby. The initial reception to Loupe has been so tremendous that we’re confident this segment has been itching for its own dedicated streaming platform. We’re fortunate to have partnered with fantastic investors, like Upfront Ventures, who share that vision with us at an early stage in our company’s history.”
"The surging consumer interest in sports collectibles, live interactive video content, and new commerce platforms make Loupe a special opportunity," said Greg Bettinelli, Partner at Upfront Ventures. "Eric and his business are combining the three elements of breakout marketplace success -- current segment fragmentation, passionate fandom, and product scarcity -- and we are thrilled to support him on this journey."
Loupe Tech, Inc. recently relocated to the Miami area from Los Angeles with most of its team coming from backgrounds of video games and live video tools. The company intends to aggressively hire in the coming months to support the service’s faster-than-projected growth. It also plans to quickly expand on the service by developing a host of user-requested features, signing high-profile sellers, and inking strategic partnerships in the pro sports space.
WaitTime Pilots Cutting Edge Crowd Management Technology, Enabled by Cisco and Intel, at Atlantic City Convention Center
As convention centers across the country and around the world develop strategic plans to resume operations, the Atlantic City Convention Center (ACCC) today announced it is piloting a new, AI-accelerated crowd intelligence technology developed by WaitTime and made possible by Cisco and Intel. Spectra, venue manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center, is conducting a trial to determine how the tool may aid in the facility’s responsible reopening for conventions, meetings and community events by monitoring crowd capacity and movement.
WaitTime is a patented technology that has been used by entertainment venues around the world to enhance attendee experiences through sophisticated crowd intelligence and management innovations. The technology will provide ACCC with real-time information in each of the # convention center halls, so management is able to ensure capacity and social distancing requirements necessary for the health, safety, and personal privacy of their guests. This information is essential for venues, like ACCC, to confidently welcome visitors back into their spaces. Intel has provided support for the company to optimize its technology and extend Cisco's infrastructure capabilities.
WaitTime will be made possible by an integration with Cisco technology including Cisco Meraki MV cameras, Cisco UCS Servers, and key elements from the Cisco sports and entertainment portfolio.
"WaitTime is uniquely positioned to help ACCC, as we've studied the behavior of crowds totaling more than 50 million people. While our goal was always to reduce the frustrating need for people to wait in line, our mission becomes that much more important when that wait time and crowd density could impact the health and safety of visitors," said Zachary Klima, CEO of WaitTime. "We provide real-time behavior intelligence that shows the ACCC the capacity of their halls, how individuals are moving within them and whether or not people are congregating in ways that may put social distancing at risk."
The Atlantic City Convention Center, located at 1 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, New Jersey, was designed to incorporate and highlight its beautiful seaside location. It is made up of 500,000 contiguous square feet of event space, five exhibit halls and 45 meeting halls. WaitTime’s go-to systems integrator, KLA Laboratories, will be installing its technology in 10 different locations that will allow ACCC to assess and foster visitors’ efficient progression through the exhibit halls. The solution installation at ACCC was executed from initial presentation to full deployment in just three weeks.
"Technology can play a key role in helping our communities safely re-open,” said Rose Schooler, Corporate Vice President, Global Data Center Sales, Intel. “By optimizing WaitTime’s crowd management solution, fueled by Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel SSDs, combined with Cisco’s Meraki and analytics solutions, the Atlantic City Convention Center will now be able to better manage crowd dynamics in real time.”
Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center Select 8x8 Cloud Communications to Transform Employee and Fan Experience
8x8, Inc. , a leading integrated cloud communications platform provider, today announced that the Anaheim Ducks National Hockey League (NHL) team and Honda Center, one of the premier entertainment and sports venues in the country, have selected 8x8 as their official cloud communications provider. The Ducks are deploying the 8x8 integrated cloud communications and contact center solution to help improve employee, partner, and customer experience.
The Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center wanted to accelerate digital transformation efforts throughout the organization and recognized its need to move away from its legacy, on-premises communications and contact center systems. Working closely with technology provider Insight Enterprises, the Ducks assessed several cloud providers before selecting 8x8’s integrated cloud voice, team chat, meetings and contact center solution to allow its more than 500 employees, including contact center agents, to enhance fan engagement, while improving efficiency, collaboration and productivity as they work from anywhere.
“Our efforts off the ice, including modernizing the digital workplace, are driven by our goal of delivering the ultimate fan experience. Partnering with 8x8, a leading provider of unified communications and contact center solutions, and moving communications and engagement to the cloud will be a critical component for the success of this strategy,” said Jackie Slope, Vice President, Information Technology at The Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center. “8x8’s integrated cloud communications and contact center solution with industry-leading service reliability, availability and voice quality, deep reporting and analytics, SMS capabilities, and tight integration with Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow us to enhance customer service and strengthen fan relationships before, during and after each game or event.”
The Ducks will also use 8x8 cloud communications services for post-game press conferences.
“Organizations of all sizes, including professional sports teams like the Anaheim Ducks, have recognized that moving to an integrated cloud communications and contact center solution is a digital transformation accelerator, driving significant business value, optimizing performance and growth,” said Steve Seger, Chief Revenue Officer at 8x8, Inc. “We’re thrilled to provide the Anaheim Ducks and Honda Center with a single platform for communications and customer engagement as we help them transform the employee and fan experience, and support their future growth initiatives.”
The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) New Orleans Pelicans and Panzura have announced a new multiyear deal which will transform the way the Pelicans organization uses live game-day footage, training videos, and other data where secure, instantaneous access from anywhere at any time is critical. The alliance runs through the 2025 season and sees Panzura become a proud partner of the Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans are not holding back from getting a technological advantage over their rivals by partnering with one of best names in the business. They will handle a vast array of data sources and extensive video footage using Panzura’s global file system, which facilitates access to crucial information kept in the cloud as fast as if it was stored locally and with military-grade security.
“From the opening tip-off to the final whistle, vast amounts of game-day data are collected, processed and transferred inside an extremely short window of time. There’s no room for loss or delays,” said Jill Stelfox, CEO at Panzura.
Having recently inked a similar deal with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, as well as pioneering Next Gen Stats for the NFL while in a previous role, Stelfox is no stranger to professional sports. “Panzura makes it possible for the Pelicans to securely transport petabytes of data to the cloud at lightning speed, and instantly move even the largest video files where they need to be,” she commented.
The fastest file system in the world means coaches, as well as commentators and media, can track data such as analysis and statistics, as well as review video and measure performance in real time. It also ensures the team’s data is securely available while they are on the road, without the need to make additional copies. With Panzura, these data files can be transferred with the click of a mouse or touch of a button on a tablet computer or laptop screen.
“Working with Panzura, our goal is to better use our video footage and proprietary data—from the sidelines of an NBA arena or from anywhere in the world—to improve the game and innovate for the benefit of both players and fans,” said David Griffin, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the New Orleans Pelicans. “Panzura is the perfect partner not only because they offer the best and fastest system, but also because they have a lot of experience working with sports teams like ours.”
The size and volume of the necessary data files makes it enormously difficult for sports teams like the Pelicans to collaborate, store and access them at speed in order to meet the needs of the whole organization. Panzura allows professional sports teams to gain secure access to data whenever required—whether at home or on the road. The Pelicans organization plans to collaborate with Panzura on other ways the technology can enhance their business and game operations.
San Antonio Spurs Deploy Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots; First NBA Team to Use LightStrike Robots to Disinfect Arena
The 2020-21 NBA season is underway and the San Antonio Spurs have added powerful new teammates with extraordinary germ-zapping capabilities. As part of its comprehensive strategy to minimize risk for fans, arena employees, team personnel and players from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), the Spurs purchased LightStrike™ Germ-Zapping Robots™ to disinfect rooms and areas within the AT&T Center.
Manufactured by San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services, the world leader in ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection for hospitals, LightStrike robots use pulsed xenon to create intense bursts of broad spectrum UV light that quickly destroys viruses and bacteria on surfaces. The intense UV light produced by a LightStrike robot does four types of cellular damage to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, rendering it unable to mutate or reproduce.
LightStrike robots work quickly (2-minute cycles) and require no warm-up or cool-down time, which enables the Spurs to disinfect dozens of rooms per day (per robot). The robots are already in heavy rotation throughout the AT&T Center – disinfecting meeting rooms, locker rooms, rehabilitation areas, suites, restrooms, offices, concession areas, elevators, and much more.
“Our goal is to have the AT&T Center be the cleanest, safest arena in the NBA and the LightStrike robot is an invaluable tool in helping us achieve this distinction,” said Casey Heverling, Vice President and General Manager of the AT&T Center. “We spent a lot of time reviewing hundreds of different technologies, and, when we came across the LightStrike robot and the UV technology it deploys, we knew we had to have that here because of its effectiveness in killing the coronavirus and creating the safest, cleanest environment possible.”
University researchers and healthcare facilities (including the Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson Cancer Center) have published more than 40 peer-reviewed studies validating the efficacy of the LightStrike robot technology, which is proven to deactivate Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute reported that the LightStrike robot achieved a 99.99% level of disinfection on surfaces against SARS-CoV-2 in two minutes. As a result of the pandemic and the world’s focus on combatting coronavirus and other pathogens, non-healthcare entities such as schools, hotels, airports, police stations and correctional facilities, office buildings–and now the San Antonio Spurs–are utilizing LightStrike robots to quickly disinfect surfaces in their facilities. The NFL Carolina Panthers were the first professional sports team to deploy LightStrike robots as part of their re-opening strategy.
Irene Hahn, senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Xenex, said, “Being chosen to be part of the San Antonio Spurs’ disinfection strategy is a significant honor for Xenex for many reasons, but especially because it’s our hometown team and we love our Spurs. It’s exciting to know that our robots are in use at the AT&T Center, helping provide players, personnel and fans with the cleanest possible arena.”
DDSports Inc. (ShotTracker), a revolutionary sports technology that captures rich performance data via sensors and provides statistics and analytics with sub-second latency, today announced an $11M USD funding round led by Evertz Technologies Limited (“Evertz”) and Verizon Ventures. ShotTracker will use the funds to accelerate its deployment across NCAA Division I Power 6 Basketball Conferences, expand hiring, further key partnerships and enhance sensor capabilities and data capture for players, coaches, fans and broadcasters.
ShotTracker brings elite-level real time analytics to the court. The company’s patented technology tracks data in three parts: a ShotTracker-enabled ball, sensors on players’ jerseys, and court sensors that map the court in 3D. Data is processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm displayed on the ShotTracker app and dashboard and will also be integrated with Evertz cloud based live production solutions. The real time data can be used to automate camera productions from remote locations and can be licensed by media and sports data companies.
With more than 63 Division I men’s and women’s basketball programs and a growing relationship with Learfield IMG College and their partner schools, ShotTracker’s cutting-edge technology is well-positioned to deliver deep data and analytics as well as video, scoreboard and broadcast integration. For its media company and broadcast customers, it currently delivers experiential activations and crossover content opportunities distributed via digital and social platforms.
The Evertz partnership brings to ShotTracker a global leader in providing video and audio Infrastructure cloud-based solutions to content creators and broadcasters. ShotTracker and Evertz are planning to deliver automated camera operations to reduce staffing necessary to control the camera production of live events. Additionally, editors, story tellers and producers can be remote, allowing venue operators to leverage or share resources for in venue productions from anywhere via the cloud. This will dramatically reduce sports production costs at the same time delivering added Covid safety.
“Combining ShotTracker sensor data and our DreamCatcherTM suite of products will enrich live productions — on-premise and cloud-based — for broadcasters, leagues, teams, and fans." said Vince Silvestri, Evertz VP of Software Systems. “We are excited to be working with the ShotTracker team to bring enhanced and personalized game experiences to fans everywhere.”
“As real-time data tracking and analytics become critical components for coaches and players, instantaneous and interactive delivery powered by 5G is critical,” said Michelle McCarthy, Verizon Ventures Managing Director. “ShotTracker’s real-time sports data will transform fan experiences, athletic performance, sports broadcast and more. We’re proud to invest in a team of industry veterans as they pave the way for data capture in game play to improve all areas of the sport.”
“The entire ShotTracker team is excited to have the opportunity of working with two such farsighted technology leaders as Evertz and Verizon Ventures, each of whom brings special capabilities to enable us to fulfill our vision of what truly real time statistics and analytics can mean,” said Bill Moses, ShotTracker CEO. ShotTracker Founder and COO, Davyeon Ross, added: “The impact of tying the cameras to the ShotTracker sensors, in cost savings and in the quality of unique content which then can be delivered, will be dramatic and literally game changing for the sports world.”
Jingletek introduces STRIKE, the world's first smart baseball that is capable of providing coaches and athletes quantifiable data to analyze such as spin rate, rotational axis, velocity, trajectory, pop-time and location.
This next-generation product has made Jingletek being selected by Taiwan Tech Arena (TTA) as one of the 100 featured Taiwanese startups to showcase at CES 2021.
Accomplished with the most advanced sensors
"With multiple precision sensors built in, it only takes for STRIKE to provide athletes quantifiable data to analyze for complete grasp of training conditions," said Jingletek Founder and CEO Ching Lun Lin.
STRIKE first made a debut in the market via successful funding from different crowdfunding platforms including Kickstarter (US) and Makuake (Japan), and Jingletek have fulfilled all the orders to these platforms.
"We are now moving to mass production, and we wish STRIKE 2.0 can support every coach with data which are hard to measure before, or help each player to record his own real-time condition," Lin said.
He said baseball is moving to the sports science area, where training in a scientific way is becoming more important. If you think Strike can be adding value to your training course, I would love to discuss it with you in further detail.
The next step of Moneyball, the movie.
Ball speed is one of the most important indicators for a pitcher. Many pitchers have been pursuing their highest speeds throughout their lives. In fact, not only the pitcher himself/herself, the scouts of the professional league also attach great importance to the speed of a pitcher.
In addition to the pitch speed, MLB has also begun to pay attention to the SPIN RATE in recent years. For example, the ball's spin rate will affect the degree of the air resistance (Magnus force) applied to the ball and the movement of the ball when it is flying into the strike zone. In this way, a good pitcher not only should be able to throw a high-speed fastball. How to control the phases of spin rate of each pitch is also a very important weapon to a pitcher.
Pitch types and pitch movements are the most sophisticated technique in baseball. Our STRIKE, the world's first smart baseball, captures all the tiny measurements naked to human eyes with multiple precision sensors, and helps pitchers attain optimal training results.
In the past, STRIKE 1.0 has collected information on more than 10,000 pitchers with more than 280,000 pitches collected. In order to serve the entire baseball team and other positions, STRIKE 2.0 provides new features, including Pop-time for catchers, STRIKE report system and slow-motion video provided for coaches, scouts ,and physical therapists. STRIKE 2.0 will not only serve pitchers but expand to the entire defensive team. Jingletek believes that baseball data will be more comprehensive and be used more efficiently in the future.
Follow the analytics of balls
Jingletek suggests that the balls can be used in different training scenarios. For pitchers, they can aim to look at speed, spin rate, rotation axis, trajectory, pitching time, exchange time, and posture film with a marker. For catchers and infielders, they could check out the spin rate, pop-time, exchange time and also the posture film with a marker.
The STRIKE baseball meets the Official Baseball Rules' requirements in the US, and features wireless charging, dedicated apps on both iOS and Android, and can measure up to 4000 rpm of spins.
The NFL Playoffs kicked off this weekend and FOX Sports brought along some popular regular-season technology to capture the action.
FOX was using its so-called “Megalodon” mirrorless camera system during four postseason games it’s broadcasting, including on Saturday when the Seattle Seahawks faced the Los Angeles Rams at Lumen Field in Seattle.
If you missed the news on this camera tech, it originally caught the attention of Seahawks fans and others back in December when it was used to bring a cinematic quality to footage of end zone celebrations. The Seahawks were in the first game where the footage appeared, on Dec. 20 against the Washington Football Team.
Armored Things, the crowd intelligence software company, and the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), today announced a new technology collaboration to help ensure the safe return of fans and staff to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The team will deploy Armored Things’ crowd intelligence solution at the FieldHouse to manage fan density at key entry and gathering points and enable smarter decisions related to staffing, security, and sanitation. The software will also be deployed in the team’s business offices at the venue to help maintain safe spacing in common areas.
Just before the New Year, the Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse received approval from the State of Ohio to host up to 10% of the venue’s seating capacity, or nearly 2,000 fans per game. This is an increase from the State-restricted 300 fan limit to begin the season. The larger capacity for fans will commence beginning January 11th when the team opens a three-game homestand.
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is home to both the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL), as well as more than 200 diverse ticketed events and 1,400 private events that draw over two million patrons to downtown Cleveland each year. The venue is well recognized for its progressive initiatives and certifications to assure the health and safety of visitors and for its use of technology to optimize the fan experience.
With Armored Things’ AI-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, the venue’s facilities and security teams will be able to leverage the venue’s existing Wi-Fi and security systems to gain an accurate, real-time understanding of how many people are gathering and moving around specific locations in the FieldHouse. The information will be available in the venue’s command center and via mobile devices to alert staff to potential congestion and make better decisions related to fan and staff health safety and experience. FieldHouse staff will also have access to valuable data trends to assist in planning.
Armored Things announced a similar partnership with major league soccer club LAFC as part of its reopen strategy at the Bank of California Stadium in Southern California.
“As we continue to welcome additional fans back to live events at the FieldHouse, Armored Things can help us provide a safer experience for fans as well as our staff, no matter the number,” said Michael Conley, Chief Information Officer for the Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. “COVID is a pressing issue right now, but this is also an important investment in our long-term security and operations infrastructure. The ability to understand the flow of people in the venue equips us to stay one step ahead of their needs, deploy resources more intelligently, and optimize the event environment .”
“The Cavaliers organization is leveraging all the tools at their disposal to bring people back to live events safely,” said Julie Johnson Roberts, Armored Things co-founder and CEO. “Working in concert with the security systems already in place at the FieldHouse, we are able to help their team understand patterns and trends, and alert them to sudden changes so they can respond accordingly. The end result is safer, more informed operations and a better fan experience.”
Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT, networking, and cybersecurity solutions, and WaitTime, the leader in crowd intelligence, are announcing a global partnership designed to support the reopening of large-scale entertainment, event and sports venues following the global pandemic.
WaitTime is a patented technology that has been used by entertainment venues around the world for crowd intelligence and crowd management. The solution seamlessly integrates with Cisco's technologies to provide venues with real-time information about crowd capacity, movement and social distancing, necessary for venues to reopen. While many venues were previously leveraging WaitTime and Cisco to create better fan experiences, the pandemic has forced major sports organizations, large public venues and many other industries to rethink their crowd management strategies in light of new rules and regulations surrounding social distancing, as well as in the interest of the health and safety of their guests.
In partnership with Cisco, WaitTime has already deployed at Sydney Cricket Ground, T-Mobile Arena and Levi’s Stadium.
"COVID19 has augmented the value of WaitTime because accurate crowd intelligence is more mandatory than ever," said Zachary Klima, the CEO of WaitTime. "WaitTime has spent the entirety of the pandemic adding new algorithms, expanding integrations and most importantly, defining and structuring partnerships with world-leading companies such as Cisco."
As the world reopens, WaitTime and Cisco are well suited to make a global impact together in many industries as a result of ongoing deployments and collaborative innovations.
“Teaming up with WaitTime to help our sports and entertainment venue customers re-open their doors safely, is just one of the many exciting things we can accomplish together," said Bryan Bedford, Head of Sports Partner GTM, Cisco. "Through continued innovation in our technologies, we look forward to providing safer, more engaging and immersive fan experiences with WaitTime."
The WaitTime solutions brief is currently live on Cisco's website.