Veteran football coach Arsene Wenger is investing in an Israeli sports tech start-up PlayerMaker.
Wenger has joined the company in the role of operating partner, PlayerMaker said in a statement. The company did not disclose the size of Wenger’s investment, but said he will assume an “active role in business and product development.”
The Tel Aviv and London based company is incorporated as Motionize Israel. They developed a data-based football training tool that will analyze metrics for physical, technical and biochemical performance. To collect data, PlayerMaker uses motion sensors installed on players’ shoes to track such indicators as gait and ball contact.
PlayerMaker’s technology is used by football teams including AFC Wimbledon, Atlanta United FC, and Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv F.C. Founded in 2014, the company now employs 45 people.
The CEO of the start-up, Guy Arhon said Wenger was initially not very keen on the investment as he was not convinced about PlayerMaker’s technology. To demonstrate their capabilities, the company recruited the AFC Wimbledon youth team to play a game wearing PlayerMaker’s technology. After a thorough test of the technology Wenger decided to become an investor.
However, the legendary ex-manager of the Arsenal football club now sees the technology as an important tool for the game. “PlayerMaker’s technology is essential for the modern football coach – regardless of level,” media reports have quoted Wenger as saying. “How we coach players has developed significantly since my early days in the sport, but what hasn’t changed is the need for coaches and managers to utilize cutting-edge innovations to get ahead in order to bring the best out of players.”