The University of Pennsylvania has signed an exclusive 3-year deal with Sparta Science, an injury management technology company that uses historic data to create models that can predict the risk of injury (both in volume and severity) for athletes. Sparta’s product, marketed as a way for athletic departments to minimize injuries while maximizing performance; has given teams a method of instituting an analytical approach to the athlete’s body (aka money ball for injuries). The software, compatible with triaxial force plates that measure biomechanical movement, offers custom training and rehabilitation programs based on the results of a 60-second test. Since Penn began working with Sparta Science two years ago, the athletic department has seen a 30% decline in the number of injuries and $400,000 annual reduction in related insurance premiums; which offsets the cost of the product.
Howie Long-Short: Sparta Science company could have pursued contracts with the seven other Ivy League institutions, but instead chose to look long-term; focusing on its product over short-term profits. The exclusive nature of the partnership provides Sparta Science with access to Penn’s medical school and to the Wharton School data analytics program; both are participating in research studies with the company. Sparta Science is privately held and has raised just a $2.7 million seed round to date, so there aren’t a ton of ways to play the company; but Qualcomm Ventures, the investment arm of Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM) participated in the round.
Fan Marino: With pro athletes earning millions each season, injuries are costly. It’s estimated that ACL injuries alone cost NFL teams an estimated $63 million per year. During the 2016 MLB season, teams spent an average of $26 million in salaries on injured players; so it’s not surprising to see professional franchises joining the Sparta Science client roster. The company has contracts in place with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies and San Jose Earthquakes.
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