Sports analytics and tech group expanding to Manchester after £42m funding round

Sports analytics and tech company, Kitman Labs, is to establish a Manchester presence, following a £41.7m fund raising in a Series C funding round.

The Dublin-based business was formed nine years ago and works with more than 700 colleges and professional teams around the world providing data analytics to sports teams aimed at cutting costs, increasing revenues and improving operations.

Kitman’s artificial intelligence platform analyses data that teams collect on players when they practice, train, play in games, sleep and in other situations.

Teams then use the data to predict injury risk in players, form practice and games plans and evaluate talent and also what makes players perform at their peak level.

The business currently employs 125 staff, but plans to recruit a further 100 in the next 10 months.

As part of its expansion plans following the latest funding it will place around 40 staff in Manchester, in Allied London’s Department Bonded Warehouse in the city centre, part of its Exchange City estate, where it has taken a three-year lease.

Department, is a managed workspace concept, combining work, social and wellness facilities under one roof. The brand operates seven sites, including four in Manchester, as well as Leeds and London.

The workplace offering, which is an evolution of the All Work & Social managed workspace operation originally founded as the award-winning Hello Social, by Allied London, gives businesses of one to 200 people space to work, scale and grow.

Manchester is home to four operations – Department XYZ, Department Bonded Warehouse, Department ABC and Department Piccadilly.

Anthony Powell, managing director of Department, said: “As we are based within Enterprise City, Manchester’s tech district, it’s the perfect fit for Kitman Labs which can connect with like-minded pioneers in its sector.

“We look forward to supporting their next chapter of growth and enabling their employees to experience the premium wellness and social facilities we have here at Department.”

In an interview with US media outlet Forbes, Kitman Labs founder Stephen Smith, said: “If you look across any successful, modern business, industry or vertical today, we can see how data, technology and analytics have completely changed the way we behave and the way we operate within those industries.

“Sports was probably one of the later industries to start to move to that because of how traditionally they’ve been managed. But I think we’re well and truly here right now.”

Initially, Kitman’s clients were mainly rugby and football teams in Europe. But since Smith moved from Ireland to California in 2015, the company has made inroads in the US sports scene. Kitman also has clients in Asia, Australia and South America. Smith said: “We’re touching every part of the globe at this point in time, which is amazing to see.”

The business is now looking to expand to other industries, including the military and government, where the health and performance of people is paramount to success. It signed its first government deal this year and expects to complete more next year

Smith said: “Our focus is on anywhere that touches human performance.”

Guggenheim Investments led the latest funding round, bringing Kitman’s total outside funding to £65.7m.

Manchester workspace advice specialist, Level, founded by property entrepreneur Joe Averill, represented Kitman Labs on the search for city centre premises.

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