NBA star Porzingis, Jordi Cruyff invest in Israeli start-up Zone7

Zone7 connects to medical and athlete performance data, and uses artificial intelligence-driven pattern recognition software to identify injury risk.

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February 13, 2019 03:14
2 minute read.
JORDI CRUYFF in 2017, then manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

JORDI CRUYFF in 2017, then manager of Maccabi Tel Aviv. (Amir Cohen/Reuters). (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

 
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Israeli-American sports injury prevention start-up Zone7 has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, it announced on Tuesday, in an investment round led by Resolute Ventures with the participation of Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks and former Dutch soccer star Jordi Cruyff.

UpWest, Amicus Capital, Dave Pell and PLG Ventures also participated in the funding round for the Tel Aviv and Palo Alto, California-based company.

Co-founded by IDF elite intelligence unit 8200 alumni Tal Brown and Eyal Eliakim, Zone7 connects to medical and athlete performance data, and uses artificial intelligence-driven pattern recognition software to identify injury risk and simulate how changes in training and working impact performance and injuries.

Simple and actionable recommendations for reducing risk are then sent to personal mobile devices so coaches, trainers and doctors can make real-time decisions on the field of play.

The platform, which has already logged more than five million hours of athlete performance, is currently being used by teams competing in Major League Baseball, La Liga, Champions League, Major League Soccer, collegiate athletics and Olympic teams.

“Getting injured is one of the worst experiences for any athlete,” said Porzingis, who joined Dallas Mavericks last month after recovering from a torn ACL suffered while playing for the New York Knicks.


“The technology behind Zone7 is extremely impressive and has the potential to change the landscape of sports forever.”

Fellow investor Jordi Cruyff, formerly of Barcelona and Manchester United, spent six years in Israel from April 2012 as Maccabi Tel Aviv’s sporting director and, from June 2017, as manager of the club.

According to the company, Zone7 gained traction in the professional sports world after soccer teams using the technology reported a 75% reduction in injury rates. The company is currently running pilot programs with a number of Major League Baseball franchises after showcasing its technology at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

“Injuries in professional sports cost billions annually, but in the era of big data it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Brown, co-founder and CEO of Zone7. “Professional sports franchises have massive amounts of untapped health and performance data that, when unlocked by AI, can become one of a team’s most valuable assets. By better understanding every athlete’s breaking points and implementing personalized intervention plans to prevent injuries before they occur, teams no longer have to accept injuries as an inevitability.”

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