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Eyal Ben-Ari: Learning from people who have failed can be more valuable than learning from those who have succeeded, you’ll probably get better tips

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Eyal Ben-Ari

Eyal Ben-Ari of Track160.

Tell us about yourself?

I am the Chief Executive Officer at Track160, a startup which is democratising football performance analytics videos. It all started when I met Miky Tamir, the co-founder of sports and media tech companies Pixellot, Tetavi and others. I have always been passionate about sports and have over 20 years of experience in running different high-tech businesses, so for me, it was like a match made in heaven. In fact, just before I was introduced to Miky I took a swimming lesson, following which I got sent a video via WhatsApp circling what I needed to change about my posture . This made me think “how come this is still being done in this way?”, and found out just two weeks later that there was actually a company specialising in smarter automated sports analytics.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

People have this misconception that there comes a time in a startup’s journey when you reach a level of growth and suddenly everything becomes easier, but the reality is that the challenges only become bigger. Running a startup involves a lot of sometimes tedious work of fine-tuning – the rollercoaster never ends.

If you could go back in time to any moment from your journey, and give yourself one tip, what would it be?

The biggest thing I’ve learned from the high-tech world is the importance of really insisting on getting the product-market fit right. While running a startup, you’re always trying to show progress and raise funding, so it can be tempting to forget basic things like this, and get caught in initial conceptions. Remembering to keep questioning matters is what will ultimately lead to your success in the long run.

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What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?

I believe it’s my background in the Israeli Air Force, because it taught me to always look at what can be improved while staying focused on the target, and never settle – no matter how much I’ve already achieved.

What are some of the best working habits you’ve gained over the past couple of years?

I’ve learned that you must always be prepared for success. Having worked on many tech startups I’ve seen it can happen literally overnight and hit you like a tsunami. So you should always ask yourself: “What if it happens tomorrow? Are we ready?”

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

Track160’s football analytics technology was initially developed for tier 1 teams from, for example, the Bundesliga. Today we’re heading towards something much more exciting because we realised that the elite level is only a fraction of the market and that we could bring the same level of analytics technology to a 15-year-old boy or girl who wants to be a professional player someday, and their coaches.

Where do you see your business in five years?

I want Track160 to become the Waze of football analytics – once you start using Waze you don’t drive without it – just like you don’t play football without Track160 – the number one option to empower any player 13-year-old and up.

What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you in getting there?

Reaching mass market adoption to a level where we become the standard is a big challenge. We need to reach a particular tipping point to get to this critical mass and, for this, we will need strong financial backing to help us scale fast. We don’t need to explain why football analytics data is needed – the industry is beyond the point – the challenge really is about how fast we can penetrate the market.

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Talk to us about your biggest success story so far?

We’ve recently secured a patent for our 3D sports performance and analytics software combining motion capture, object tracking and graphics animation technologies, which is fantastic. But I consider the small wins as exciting as the big ones. For example, we did a focus group with young players checking out for the first time their personalised performance analytics in our mobile app and it was amazing to see how they immediately started to hide their data from each other and compare stats like speed. It was one of those “Aha!” moments that showed we are really onto something.

How do clients and customers find you? Are you much of a salesperson for yourself?

Word of mouth has been the main way new teams find out about us. So many coaches have approached Track160 after playing against a team that was using it.

What one tip would you give to fellow startup founders?

Learning from people who have failed can be more valuable than learning from those who have succeeded, you’ll probably get better tips.

And finally, what do you hope the future brings both you personally, and your business?

I want Track160 to become the standard on every football pitch for every player out there. We are starting to see the fruits of our new strategy to reach the mass market so our next objective is to scale the business.

Follow Track160 on Twitter or Linkedin.

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