Home Payday loans app This Houston-born sports tech is a game-changer when it comes to fan-accessible data

This Houston-born sports tech is a game-changer when it comes to fan-accessible data


Using technology to solve big problems has always been Kelly Pracht’s career, but she never thought she could use her skills for the sports world she’s been a lifelong fan of.

After spending nearly 20 years at HP Inc. in various leadership and technology roles, Pract was watching a baseball game when something clicked for her. Baseball — and its endless data points and metrics — didn’t serve as analytics fans cared about. Teams and leagues had their own metric priorities, but fans just want to engage with the game, their team, and the players.

“I saw a gap in the way we process data coming from the field and how that can impact the ventilator — and no one was doing it right,” said Pracht, co-founder and CEO of nVenue, at InnovationMap. “I’ve seen technologists come up with the most absurd solutions. For fans like me, coming from my sports-mad family in West Texas where my dad coached, I knew those solutions were a huge miss.”

She exemplifies wearable technology for the viewer at home who can feel what the players on the pitch who are hit are feeling. Pracht says it looks like companies were trying to bring technology into the sport, rather than thinking about what the fans really wanted.

She had the idea for a data-driven fan tool in 2017 and nVenue was born. She started building the code, and the team started testing it at Astros matches at Minute Maid.

“What great years to grow this platform. It was fun – it wasn’t boring baseball games,” Pracht said. The Astros have won their division four of the last five years, including winning the World Series in 2017.

Kelly Pracht is CEO and co-founder of nVenue. Photo courtesy of nVenue

In the beginning, nVenue used historical data, and that in itself was impressive. But then Pracht and his team decided to broadcast it live. After building its proprietary analytics platform, nVenue could use the data to make real-time predictions.

“We spent over a year – all of 2019 – mastering the timing and putting it into a platform,” says Pracht, explaining how they built the artificial intelligence and designed an app with which fans can interface. “We wanted to be able to predict and play. We had over 180 people in the 2019 World Series and playoffs.”

The app and algorithm were good – and nVenue expanded into football. Then the pandemic hit and the sport came to a complete halt. Pracht says they pivoted to a B2B model but saw no real opportunity for the platform — until the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech 2021 accelerator.

“In a sort of last-ditch effort, we applied to the NBC Comcast accelerator around August or September 2020,” says Pracht, explaining that she didn’t see a sustainable business, so it was either get into the program or shut down. shop . “And we walked in. They just resonated with everything we said – we found our people.”

The accelerator gave nVenue the boost it needed, and with the return of sports, the company regained its momentum. Now the company is headquartered in Dallas with 14 employees across and three — including Pracht — in Houston. The company has raised its $3.5 million seed round co-led by KB Partners and Corazon Capital and expects to raise a Series A next year.

After a few shows last season, an opportunity presented itself thanks to Apple TV and Houston-based TV Graphics. The companies collaborated on a deal and, two weeks before the start of the 2022 season, nVenue was given the green light to have on-screen analytics on Apple TV shows.

“In less than two weeks we structured the deal, convinced them it was working, put together all the testing we could – by then we only had a week of pre-season games. to test – and we succeeded,” said Pracht.

The technology has tons of potential when it comes to sports betting, which is a growing business across the country. Pracht says nVenue isn’t looking to compete with vendors in the scene, but rather to work with them as an analytics tool.

“We’ve broken down the market into microbets or instant bets that will take place every year by 2025 – that’s 156 billion microbets per year, which turns out to be 3 billion per week,” Pracht said.

She adds that new technologies in the world of streaming – like zero delay and latency streaming – will only make the world of sports betting more lucrative, and nVenue will be there to ride that wave.