We caught up with Jacob Gordon, Director of SoccerPDP, one of our first tenants at CodeBase Stirling.
Who are the founders of SoccerPDP?
The founders of SoccerPDP are myself and David Caldwell. David was a professional footballer in the 80s and 90s and played in Scotland and England, with spells in the USA, Canada, Belgium and South Africa before returning to Inverness to finish his career. When he retired from the game Dave moved into sales with various roles within Xerox and other large solutions providers. This is where we met nearly 10 years ago. I was an IT manager at the time, but having worked in various IT and telecoms consultancy roles over the past 15 years, culminating in my own consultancy business five years ago.
We both share a love for football and we looked at the statistics for young players who quit playing because of an early set back and it was shockingly high. We felt we could help turn this around and SoccerPDP was created to provide a platform to do this.
Tell us more about the work SoccerPDP does.
We have a partnership with the University of Stirling through which we have developed a platform for benchmarking footballers, of all abilities, aged 8-18. We assess physiology, psychology, technical skills and nutrition. On our platform you can create a report highlighting strengths and weaknesses within each of these areas and produce a bespoke development plan to address any areas that require additional work.
Can you tell us about your users, who they are and how they benefit from using SoccerPDP?
SoccerPDP users are players of all ages and ability levels. We’re initially focused on 6-16 year olds but this will be expanded as we grow. We take a scientific methodology developed through our partnership with Stirling University to deliver a cost effective approach to player development previously only available to those operating at the elite level of the game. We use big data principles to help map each player to a bespoke individualised development plan that clearly shows their strengths and weaknesses and allows them to maximise the talent they have. We deliver this both to individual players and to whole clubs who adopt our approach. Our product was developed to bring sports technology and football methodologies, currently only available to the 5% operating at the elite level of the game, and make them accessible to the 95% of young footballers, therefore levelling the playing field and allowing all players the opportunity to maximise their own potential.
How will the platform you're building give more kids the opportunity to play football and how will it help clubs?
This approach benefits both individual players and clubs as coaching feedback is scientifically backed rather than simply opinion. Players can see exactly how they rate against their peers from their age groups and playing level and can clearly see where their short and long term performance targets are. By taking an holistic approach to player development both players and clubs are supported in achieving their individual and collective aims.
What are some of the biggest challenges you're facing?
The main issue we face is, like that of many start-ups, funding. Research and Development is expensive and so is building software, however we’re close to product launch now so soon we will be generating income which will allow us to grow far more quickly.
What are your plans for growth?
We plan to launch in Scotland over the next six months or so, moving into the rest of the UK following that and then internationally in 12 months time.