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Ulster Student Start-up Company Scores With Performance App

29 November 2012

A University of Ulster spin out company, Performa Sports has been recognised at the inauguralFootball Business Awards at the home of Chelsea FC.

Performa Sports, which was established by University of Ulster graduate Danny Turley from Portadown, was nominated in the inaugural awards for the performance analysis application he has developed for sports clubs and coaches for the iPad.

Mr Turley’s application for the iPad is a real-time analysis tool designed to help coaches and players analyse and improve performance.The Football Business Awards are designed to acknowledge success off rather than on the pitch. All sixteen categories were fiercely contested by clubs and businesses working in football – not just from the UK but around the world.

Performa Sports Ltd is the first student spin out company to be supported by Innovation Ulster Ltd's seed investment funds. Innovation Ulster Ltd is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Ulster through which the University engages commercially with the business community and investors.

Tim Brundle, Director of Innovation at the University of Ulster said he hoped Performa Sports would be the first of many student spin out companies to be helped by Innovation Ulster.

“We are extremely proud of the University’s close association with Danny and the team at Performa Sports and wish to congratulate them on their success to date,” he said.Performa Sports punched well above its weight to be nominated for the Most Innovative Use of Technology award and was up against industry heavyweights like ProZone Sports and Teamer.

Although he did not win the award, Mr Turley said getting to rub shoulders with the great and the good from the world of football business at the black tie event at Stamford Bridge was a fantastic networking opportunity for Performa and led to a number of important business leads, including several from top football clubs.

A keen sportsman, Mr Turley has spent the last seven years providing statistical and video analysis for Armagh GAA. He explained how the seeds for Performa Sports were sown when he was studying Interactive Multimedia Design at the University of Ulster.

“I realised there was a gap in the market for a fast and reliable statistical analysis tool,” he revealed.

“I started working on it for an undergraduate project and then continued to develop the app when I was working towards my Master’s degree in Multidisciplinary Design.

“Increasingly statistical and video analysis of performance is a key component of sports development. The Performa app allows coaches to capture real time data and generate reports to help identify players’ strengths and weaknesses. The performance data can be filtered to track individual players and produce a summary of how they’re playing."

The Performa app is free to download for a one game trail and thereafter is available for a monthly fee of £50 or one off licence fee of £800. Itcurrently supportsGAA,rugby,soccer, hockey,tennis and there are plans to support other sports in the future. The company already has Armagh, Mayo, Derry and Crossmaglen Rangers Gaelic teams and Derby County FC on its growing client list and plans to release a web product early in 2013.

Mr Turley says a key feature of the app, which has been sold in the US and Australia, is its ease of use.

“Other performance analysis tools can take too long to produce the results but with Performa Sports, there is instant feedback.“I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the app. I met Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill at a conference in America and he was very impressed.

“Getting the Performa Sports up and running has been a real whirlwind adventure. I’ve been so busy, there hasn’t been much time to let it all sink in but I really love what I’m doing,” he added.

Mr Turley’s schedule shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Performa Sports has just launched a second app, Axis which will be available to download by the end of the year.

Mr Turley explained: “The Axis app analyses coaches behaviour whereas the Performa Sports app analyses team and player performances.“A team of researchers at Loughborough University spent four years developing a standardisation for analysing coaching behavior and we collaborated with them to design and build the Axis app using Performa Sports technology.”