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Fast-growing Hudl provides coaches and athletes with key feedback based on its customers’ video uploaded to the cloud. Like many other startups, the company relies on Amazon Web Services for its backend support.
Hudl, a unit of Agile Sports Technologies, offers a coach the chance to huddle with an individual player, review video, and have a conversation over what they see and how a player can improve.
The service is so useful that it’s growing fast as an Amazon cloud-based company.
Hudl takes customer-generated video of practices, scrimmages, and games, and then loads all that data onto the Amazon cloud, where — for a fee — it can be analyzed, based on the rules and best practices of the sport in question. The video can be used to pull out highlights and annotate segments with coaching comments.
Notes can be added as audio, text, or lines and arrows on the video itself via telestrator. Statistics on individual players can be pulled out as well.
Coaches may attach comments and send them to a player’s smartphone or tablet. Coaches can also upload amateur video of opposing teams or film from scouting reports for analysis. Athletes can use Hudl to send samples of their play to prospective colleges.
Founded in 2006 by CTO Brian Kaiser, now 33, and two other recent University of Nebraska graduates, Hudl has quickly grown to 450 employees. But this member of the startup set has never built a data center.
It does all its video upload, analysis, and storage on Amazon Web Services, in a move that Kaiser said was instrumental in allowing the company to grow as quickly as it has. In 2014, it garnered $30 million in revenues, mainly from high schools and colleges using its services. But every NFL team and 29 NBA teams find Hudl’s video analysis a valuable tool as well, Kaiser said.
Football was the three founders’ first love, and it was close cooperation with the coaching staff of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers that gave the trio their start.
“I was computer science major. None of us were coaches. We knew technology and we knew sports — from the outside,” Kaiser recalled in a recent interview with InformationWeek.
“The Cornhusker’s staff gave us hours of their time, what insights to look for in the video, what information was needed by coaches. It was the best insight we could have ever gotten” for how to build a digital system that supplemented what they were doing, recalled Kaiser during a break in the Amazon Summit 2016, July 13 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Kaiser visited the summit from Hudl’s Lincoln, Neb., headquarters in order to be one of its featured speakers. The company received $72.5 million in funding in 2015, more than all the startups in the state received between 2011 and 2014.