November 13th – JASON SYVERSEN FINALLY works for a company he can tell you about.
The engineer has spent most of his career in cybersecurity, most notably at Siege Technologies, a research and development company he founded in Manchester in 2009 and acquired in 2016.
His resume includes eight years at BAE Systems and two years in DC where he worked for the Department of Defense.
What did he do at work? He wasn’t allowed to say it.
Now he can talk about basketball.
Although SportsVisio’s technology may be proprietary, its purpose is not top secret. The Manchester startup uses artificial intelligence to automate statistics, analysis and video highlights for basketball players, collecting data from real-time recordings for users to view on a smartphone. The company recently closed a $3.1 million seed round.
“At Siege we did a lot of secret work that I couldn’t talk about, or it was super technically complicated and people didn’t understand when I was allowed to talk about it,” Syversen said during an interview last week. “But it’s really fun. You can show people what you’re doing. Even my children understand that.”
The current iteration of SportsVisio involves the use of two smartphones. The company is developing a new version that will only require a phone and will have controls on a tripod. Since launching its product two weeks ago, the company has added half a dozen customers and has about 30 on a waitlist. They hope to add 25 high schools or middle schools this month and charge $350 per season.
“We’re slowly rolling it out for everyone, trying to fix the bugs and get the one-camera solution off the ground,” he said.
Syversen agreed that SportsVisio shares some similarities with Helios, an Exeter-based company that helps hockey players improve their performance through the use of body-worn sensors and a smartphone app.
SportsVisio, whose product uses computer vision technology but contains no hardware, sees a broad market for youth and amateur players, their coaches and their parents.
“Right now on basketball, we’re focusing on stats and video highlights, which we’ll continue to expand on the entertainment side,” he said. “We will add some Snapchat style filters where you can put a fireball on the ball or on the hoop and add music and post the clips on social media to cater to the younger generation. Not everyone will go pro. Some people just play to have fun.”
The $3.1 million funding round was led by Hyperplane Venture Capital, a Boston-based firm focused on early-stage technology companies, particularly those employing artificial technologies. The round also included Geek Ventures, Sovereign’s Capital and a few other investors.
“With the advances in edge devices over the past several years, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the cost of deploying computer vision applications at scale,” said John Murphy, Hyperplane’s founder and managing partner, in a statement.
SportsVisio employs around 25 people, seven of them in Manchester. The rest operate from remote locations including Canada, Florida and South America.
This is what “retirement” looks like for Syversen, who has six children and is a longtime competitive basketball player and youth league coach.
The Dunbarton resident stayed with Siege Technologies for about a year after the company was acquired by Virginia-based Nehemiah Security. In 2019, he was able to retire financially at the ripe old age of 42.
Syversen didn’t need more money, but he needed a purpose.
“You can sit by the pool and just sip mojitos or play golf all day, but I don’t think people were made for that,” said Syversen, who started a charitable foundation and uses most of his earnings from the sale of his Business. He plans to invest the money he makes from SportsVisio into the foundation, which supports charitable organizations.
In addition to serving as CEO of SportsVisio, he runs 10X Venture Partners, an angel investment group in Manchester, and sits on the boards of four not-for-profit groups.
He is also active at Shiloh Community Church on the west side of town. Syversen grew up in a Christian home and shares how faith transformed his parents’ lives and influenced his upbringing.
“I think people make Christianity more complicated than it is. Really, to love God is to love your neighbor,” he said.
“And what does it mean to love God? This usually means loving your neighbor. You should love God by living a life devoted to trying to serve those around you.”
Mike Cote is senior editor for news and business. Contact him at [email protected] or (603) 206-7724.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not represent the views and opinions of Sponsor, its members and affiliates.