Knowhere Raises $750,000 (100 million Yen) from Yuki Saito Inc., Open Network Lab ESG1 “Earthshot Fund”, GameWith, and Others to Expand the Use of AI Technology in Sports
Knowhere, Inc. (Head office: Minato-ku Tokyo; CEO: Hisashi Ito), a company that expands the use of AI technology in sports, raised approximately 100 million yen in a third-party allotment of new shares in June 2022 from Yuki Saito Inc. established by a former professional baseball player Yuki Saito, Open Network Lab-ESG No. 1 Investment Limited Partnership (Earthshot Fund) by Digital Garage, GameWith operating game media business, East Ventures (existing investor), Skyland Ventures, and others.
With this fund, Knowhere will strengthen its recruitment activities for AI/Data Engineers and other positions to enhance its service development and business operation.
More details about recruitment at: https://career.knowhere.co.jp/
Left：Yuki Saito (a former professional baseball player) Right：Hisashi Ito (Knowhere inc. CEO＆Founder)
Knowhere was founded in September 2020 as a startup company to promote the use of digital applications in sports with the mission of "creating an environment where everyone could become good at sports”. The company is currently working on an AI technology business focused on baseball.
The company aims to improve the traditional baseball training programs that depend on human experience through the use of big data and algorithms, and achieve high training efficiency and performance.
With the premise of collecting more data to improve algorithms, "Gaienmae Baseball Gym" was opened in Tokyo in December 2021 (with approx. 100 members as of May 2022) introducing the all-new tracking system "Rapsodo". The gym also functions as a community where members could exchange information and interact.
The number of people playing baseball in Japan is on the decline, according to a survey by the Japan Junior High School Athletic Federation. Since the 2010s, MLB has utilized data in games and training, and it has become commonly used in Japanese professional baseball as well. Knowhere hopes to increase the number of baseball players in Japan by providing an environment where even amateurs could easily apply data to improve their skills.
Knowhere will accelerate the use of AI in sports to provide an environment where data-driven training becomes the standard.
■Services under development
A smartphone application service that analyzes body movements to precisely track various data such as the number of ball rotations. The service will also include a function that allows AI to automatically provide feedback based on the data acquired at the Gaienmae Baseball Gym and other locations.
(The images and functions may be subject to changes due to the ongoing development of the service.)
■Outline of the Fundraising Size Approx：$750,000(100 million yen) Method：Third-party allotment Shareholders：Yuki Saito Inc., DG Ventures, GameWith, East Ventures, Skyland Ventures, private investors, etc. Purpose ：Improving recruiting activities such as AI/data engineers, service development, and business operation.
Yuki Saito Inc. CEO Yuki Saito
Yuki Saito Inc. https://saitoyuki.jp/ "As a company that holds the vision of “creating the future of baseball,” this partnership will enable mutual growth. We hope this service will become valuable to all baseball players, no matter their age.”
DG Incubation Inc. CIO Masahiko Maekawa
Earthshot Fund (Operator: DG Incubation Inc.) https://dgincubation.com "As digital transformation advances, it is necessary for more efficient and effective training to be developed. Knowhere has an excellent vision to create an environment where anyone can become a better player. We are committed to helping Knowhere achieve its vision.”
GameWith Inc. CEO Takuya Imaizumi
GameWith Inc. https://gamewith.co.jp/ "Our company has the vision of “creating a world more enjoyable than games” and we are expanding to e-sports infrastructure. With the increase in the e-sports population, the need for training is expected to increase. Knowhere's expertise in improving training efficiency through the use of data and algorithms has great potential not only in baseball but also in e-sports. We are hoping for Knowhere's sports AI business to revolutionize the way of training in various areas.”
East Ventures Takanori Oshiba "I am pleased to have invested in Knowhere following the previous round. I feel that the baseball world as a whole is gradually changing from non-scientific to scientific coaching, and that scientific coaching will become even more popular in the future. I hope that Knowhere will lead the way in this era of change. On a personal side, I recently had my speed measured at Knowhere's gym and found that 96 kilometers was the fastest I could throw. I'd like to aim for over 100 kilometers.”
Skyland Ventures CEO/Partner Yoshihiko Kinoshita
Skyland Ventures “I myself am not good at sports, but I know that baseball is something people all over the world are passionate about. The CEO, Hisashi Ito, has been a good friend of mine since college and was my roommate. He was also a core member of a company I invested in when I was at Incubate Fund. When I heard he was going to take on this challenge after working for DeNA and HEROZ, I thought it was going to be very difficult. However, when he opened a baseball gym in a prime location in Gaienmae, I decided to invest. I believe that in the near future, Knowherewill become global as we are already receiving many inquiries from abroad. I would like to support Knowhere's mission of “creating an environment where anyone can become good at sports” to the best of my abilities.
■Company Profile Company name ：Knowhere, Inc. Representative：CEO Hisashi Ito Service：Sports DX business, gym facility management Date of Establishment：September 16, 2020 Capital：30 million yen Location：B1F Kita-Aoyama Yoshikawa Building, 2-12-16 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo Company HP：https://knowhere.co.jp/
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Public Relations, Knowhere, Inc.