Startup Circle: How tech-play in the sports industry is revolutionizing

Gagan Daga Co-Founder and CEO of str8bat has shared his views on how How tech-play in the sports industry is revolutionizing.

Manisha Sharma
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Gagan Daga 1

str8bat, founded by Gagan Daga and Rahul Nagar - aids athletes in pursuit of perfection. str8bat's IoT and Data Science based technology gives budding and professional cricketers access to real-time, actionable insights by recording, analyzing, and enhancing every aspect of the game and connecting them to the world's best coaches.


The sports industry today is in need of precise monitoring, smart analytics, and interactive experiences. As per a report by Markets and Markets, the global sports tech market is expected to double between 2021 and 2026 and reach the size of $40.2B in 2026. Cricket analysis always required expensive gadgets, camera-based tech tools, and a complicated setup process many times. str8bat, a new-age plug & play sensor gives actionable insights to players and coaches and helps them build their muscle memory & skills by transforming any bat into a batting whisperer.

Speaking to CIOL, Gagan Daga Co-Founder and CEO of str8bat has shared his views on how How tech-play in the sports industry is revolutionizing, he also talked about his startup journey and much more.

Read here to know more!



I grew up in Kolkata and aspired to play cricket, like millions of other youngsters. However, life had other plans. A graduate in engineering, I started my career as an engineer with Infosys in Bangalore. I then moved to SAP where I held various roles such as leader of strategy and operations in Asia Pacific and Japan. My passion, however, was sports and cricket in specific. In March 2017, I founded str8bat, a consumer tech company in sports with cricket as the first use along with my co-founder Rahul Nagar.

What inspired you to pursue this arena, and start a sports tech company?


The story goes that str8bat was the result of a midlife crisis. For close to 15 years, I worked for SAP and performed a variety of tasks. I started out as a tech nerd, worked as the Chief-of-staff to the CEO and drove the growth agenda of SAP Labs in India, and then worked in management consulting, corporate strategy, and many other fields. But then I started asking those typical mid-life crisis questions – What’s my purpose, what’s the impact I want to create to answer these questions, I needed a more intellectually stimulating setting where I could go and confront them. I, therefore, applied to INSEAD Business School in Singapore and Fontainebleau, France, for an executive leadership program. Str8bat was conceptualized in my mind in the Blue Ocean strategy class. We wanted to create a new product category that doesn’t exist but need for the same has always been there.

The sports industry is huge. People fall in love with sports. That’s because it gives them an opportunity to play, and we all play because we believe we have the potential to play better. However, improving one's performance has been a challenge ever since sports began. You can't get better if you can't measure it. In addition, there are only lagging indicators in sports, such as the number of runs scored, access served, and goals scored. However, there is no set measure that can help you perform consistently. Sports has taken far more time than other industries to adopt technology, it became difficult to measure how players could perform better. As a result, we decided to find a way to make a difference in the game. "Can we make the equipment smart and such that it can communicate with players in a language he/she can understand?" we asked. Then came the light-bulb moment and the cricket bat sensor was introduced as a brand-new category.

3. Tell us about str8bat and the products it develops?


At str8bat, our vision is to help players play better. We aim to create products for players from all walks of life and help bring equity to sports without any barriers related to age, region, gender, or anything else.

Currently, the str8bat cricket bat sensor is our first product. str8bat's IoT and Data Science based innovation give budding and professional cricketers information on what they are already doing great and where they need to improve via real-time insights and analytics. The feather-light str8bat sensor empowers the bat to communicate with the players. This made players of all levels, professionals, and amateurs, excited about our product.

We have solved 26 problems, 16 of them involving motion and engineering physics, calculus, signal processing, high-impact management, etc. There is a strong application of pure science and human imagination that has gone into building this solution which can be used by anyone, at any place and anytime.


What, as per you, are the five important things that str8bat should be looking at today?

The five things that str8bat should be and is looking at are-

Firstly, we are looking at expanding globally. While we have penetrated widely within India and have started working our way into Australia, I think all players-amateur, elite, or otherwise want to play better. Therefore, I believe in creating more visibility for the brand going ahead and they need to know such a product is available to help them play better.


We also need to ensure that our application and experiences are engaging. Therefore, we are constantly updating our content by giving users recommendations, and dashboards and soon enough you will see benchmarks against the world’s best.

Third is how to help players connect with each other across the globe to improve their games and their mindset towards the game. The more you get better at sports, the better you get at life. Engagement, therefore, is an important aspect.

The fourth is we are working towards moving to other parts of cricket such as bowling and other sports. We are in that development phase to work on and release more products that are for other facets of this game and for the sports industry with our advantage of capturing motion without cameras.


Lastly, we believe this will be a great tool for broadcasting. We already have a solution that can integrate broadcasting and can give you real-time feedback on how the best are playing their games and how fans can better their game by learning.

What kind of data does the str8bat cricket sensor collect?

At str8bat, we have created a device that provides data-driven insights to players to improve their game. The sensor captures data on every shot, providing a 360-degree 3-D view of the player's bat swing, and recording real-time batting data such as bat speed, impact speed, bat lift angle, sweet spot index, and more. By analyzing this data, players, and coaches can identify areas for improvement, develop strategies to enhance their performance, and track their progress over time. Str8bat empowers players with valuable, data-driven insights that can help them refine their technique, work out what's best for them as individuals and make better decisions on the field.

Did you have to face any failures and if so, how did you overcome them?

Our IP is all the failures we had as we developed this product, built Go-To-Market models, etc. We have 63 different iterations and that what it takes to build a new world-class product. What we did very well is that we never made a mistake which was more than 2 weeks long. Our working model is where time (2 weeks) is fixed, the quality requirement is fixed and the scope of each individual is defined by them. Then we validate what we have built by real customers and their feedback is sacrosanct even if it means we have start from scratch. Every feedback we got from a failed attempt ensured we got better.

How does the str8bat cricket app help improve batting skills?

What you cannot measure, you cannot improve. Particularly in this day and age, when youngsters want everything measured. Sadly, there was no measurement for the game. We have made sure that before we launch the product to consumers, it was being used by the very best in the business. Cricket Australia, Rajasthan Royals, many teams, leagues, and academies have been our customers for three years and more. We learned a lot about how to make the product easy to use, and metric levers which players can use to improve their game... They began showing us how they can leverage str8tbat to improve their game. Since using str8bat, we have come across numerous case studies of players whose game performance has improved objectively. Four-degree change in back-lift angle improved bat speed by 21%, and impact speed by 27%. There are numerous such examples of players at the highest level starting to improve their game using str8bat.

Metrics like Bat Speed, Speed of the bat at the point of impact, Sweet Sport Index, Back-lift angle, Impact point and complete 3D view of the bat path, and impact point for every shot one play ensure that players know exactly how he/she is playing and how he/she can improve his/her game.

Str8bat gives you the data and insights to boost your performance, and you can compare yourself to the best. We give you key recommendations on how you can move from point A to point B. In addition, we make it more interesting. They can participate in leaderboards to see where they stand in relation to the rest of the world. We give them benchmarks and we give them suggestions. Additionally, we facilitate their access to some of the best coaching content. Therefore, it simply is not a matter of data. It discusses a variety of data-related topics. However, data enables you to tailor each player's results and recommendations.

Tell us about the anticipated scope of sports tech in the future.

How significant do you think technology is to our daily lives? Can you currently function without technology? The response is no. The next question is, how do you survive in sports without technology? Sports has really some catch-up to do. I would like to explain this concept in the form of our mascot. Let's imagine an alien named Neo. He comes down to Earth and watches this 1950s game of cricket, during which Sir Don Bradman plays some of the most stunning innings. He thought that this game is Beautiful, tenacious, and requires high skills. He says, "You know, I'll return on my intergalactic voyages and return to this World and perceive how these games advance". He returns in 2019 and he sees the game. He is dissatisfied. Though the game has changed from the outside, yet he's actually frustrated.

He is disappointed because he observes that the game has not significantly altered. because everyone is watching the game from the same perspective. They have not altered their point of view. A three-dimensional world becomes a two-dimensional one when cameras are used to see the inside.

This is where sports tech can bring in a major change. Using str8bat then again gives you a fully rounded visual of what you can do better and how. You can thus enhance your game using the data points, different lenses, and perspectives that you did not previously have. The results of various T20 leagues and tournaments are mind-boggling. Things have changed suddenly due to the availability of measures that str8bat tech provides. So innovation plays a gigantic part in taking the game forward yet in addition recognizing the right ability.

What are your growth plans for 2023-2024?

Our mission is to help players play better and our internal mission is to get better. We have been getting feedback about how players have been enjoying this game, but also how players are saying that we can slightly improve things in some cases so that it can become easier for them.

As a result, there are updates happening on the app to improve, almost every two weeks. We believe that we are constantly going to get better features, so we keep updating our app. You can very soon benchmark yourself against the absolute best. Dashboards, which put analytics at your fingertips wherever you go, will help you understand the game and give you a little something to brag about.

You can tell your friends or colleagues over a cup of coffee about your progress: "This is my performance; what about yours?" You'll have the option to see recommendations.  The best is here, and you are here. What are your next steps? Therefore, these are some of the features we are looking to grow on this year.

Along with the above, we have recently announced our partnership with Cricket Australia and we are also working with the Cricket Ka Ticket show by Rajasthan Royals where the mentors and coaches are using str8bat to identify talent. You will also hear more exciting news of partnerships during the year as we move in our vision to help 3.5 million cricketers worldwide play better