Overland Park company hopes to score with basketball ShotTracker

11/27/2013 10:55 PM

11/27/2013 10:55 PM

Bruce Ianni and Davyeon Ross say they’ve learned that in business, “you can’t improve what you don’t measure.”

And when Ianni was trying to help his son improve his shooting on the basketball court, he realized the same was true. He thought it would be great to have a system that tracked his son’s shots, and makes and misses.

“Bruce had this idea and brought it to me,” said Ross. “We’ve applied that business mentality, that measuring, to practicing your shot.”

ShotTracker combines a featherweight sensor worn on the shooter’s wrist, a weather-resistant sensor attached to a basketball goal’s net, and programming that works on Apple iOS and Android devices to keep track of the results and turn them into shot charts and other helpful data.

Ianni and Ross expect their company, based in Overland Park, to ship its first systems next summer. They are taking orders at

www.shottracker.com

in an effort to raise $25,000 to help get ShotTracker to market faster. The pair of devices and software, expected to retail around $100, are being offered in advance for $70. Bigger packages for families or whole basketball teams also are available.

Ianni was already a successful tech innovator and executive whose ventures included Innovadex, a search engine tailored for chemists in the life sciences and food and beverage industries. And when the idea for ShotTracker hit him, Ianni, who played football in college, knew who would make the right partner for his hoops venture.

Ross also was a tech success, having launched Digital Sports Ventures, which syndicates Division I college sports video for the Web. And Ross, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, had basketball skills that brought him to the U.S. on a scholarship at Benedictine College in Atchison.

Ianni and Ross, who led the NAIA in field goal percentage his senior year, had met through the Pipeline program, which identifies, trains and then adds 10-12 tech stars to its network each year.

“Bruce went through the program in 2008, and I came through the next year,” Ross said. “We really got to talk and become friends at MIT during one Pipeline event.”

Developing ShotTracker took thousands of hours, Ross said, and they built a team of contractors that included computer engineers, mathematician-scientists, a chip manufacturer and a visual designer-product manager. They expect three or four team members to become full-time employees soon, too, so the product will have a smooth launch and continue to improve and add features.

Their goal? A ShotTracker sensor on every basketball goal — and another on every shooter’s wrist. That’s aiming high, but then Ross did make 65.9 percent of his shots from the field his senior year.

And if he’d had ShotTracker?

“Ninety-five percent,” he deadpanned.

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