Former GAA player funded €300k to leverage hamstring injury aid being used by premier league clubs
A new Irish start-up has just received an investment of €300,000 to help expand the reach of its sports injury device, already being used some of the top sports teams in Ireland and the UK.
The HamstringSolo devices from Kilkenny-based ND Sports Performance are currently being used by European rugby champions Saracens RFC, Leicester Tigers, a number of English premier league clubs, and many All-Ireland champion GAA teams.
"We are also the official hamstring assessment system suppliers to the English Institute of Sport (EIS), the largest sporting organisation in the UK, on an exclusive basis," founder Noel Doherty told Independent.ie.
"We are also in talks with Manchester United who are interested in both products we have brought to market thus far."
It was a hamstring injury that Mr Doherty suffered, and was anxious to recover from, that laid the groundwork for the new exercise aid.
"In 2012, the injury prevented me from winning what could have been my third Intermediate Hurling All-Ireland with Kilkenny," he said.
"I was put on a hamstring conditioning program, but this required a [heavy] second person. At the time, all I was concerned about was getting back on team as I knew it was the last time I'd get a chance to play."
Coming from a background in design and engineering, Noel began to create a prototype for the HamstringSolo range, products that eventually would allow athletes to improve training and hamstring performance by safely performing a range of high-tension exercises.
"I went out and I made a box out of sheet of MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and that box held me when I wanted to do the exercises. I showed it to the Kilkenny physio at the time Robbie Lodge and he said there was nothing else like it on the market."
It took several years for the small firm to protect their patent - and to do the necessary research and development (R&D) required to ensure their product was reliable enough for market.
"In 2014, we approached the Kilkenny senior team to test out the HamstringSolo Pro. At the time, they had been suffering a lot of hamstring injuries. They would have doing these exercises as part of their training program but this product could be used alone. It essentially halves the time, and can be used anywhere, anytime, efficiently and effectively," said Mr Doherty.
Feedback from a number of leading industry players revealed the desire for intelligent performance data based on the use of the HamstringPro. And so the HamstringSolo Elite device was created.
Sensors on this latest device ND Sports Performance collect data that is stored on a cloud-based platform. A multi-functional app provides instantaneous, exportable feedback which allows training performance for each athlete to be managed effectively.
HBAN’s South East Syndicate has injected €300,000 into the firm which is currently poised to become "the go-to hamstring product for these leading clubs".
Mr Doherty said that the investment will help the firm's team expand, and help the product expand overseas to export markets like the UK and the US.
"Not only will the funding allow us to employ more people, but we also get the benefit of our investors’ experience and knowledge," he said.
It is expected that the funding will lead to the creation of up to 10 new jobs - in customer support, sales and marketing - after the official product launch in March this year.