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Enterprise Ireland and IRFU strategic partnership selects three companies to test and develop their products

Enterprise Ireland and the IRFU have entered the next phase of their strategic innovation partnership, as three Irish companies have been selected to test and validate their products with the sporting organisation.

In line with the IRFU’s strategy for the development and growth of game of rugby, the IRFU and Enterprise Ireland have established a strategic partnership which will enable Irish innovators and start-ups in the sport tech sector to get access to the organisation at an early stage of their product or services development.

This partnership, which will run for two years, is designed to support Irish companies by giving them access to a unique evaluation environment to trial, test and validate their products in an elite sports organisation. In turn the IRFU has the ability to access early-stage technology and create an innovative environment to remain competitive in a rapidly changing sporting landscape.

The innovation partnership will focus on addressing a number of key areas, including technology to increase the participation and performance of players, digitalization to enhance fan engagement and emersion, climate and sustainability across clubs throughout the organisation, as well as innovative means of increasing rugby participation while promoting health and safety.

Following an ‘IRFU Technology Call’ in recent months, an open competition was held where 10 finalists were selected to pitch their technology solution to the sporting organisation. Three companies were selected as part of the 2023 programme to work with the IRFU and participate in the programme over the next nine months.

These three companies, which are Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Ups, are;

MoveAhead – A motion tracking and movement analytics engine that can be embedded into memescapes and digital media that is entirely safe, accurate, educational and fun, for children. Embeds physical activity experiences to children through APIs in apps.

RugbySmarts - SaaS platform that uses AI and Computer Vision to give coaches the power of video analytics. It is customisable to each individual coaches needs, which in turn allows them to focus fully on the aspects of the game that they deem most important, and takes automatic game highlights.

Brace – A social injury rehabilitation platform designed to empower and connect athletes during the recovery process. Utilising gamification, recovery tracking and social support. Brace improves recovery engagement and isolation during injury/ transparency for physio/coaching.

Keith Brock, Senior Development Adviser, Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to enter this next phase in our strategic innovation partnership with the IRFU. Enterprise Ireland is committed to nurturing Irish talent and this partnership with the IRFU will foster the growth of these Irish start-ups and their cutting-edge solutions. This collaborative opportunity will offer these companies, which are Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up companies, an unrivalled opportunity to utilise their products and services, and we look forward to supporting them on their journey.”

Scott Walker, Director of Strategy and Technology, IRFU, said: “The IRFU is excited to work with MoveAhead, RugbySmarts and Brace, over the coming months. We are eager to learn from Ireland’s innovative entrepreneurs, and this opportunity to collaborate with these Irish companies in this phase of our strategic partnership with Enterprise Ireland will provide the IRFU and these companies the perfect opportunity to support each other as well as developing the game of rugby.”

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