A Franklin-based tech company has launched a platform that serves as what its chief executive officer calls "moneyball for esports." Harena Data Inc. recently closed on a $500,000 initial seed round of funding for the data platform GYO, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze data among esports players and aims to "bridge the gap between amateurism and professional esports play." Shawn Smith says esports is a multi-billion-dollar industry and many colleges offer esports scholarships, but there isn’t a great recruiting system for players to aspire to become professionals or scholarship recipients.
The GYO Esports Data Analytics Platform analyzes players and tries to predict their future talent so they can get recruited for scholarships or professional opportunities. Smith says the data that is analyzed through the program is akin to baseball statistics. He says all competitive video games have statistics they can track for each individual game.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Smith said the main users of the platform are gamers and players, but parents are another target.
"We are able to provide parents with a way to monitor and follow their child’s progress as they look at gaming as a true hobby. So think of gaming little leagues, for example," said Smith. "There are a lot of kids out there right now that just aren’t going to be putting on football pads anytime soon, but parents still want them to get out of the house, to socialize, to learn good sportsmanship, and you can do that through the structures of competitive esports tournaments and leagues."
Smith says the initial round of funding has gotten the company to launch GYO and will help it to grow its initial user base. He says the goal is to be ubiquitous in the esports ecosystem.
"We would love to be sort of the FICO credit score of esports, a number that you can instantly understand and analyze a player’s skill level so they can ultimately join appropriate leagues and tournaments that match those skill levels," said Smith. "Nobody likes to join in leagues and tournaments and games where they know that they’re going to lose, so pairing people based on their skill level is really important for the fun of the ecosystem."
Harena Data currently employs four in Franklin and Smith says they will be looking for additional funding to add the team. He says the company has also been selected to be part of a sports accelerator in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Smith said the main users of the platform are gamers and players, but parents are another main target.