Megha Gambhir was always interested in sports and watched different games, especially table tennis. She says: “My partner Deepak Malik was a TT player and was very passionate about the sport. He has played at the national level and won several medals, and has even been a coach.
The husband-wife duo have always felt the need for a tool to facilitate the work of analyzing player performance. “This is where my tech background came in,” says Megha, who previously worked for HCL, Cognizant and Ernst & Young (EY).
Megaha has started18 months ago in Delhi-RCN with her husband, Deepak. The startup enables players of all skill levels to get the best coaching possible, facilitated by AI providing real-time performance feedback.
“We have evolved tremendously from one product to four different products spanning multiple segments globally. We have gone through a full cycle of re-developing our product, and our AI technology has improved dramatically to deliver higher levels of accuracy in different environments and to produce information using multiple data points, ”explains Megha.
The platform has integrated many international players and helped them improve their game. Stupa has also partnered with the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) and ventured into 226 countries. Today, he claims to have 25 percent of Olympic table tennis players on the platform.
Stupa offers AI enabled bullet tracking technology and video analysis from low-end devices such as a mobile camera.
The platform also helps analyze the tactical and technical performance of any athlete and works on trends and patterns from the data. It provides full game analysis and provides information to players.
This analysis is done by recording the game from the Stupa app, which in turn detects and analyzes everything else in the game like player, action, ball speed, serves, hand type, heat maps, etc. the idea is to give a detailed analysis, ”explains Megha.
She adds that the solution provides high level video analytics that can track a very small ball moving at a speed of over 100 km per hour.
“The goal was to make this accessible to all players and therefore providing the lowest common denominator solution was a big hurdle, and we had sleepless nights overcoming the challenges,” says Megha.
Megaha and Deepak
Bringing the technology to mobile apps, especially Android, was another challenge as there is no standardization between Android devices. Megha says that Anand Hariharan, the founder of technology and chief architect of AI, was responsible for solving this challenge with his persistence and dedication.
The team has filed for a patent now in India and the United States for the same.
While the platform is backed by investors with a background in broadcasting, former EY executives and sports people, the early days were tough.
“In India, convincing people that anything other than cricket is an important sport is difficult. Telling people that table tennis is a multi-billion dollar market opportunity has also been difficult, ”says Megha.
She explains, according to several sports magazines, that table tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world, with 226 countries practicing the sport, and more than 200 million players in total and 30 million competitive players.
Citing these newspapers, Megha adds, each year 241 million people bet on table tennis and it is broadcast in 135 countries with nearly 1.06 billion viewers worldwide.
Megha also talks about the prejudices she has faced as an entrepreneur. “People would wonder if I am serious about my job and how can a woman start a sports startup. However, over time you learn to choose your battles, ”she said.
The team is now interested in other sports such as badminton, lawn tennis, squash and other racket sports.
Stupa Sports are also excited to venture into 226 countries and ensure that the platform is used by every table tennis player and every club to interact with their fans and followers.
The product is multilingual to support its entry into all countries and the team plans to raise around $ 3-6 million in the near future.
“Money needs to be spent on expanding the market in 226 countries together with the International Table Tennis Federation and further developing the technology to expand into other sports – badminton, tennis and squash”, explains Megha.
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