Shot Scope raises £1.6 million in latest funding round

Shot Scope Technologies, maker of a performance-tracking watch for golfers, has raised £1.6 million in its latest funding round.

The investment brings to £4.5 million the total raised by the company since its launch in December 2014.

The Edinburgh-based company, led by founder and CEO David Hunter, attracted investments from high-net-worth individuals, Scottish Investment Bank, Equity Gap and Old College Capital, the investment fund of the University of Edinburgh.

“This investment enables us to scale up manufacturing, scale up marketing and scale up sales,” said Hunter. The company has pre-sales of its Shot Scope V2 in 30 countries, and expects to ship at least 20,000 units over the next year.

The funding round is the company’s third, following a £1.6m fundraising in 2016 and a £400,000 round in 2015. The company has also received £1m in government grants.

Shot Scope is the only wearable golf device that both automatically tracks a player’s performance and provides live “yardage” distances on the golf course. It enables players of all standards to closely monitor, analyse and ultimately improve their game, and it is approved by global rule-setting bodies the R&A and the United States Golf Association.

In GPS and GPS+Track modes – there is also a Pro mode – the watch’s screen displays distances to the front, middle and back of the green from the golfer’s current position.

The watch works with small tags placed in the grips of a player’s golf clubs, and performance tracking and live distance data is enabled through Shot Scope’s own mapping service and Smart GPS. Free, propriety smartphone apps or web interface enable detailed statistical analysis of every shot after the round.

Hunter, an electronics design engineer by background and a self-declared “golf addict”, came up with the idea for Shot Scope while studying to become a teacher at Moray House School of Education, part of the University of Edinburgh.

Halfway through his one-year course he entered and won a competition run by LAUNCH.ed, the entrepreneurship support service for the University’s students and recent graduates.

“For the next six months, I got really involved in everything offered by LAUNCH.ed,” said Hunter. “They ran training courses, I was meeting with them every couple of weeks, I was put in touch with the Scottish Institute for Enterprise and the Converge Challenge. I was doing everything I could.”

Support from LAUNCH.ed,  part of Edinburgh Innovations, the University’s innovations management service, led Hunter to enter a sports technology competition run by Innovate UK, in the summer of 2013, and he won the £25,000 first prize. “That changed everything,” said Hunter.

There followed rapid prototyping, a Royal Society Fellowship linked to the University, and a succession of business support grants and investments. Shot Scope today employs 18 people at its Edinburgh headquarters and works exclusively with Scottish suppliers and manufacturers, with the exception of an electronics supplier in Newcastle.

Among the Shot Scope board are Chairman Ken Lewandowski, an experienced technology and manufacturing chief executive; Dr Bill Buckie, a respected figure in the Scottish start-up scene; successful technology entrepreneur Ian Ritchie; and Rob Jones, co-founder of Fan Duel, the billion-dollar fantasy sports game launched in Edinburgh, who joined Shot Scope’s board in September.

Hunter is in no doubt that Shot Scope has a bright future. “The US is by far our biggest opportunity,” he said. “There are 30 million golfers in the US, and nearly 5 million in our target market. The product meets the needs of the golf market, the tech is revolutionary, the apps provide golfers with an amazing way to experience their golf game and we’re constantly improving the technology. This is an exciting time.”

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