- NBA star Thaddeus Young among investors in funding round
- Huupe uses digital backboard and AI tech to aid performance
Basketball tech startup Huupe has raised US$11 million to continue the development of its smart hoop technology.
The funding round was led by Protagonist VC, Marvan Ventures, TRI Investments, and Kawn VC, with involvement from Genesis Ventures and Reform Ventures, the fund backed by National Basketball Association (NBA) player Thaddeus Young.
The funding follows on from a seed round held last year and the fresh capital will be used to refine Huupe’s product, which has hardware, software and video streaming elements.
The hoop appears similar to a standard hoop but its backboard houses a video screen protected by enforced glass, which is capable of displaying training videos, drills and interactive games. Meanwhile, computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) technology can analyse performance and collect data for informed feedback.
Huupe is initially targeting both basketball players and connected fitness enthusiasts able to afford the relatively steep asking price of at least US$4,995 and a subscription costing US$30 a month. This model is similar to the one used by other connected fitness platforms such as Peloton.
However, Huupe believes costs will come down as productions scales and that the plan is to eventually sell to community sports facilities, private gyms and schools.
While it remains to be seen whether the technology will ever make it into the NBA, the International Basketball Federation (Fiba) has approved the use of LED glass courts capable of showing live stats, highlights, and adverts to fans on television and in the arena.