Shot Scope: A golfing start-up in full swing

An Edinburgh start-up is off to a tee, making smart moves in one of the world’s most traditional sporting industries. Entrepreneur David Hunter, founder of Shot Scope, tells BQ of his story so far.

David Hunter, founder of Shot Scope and an enterprise fellow of at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, launched the company after a number of years developing products for medical, military and industrial markets.

With its products due to hit the market next year, the Edinburgh Technology Transfer Centre based firm already employs four members of staff and has received major backing from a number of investors.

The Shot Scope product is a smart wearable piece of technology which allows golfers to automatically collect performance data without interrupting their game.

The software automatically collects over 50 performance indicators, allowing the user to identify their most crucial areas for improvement.

David told BQ: “I had a number of ideas however didn’t know where to start with funding and business. I received support from Launch Ed at Edinburgh University which provided the initial knowledge and skills to take the jump and start a business.

“As a keen golfer I regularly watched fellow golfers constantly make the same mistakes on the course. Many started to collect their performance data however quickly gave up due to the effort required. I always thought there must be a better, simpler and easier way.”

Before launching the company, David sought funding to launch the venture and caught the eye of a number of investors from across Scotland.

He said: “I applied and secured funding from a number of sources; Launch Ed, SIE, Converge Challenge, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise. The funding on offer in Scotland for an early stage start-up is excellent and all of the funding comes with training and support. As the business progresses this initial support has been key to the success of the business.

“The initial funding received through business competitions allowed Shot Scope to develop the first working prototype, prove the market need and build a network in the golf market. Therefore establishing solid business foundations and progress prior to applying for more funding.

“Applications for funding requires significant effort, however the funding can make a tremendous impact on your business both financially and through feedback. I would advise anyone starting a business to consider entering business competitions.”

Throughout the business journey with Shot Scope so far, David has continued to seek support from all avenues to help keep the venture on track.

He added: “At each key stage of the business different support networks played important roles; Launch Ed, SIE and Converge helped get the idea and business started, Innovate UK and the Royal Society of Edinburgh provided funding and connections during the start-up process and as the company progresses Scottish Enterprise continue to provide fantastic support.

“The support and advice from all has been invaluable, providing us with the skills, knowledge and expertise to seek investment and rapidly grow the business.”

Ahead of its official launch in 2016, the determined team of four are set to showcase its technology at UK golf courses throughout this year.

Speaking on his journey so far, David said: “The biggest challenge is stepping into various roles as the business changes. 

“This has included unfamiliar roles where I have had to learn new knowledge and skills quickly.  Shot Scope now has a fantastic team around the business that work together to develop the product and take it to market.”

The firm is already eyeing success abroad, with potential investment opportunities from across the Atlantic in the USA.

David said: “Shot Scope has ambitious plans, both in the UK and internationally. We plan to launch Shot Scope in the UK and USA at exactly the same time. 

“The USA is an exciting prospect that provides the team with a number of challenges.  It is the biggest target and market opportunity for us.”

After showcasing the technology to Innovate UK and securing both advice and funding, the product is being backed to really make an impact in the sports technology market.

As David believes, “the Shot Scope product differs from our competitors because it is a seamless performance tracking device.

“The team has worked hard to provide users with a fantastic experience whilst not interfering with their actual game of golf. Our platform provides golfers with accurate insights into their game that have never been provided.”

BQ look forward to following David’s start-up journey with Shot Scope and will be the first to report when the product is off to a tee and in stores.