Ones to Watch: Roy Hotrabhvanon, PlayerData

Ones to Watch: Roy Hotrabhvanon, PlayerData

Roy Hotrabhvanon runs a sports wearable company, PlayerData, and the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) are supporting him as one of their ones to watch.

The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) is the national organisation for the promotion of enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland’s universities and colleges. Since 2000, SIE has helped identify and support some of Scotland's most promising entrepreneurial talent at an early stage in their journey who have gone on to become some of Scotland's brightest young stars. These include Rebecca Pick (Pick Protection), Victoria Hamilton (VH Innovation) and many more!

Nearly 400 students entered SIE's enterprise competition in 2016-17, representing an excellent pool of potential new talent. BQ & SIE have come together to present a series of interviews showcasing some of the best students and graduates who were recognised during the process; entrepreneurs who are starting out and have the potential to make it big - the Ones to Watch!

Describe your idea in no more than 100 words

PlayerData is currently in the process of developing a revolutionary wearable that is designed to give coaching insight to any movement based sport.  What we have designed is a human telemetry system, a garment filled with biometric sensors to capture your vitals in high fidelity. For example, given a user that runs two timed laps. We can show you the physiological difference that resulted in the faster lap!  Now apply that to most sports! We have unlocked technology currently only found in high end research labs and priced it competitively against mid-range wearables.

How would you describe your innovative idea to an elderly relative?

It’s a garment athletes can wear that will tell them how well they are doing their sport. And it will suggest improvements unique and tailored to them based on learning their style.

What led you to come up with this idea, and how does it differ from others?

This motivation to create this product has spurned from conversations with elite coaches from Scottish national sports squads. Their shared frustrations is the lack of offerings available on the market and the prohibitively high cost of some of the simplest GPS solutions.  We then set out to build a more capable product, for a fraction of the cost of existing solutions. 

What inspired you to start developing your idea?

This is really simple. We saw a problem that no one has solved and we set out to solve it.

We are driven by passion for our product and by possibility it could make high level sports analysis accessible for everyone.

Where do you get advice, support or help?

We are very well supported by SIE, LaunchED, Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway and Quest Corporate.  Specifically Tom McGuire, Alison Gee, Marcus Noble and Duncan Thorburn. Without their advice and guidance we have not have made it this far this quickly!

What has been your biggest achievement so far?

Our biggest achievement so far has been patentable technical breakthroughs in our hardware design. And both SIE Fresh Ideas and Scottish Edge Wildcard! We are also finalists (awaiting finals) of Inspire Launch Grow.

What are the biggest challenges you face when trying to develop your idea?

Time. Between being a full-time research student, Athlete and working on this project I don’t get much time for rest! A typical day for me is 8-5PM Study, 5-7 PM Training, 7-1AM Project! Though this hopefully will ease up soon.

In terms of challenges in the traditional sense we approach them with a mindset that the harder they are the more interesting it is. We do this to re-frame our attitude to problems which has helped us come up with novel solutions. So we don’t have bigger challenges per say, just more interesting ones!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We hope to have turned our product into a successful global business by then. With our base of operations in Scotland, giving back to the people and agencies that helped us to get started.

SIE says: Roy has made incredible progress with Playerdata in a relatively short period of time. He and his team had a positive approach to technical problems, seeing them as fun challenges. Critically that has led to them solving them in house, creating a lot of unique value in the business. His passion is to make tech simple to use and make it accessible. Watch this space!

For more on SIE, including detailed case studies and more on its educational programme go to the SIE website: