Last season’s NFL, NBA, and NCAA football champions (along with the winners of 10 other NCAA titles and eight World Cup countries) all had one thing in common: They monitored their athletes’ health using Catapult. The company makes a variety of devices that turn physicality into data—measuring things such as an athlete’s power and movement efficiency—which can be crunched to uncover vitally important information like whether an athlete is developing an injury, or whether certain workouts are overly stressful. That helps teams keep their players safe and game-ready—and last year, word spread rapidly. Sales grew by 64%, and Catapult now works with nearly half of the NFL teams, a third of NBA teams, and 30 major college programs.
"Teams want to find value in data and they want to use science to manage their athletes," says CEO Shaun Holthouse. And Catapult was betting on it early—refining its work on athletes even during the 2000 Olympics, while most of the world’s major sports leagues were just starting to discuss whether data was useful at all. Now that the sports world is data-obsessed, Catapult is ready to play its hand: It strategically decided not to partner with a tech-focused apparel company like Nike or Under Armour, which gives it the ability to work directly with every team, club, and university.