(from left to right) zone14 founders Tobias Gahleitner, Lukas Grömer and Simon Schmiderer © zone14

zone14: Viennese startup offers AI-supported video analysis to football clubs.

Video analysis and statistics are already commonplace at major football clubs. They help to accurately record the performance of players and optimize it in a targeted manner. However, this requires technical and logistical expertise that many smaller clubs cannot afford. Making these useful tools available to all teams, including amateur football, is the goal of Viennese startup zone14. The young company is developing an artificial intelligence-supported, easy-to-use football video analysis tool called "Replay," including its own camera system.

Democratization of video analysis

"It's changing. The older generation, who identify more as 'gut instinct coaches,' don't want to deal with modern analysis. But even they have young and innovative assistants on the team," Schmiderer says. "The younger generation of coaches, on the other hand, is very different. They want to work with data. You notice that even down to the lower leagues. After all, they see their role models sitting on the bench in the Champions League with a laptop."

Together with Lukas Grömer and Tobias Gahleitner, the Technikum Wien graduate had the idea for zone14 - part of the Entrepreneurship Initiative of the FH Technikum - back in 2019. Two years later, they founded a startup that has developed a video system with Al algorithms for football clubs. Their goal is bringing the democratization of match and video analysis in football.

The idea came to the three founders at the end of 2019. The startup is part of the Entrepreneurship Initiative of the FH Technikum. In the course of the First Incubator of the Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws), the three have developed a simple, easy-to-mount 4k plug & play camera system. Customers can then upload the videos recorded with it directly to a cloud via the "zone14 Box." There, the AI processes the videos and makes it possible to analyze games and training sessions online.

FK Austria Vienna is partner of zone14

Together with six partner clubs, zone14 finally developed the finished product Replay, which officially launched on the market on Monday. "It was extremely important for us to develop the analysis tool together with the coaches and clubs that will use our product.",  says Tobias Gahleitner. The startup has cooperated with district league team SV Freistädter Bier, Union Neumarkt from the 2nd division in Upper Austria, and USC Markersdorf and TSU Hafnerbach from the 1st and 2nd divisions in Lower Austria. In addition to teams from the lower leagues, the young company was also able to get Wiener Sportclub and FK Austria Vienna as partners. The clubs provide the data that the analysis tool uses for training.

According to zone14, Replay eliminates the hassle of uploading and downloading and hours of editing individual game scenes. Users can organize marked scenes into playlists and then share them with the team or fans. In the future, the AI will automatically recognize and mark events such as goals, free kicks and corner kicks. The algorithm will also collect not only goals, but also all players, including positional data. From personal running statistics to the average position to the space control of each team, a variety of statistics can be calculated.

2022 Expansion throughout the DACH region

The clubs pay a monthly fee for the use of the software, but receive the hardware free of charge. The data is said to be enormously valuable for football clubs to optimize both tactics and their training. Teams are not the only ones to benefit from the precise analysis. Media platforms, fans and individual players are also showing increasing demand for such tools. 

Zone14 is currently still in its infancy, but there are already initial partners and sponsors in the form of football clubs, the FH Technikum and the AWS. At the moment, the service is only available in Austria, but this should not be the case for long. "For us, Austria is something like the incubator market where we test our product. Already next year we want to expand to Germany and Switzerland. In the future, we can also imagine conquering global markets such as Southeast Asia and even the USA," says Simon Schmiderer.


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