Carmaker Porsche invests in Israeli startup to give fans greater race thrill

Griiip’s software allows fans & teams to get real-time data from racing cars, feel drivers’ stress levels and compare performance results

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Griiip has developed cloud-based software that allows fans, drivers and team players to get data in real time from racing cars, to get a feel of driver stress levels, tire data, and battery status, and compare drivers' performance (Courtesy).
Griiip has developed cloud-based software that allows fans, drivers and team players to get data in real time from racing cars, to get a feel of driver stress levels, tire data, and battery status, and compare drivers' performance (Courtesy).

The venture capital arm of the German sports car maker Porsche has acquired a minority stake in Israeli startup Griiip, a developer of cloud-based software that provides race car data in real time to fans, drivers and team players so they can get a feel of what’s going on inside the cars and compare performances.

The startup, founded in 2015 by Tamir Plachinsky and Gil Zakay in Petah Tikva, seeks to make motorsports more accessible by providing new and innovative ways for racing organizations, leagues, franchises and car manufacturers to engage with fans.

While data and technologies are being adopted by the sports industry, the “motorsports ecosystem has barely changed in decades,” the Israeli company said in a statement, announcing the investment. Griiip is stepping into this void.

The startup’s personalized digital media software, called Racing Media Platform or RAMP, targets younger audiences that seek a more immersive and personalized viewing experience via digital mediums, the company said.

The solution makes racing vehicles smart and connected, and uses AI technology and analytics to give fans insights about the races. The software gives viewers direct access to raw data from the vehicle’s electronic units through a hardware “Red Box” developed by the Israeli firm, which extracts the data from the cars during the race and processes it into data-driven real-time information.

This data is used to create content that can be personalized to each viewer’s interests, visualized in charts in real-time, so they better understand the racing story and get a more immersive picture of the competition with a deep data analysis that shows the performance profiles of every driver on the track.

The Le Mans racecourse in France, 2016 (Porsche)

The software offers data on driver stress levels, vehicles’ battery status and tire pressure, and can predict the car’s lap times.

Alongside the race graphics tools, Griiip developed a second screen app for fans to interact with one another during the race, with live statistics, polls and surveys.

Griiip also developed what it calls “Mixed Reality Racing,” which integrates real world race data with data from racing simulators, enabling fans to drive and race their heroes virtually, during live race events.

Racing teams and drivers meanwhile can also get deep data analysis of the performance, helping monitor multiple parameters of the car and the driver, which helps to support improvements in both engineering and training, the company said.

“Griiip offers a future-oriented and innovative motorsport data platform which connects all stakeholders…and creates a new era of motor racing viewing experience”, said Fritz Enzinger, vice president of Motorsport at Porsche.

Porsche Ventures invested in the company after the car maker held a successful proof of concept to verify Griiip’s technology, Porsche said in a statement. The investment is part of Griiip’s recent undisclosed seed financing round, the statement said.

“We are delighted to have Porsche, one of the most iconic sports car brands in the world, joining Griiip as a strategic investor, sharing our vision of a new digital universe for the racing and sport driving ecosystem,” said co-founder Plachinsky, who is also the Israeli startup’s CEO. “Our innovative data platform, RAMP, will connect motorsport racing fans, teams, drivers and eSport gamers together like never before.”

Griiip has already signed cooperation contracts with several racing championships, the statement said.

“This investment supports Porsche’s core business through new approaches to fan engagement and audience capturing,” said Talia Rafaeli of Porsche Ventures. The goal is to enhance the firm’s reach into racing media, “while benefiting from a potential financial return of investing in the development of next generation business models.”

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