Ray Rutter, Prof Andrew Stockman, Mel O'Connor and Norman Peterson.
Tom Keighley

Sunderland sports trainers pitch to crowd for £200k investment

A Sunderland-based firm that has developed a training system to improve the reaction times of sportsman is using North East crowdfunding operation Growth Funders to find £200k.

Tested as a prototype on professional cricketers including former Durham batsman Will Smith and overseen by former England international Graeme Fowler, Vega V, has proved successful.

Founder and inventor director Mel O’Connor is now looking for funding to build the first market-ready system.

Vega V utilises a motion capture suit, bespoke lighting system, and a modified high speed bowling machine in very specific lighting conditions of a specially-designed opaque tunnel, which, together, increase reaction times, improve the ability to bat at higher speeds and allow the coach to analyse the results of the training.

GrowthFunders was established to give businesses the opportunity to access a wide range of investors and the Vega V investment is for a total of 25% of the company. Investors can alternatively choose to invest in return for rewards including merchandise and artwork.

Research took place through Durham University, working with two highly regarded vision scientists and cricketers of all standards, and the system, once developed, will be based at either the University Centre Of Excellence or at the England and Wales Cricket Board’s National Performance Centre in Loughborough.

Mel O’Connor said: “Now that we have shown conclusively that the system works, we are using GrowthFunders to generate the funding to for a fully-working system for cricket, then it is a case of developing into other sporting markets, including baseball, tennis and soccer.

“Graeme Fowler, one of the country’s top cricketers, was involved in the trials, and he could only conclude that the improvements shown could only be down to Vega V, as no other batting took place.”

GrowthFunders has been launched to match ambitious entrepreneurs with great business ideas to a range of investors to create and grow exciting businesses.

The site allows entrepreneurs leading businesses with high growth potential to garner support and raise capital online from a wide range of investors, including angel networks and early stage venture capitalists (VCs).

Norman Peterson, chief operating officer at Growth Capital Ventures, the firm behind GrowthFunders, said: “Vega V is a really exciting proposition for sports development and I think it has real potential for investors through GrowthFunders.

“The platform has been developed for a wide range of business types that investors can really get enthusiastic about and I am sure that Vega V fits that bill for many people who are not only keen supporters of growth and start-up businesses, but also of sport.”

Launched by North East and Yorkshire-based entrepreneurs, Craig and Norman Peterson, GrowthFunders has a wealth of experience behind it. Both Craig and Norman have supported entrepreneurs raising capital, acting as mentors and providing strategic advice to a range of high growth businesses.

The co-founders have recently completed exams with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments as part of their continuous professional development.

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