The Brisbane startup pushing the boundaries of sports technology

15 April 2019

Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program winner Vald Performance was founded by the Queensland University of Technology in 2014 and provides innovative systems into human movement, performance and injury risk.

The products have been tried and tested by over 500 of the world’s most elite sporting teams, clinicians, universities, hospitals and defence departments.

What is your favourite thing about Brisbane City?

It’s a great place to live – so when it comes time to spend what limited time I have outside the business, there’s plenty to do, always a game on, great restaurants and bars, and pretty much perfect weather!

What inspired you to start your business?

The opportunity to make a real change to an industry is hugely rewarding. With our human measurement products, in particular, the NordBord, we have forever changed elite sport and how performance and injury risk is assessed.

Can you describe your business or startup?

VALD Performance’s mission is to improve human measurement. We do so by humanising technologies, making them accessible to the world’s best practitioners and helping them objectify their decisions. With more objective decision-making, we aim to help make the world’s best become better.

How long has your business been operating?

We spent much of 2015 prototyping, developing and preparing our first product for launch in January 2016.

What type of product are you creating?

Over the past 4 years, we have designed and developed products that provide performance professionals with unparalleled objective insight into human measurement, athletic performance and injury risk.

Which field is your startup involved in?

With our focus on building easy-to-use products that deliver laboratory-grade measurement in the field, our products sit within the SportsTech industry.

While we have traditionally worked closely with elite sport, our products are increasingly being used by sub-elite sporting teams, performance training gyms, and physiotherapy clinics to provide an objective measurement of patient outcomes for both performance and injury rehabilitation.

What does a typical day in your business look like?

There really are no two days the same – with a global client base, and increasingly more interest in the allied health markets, we are staying focused on building products backed by research that provide an objective human measurement for health professionals. We’re more of a ‘go get it done’ organisation, so we mostly keep our head down!

What has been the biggest challenge your business has faced to date? And how did you solve this?

One of the hardest challenges has been getting physically in front of clients – 80% of our clients are located outside Australia. The support we have received from all levels of government has opened the doors, allowing the research, development and refinement we have poured into our products to do the rest.

How do you plan to scale your business locally, nationally and internationally?

While we do have small offices in the UK and USA, setting up a dedicated video conferencing room will allow us to quickly get in front of more clients in far more locations and still give a full presentation and demonstration of our products, which is essential when working with elite performance teams.

How do you plan to “give back” to the Brisbane community?

We still work closely with the partners and startup ecosystem like QUT blue box and local government who helped facilitate our growth from the very start. We want to encourage and help show the way for the next generation of local startups and find and foster the future talent that will create change.

In particular, we know there is growing interest in health tech which is an area our team is experienced in. We look to leverage this experience to mentor other startups who are in the early stages of commercialisation – to navigate the challenges of getting to market and then growing, through our experienced product development, engineering, and sales teams.

What impact will your product have on the Brisbane community?

We’ve shown other Brisbane startups you can become a global leader in a competitive market – without leaving Brisbane. With our new global HQ in Newstead, we are able to tap into the local network of talent through the strong startup ecosystem and tertiary education systems, allowing us to continue to develop new technologies and products. On top of this, the cost to setup facilities in inner-city Brisbane is a fraction of other global cities like LA or London, allowing us to keep our core talent local while still assembling our products in-house.

Do you have any advice for a business that is starting out?

Map out the goals, and the plan of how you’ll get there. It can change over time, but you always need to be focused on the end game. Once you have that end goal, it’s work, work, and more work – so before you talk about it or promote it, just get it done!

If you want to make a difference, it won’t be easy – otherwise, everyone would do it!

How do you plan to use the funds from the Lord Mayor’s Global Entrepreneur Program?

Setting up our base in Brisbane is a big part of our current plans – so we will use the funds to set up a proper video conferencing room in our office at Newstead. Ideally, we can use it to provide the personal touch our clients expect, without the downtime of long-haul travel.

What are the future goals for your startup/business?

Our customer-focused goal is to continue to lead the way in human measurement, across not just elite sport, but also health care and aged care. Our culture-focused goal is to keep the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude of our current team – what we internally call the ‘VALD standard’.

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