TMR Q&A: Kitman CEO Stephen Smith on driving Performance Intelligence

The sports data performance space — aggregating and analyzing on- and off-field data to improve athletic performance — continues to explode.

One of the most respected global companies in the data performance space is Kitman Labs, which has brought together and elevated elevated electronic medical records (EMR) and athlete management systems (AMS) to create a new category called “Performance Intelligence.”

Kitman Labs powers “iP: The Intelligence Platform,” an advanced operating system used by many of the elite sports world’s largest and most innovative leagues, teams and regulatory bodies — from the NFL to MLS Next to the English Premier League and the NWSL as well as dozens of NCAA schools, elite soccer and rugby clubs across the globe and much more.

Kitman Labs solutions — broken down as Performance Medicine, Performance Optimization, Coaching & Development and League Operations along with Custom Analytics — have been designed to optimize human performance; enhance overall health, wellness and longevity; reduce injury risk; and drive operational efficiencies and value.

Based in Northern California with U.K. offices in Manchester and Dublin, Kitman Labs is fueling the tech fire that is burning ever brighter in team and athlete performance. In fact, 2023 was their largest year of growth ever. The company increased deals closed by 300 percent year-over-year while seeing a net retention rate of 106 percent.

Right now, the company works with more than 2,000 teams, leagues and regulatory bodies, incorporating over 200,000 athletes worldwide.

But how does it work? How does brand value play out? And what lies ahead? We asked CEO Stephen Smith to break it down in our latest TMR Q&A.

Below is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

Team Marketing Report: If I am a team or a league, why is the work Kitman Labs does so essential to business success?

Stephen Smith: In short, because the prize (and cost) associated with success couldn’t be greater.

Teams and Leagues are making extraordinary investments in sports tech and point solutions in pursuit of a competitive advantage any edge that will help them clinch victory.

The result of that investment is mass data fragmentation, information silos, and sunk cost.

At Kitman Labs, our mission is to aggregate, mobilize and leverage the tens of thousands of data points and data streams coming into these elite sports organizations into a single, integrated platform and convert that data into actionable intelligence to support evidence-based decision-making, unlocking performance outcomes across those teams and leagues and providing that sought-after advantage.

TMR: At times, we are overwhelmed with data. How does a company like Kitman Labs make the use of data tied to performance more user friendly?

SS: Data is a commodity.

A sample screenshot of Kitman Labs’ Monitoring Dashboard

The power of that data is derived from the analytics, insights and intelligence that can be produced by integrating critical data sets across key disciplines like Medical, Performance, Training, Coaching and Development, to achieve desired performance outcomes.

The data science, advanced analytics capabilities and skill set necessary to fully exploit the value of that data isn’t typically housed within these organizations.

Our Intelligence Platform makes that possible: one platform that drives cross departmental collaboration, transparency and the visualization and reporting capabilities practitioners need to leverage and employ across their leagues, teams and squads.

TMR: You are now deeply involved with both global football and American football. How is the work with elite Premier League clubs differ from, say, the Jacksonville Jaguars?

SS: While the sports may be different, the objectives are the same.

Whether it’s the Premier League or the NFL, these leagues and teams are looking to centralize all player data in a singular platform that can provide a real-time 360 view of each player.

Each stakeholder may have a specific goal from designing the most effective return-to-play/rehab plan for a defensive lineman to systemizing talent development pathways for academy footballers looking to ascend to the first teams but they share the need for objective, data-led insights to inform team and/or league decision-making and strategy.

TMR: We see so many brand partnerships with teams and leagues tied to healthcare facilities today. Does the business solution Kitman Labs provides tie into that narrative?

SS: It’s critical.

Our platform powers the medical ecosystem for these elite sports organizations.

As part of that, we have introduced two features to our Performance Medicine Solution Healthcare Systems Integration (HSI), Medication Management and ePrescribe.

A customer testimonial from the USL’s Oakland Roots

Teams and Leagues are making extraordinary investments in sports tech and point solutions in pursuit of a competitive advantage any edge that will help them clinch victory.

HSI supports the secure, bi-directional flow of information between teams and designated healthcare providers automating, streamlining and centralizing the distribution of confidential medical records, diagnostics, scans, etc. for the athlete and appropriate medical staff on the team. Gone are the days of faxing, emailing and overnighting disks and folios.

Medication Management and ePrescribe allows the Team’s medical staff to manage inventory centrally, dispense medication internally and prescribe medication from virtually any pharmacy across the nation, driving efficiency, allowing for secure monitoring and distribution of prescriptions among players.

TMR: Down the road, is there a commercial partnership role that is consumer facing that fits into the business? What could that look like even beyond sport?

SS: We were born in Sport and our mission is to unlock human performance.

Our platform and technology is uniquely relevant for any high performance environment from Defense to the Corporate Boardroom. Our focus is on continuing to drive adoption across the Sports vertical but I’d anticipate our foray into new verticals shortly.

From a commercial perspective, there are many potential applications for organizations looking to drive health, wellness and longevity among their staffers, or institutions looking to create and deploy a talent development strategy or companies focused on performance optimization among high performance teams and squads.

Performance Intelligence will certainly not be unique to sport, for long.


To view past TMR Q&As, click here.