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DFL moves for Israeli mobile start-up in latest equity investment

Movez, an Israeli start-up company that is launching a mobile app for football skills, has become the latest company in which the German Football League (DFL) has acquired shares.

In the third step of the ‘DFL for Equity’ programme, the league has secured shares in the Tel Aviv-based company, which is majority-owned by AGT International, the Switzerland-based private company involved in the fields of artificial intelligence and the ‘Internet of things’.

Movez will this year release a smartphone app aimed at children and teenagers using computer vision and AI to evaluate ball skills.

As part of the agreement, the DFL will provide exclusive marketing and content assets to aid the development of the app. These include drills with Bundesliga players and increasing the app’s awareness through the league’s own digital channels. The Movez self-learning algorithms will also be able to access the DFL’s data and media archives and the Israeli company will be able to use the Bundesliga logo and ‘DFL Invested Company’ trademark.

The DFL kicked off its investment push with the purchase of a 10-per-cent stake in Track160, the Israel-based sports analytics technology start up, in October 2018.

Ten months later, the league announced a tie-up with Athletia, the Cologne-based content and rights protection agency. Under the anti-piracy focused agreement, the DFL acquired a 15-per-cent shareholding in Athletia. It is thought that the DFL did not pay a cash sum for its shareholding in Athletia, but instead guaranteed the company an annual contract of around €1m ($1.1m) per year over six years.

Christian Seifert, the DFL chief executive, said today (Thursday): “Movez is a very exciting addition to our ‘DFL for Equity’ strategy and at the same time the first investment whose utility is aimed directly at Bundesliga fans around the globe.

“Especially for the young football fans of Generation Z, its approach playfully combines the digital world and real physical activity. We see a great deal of potential for this investment.”

Yuval Benyamini, chief executive at Movez, added: “DFL is one of football’s greatest foundations and we are proud to have them on board. This partnership will allow us to enrich our user experience and empower millions of youngsters to compete and enjoy ball games in a new way and measure up with their professional idols.”

The Movez app will allow users to perform drills, play ball games and compete against each other using the app and a smartphone camera. The app will evaluate the players’ activities and provide real-time feedback before users can share their results with on social media platforms.