Startups in our network - Coachwhisperer

We would like to introduce young "born globals" in our region: One of them is Coachwhisperer. Coachwhisperer is an innovative startup focused on enhancing the communication between coaches and athletes in real-time during training sessions. Their groundbreaking technology, the Soundstar Live Communication System, enables coaches to provide direct and discreet feedback to athletes, thereby facilitating immediate adjustments and improvements. This not only accelerates individual development but also optimizes training efficiency by saving valuable time. Additionally, Coachwhisperer's system allows for innovative training methods, such as remote coaching with a comprehensive view, further enhancing the coaching experience. Here is what they had to say:​ (By kristin.hesche)


Interview with Coachwhisperer

When and How the Decision to start Your Own Company Matured Within You?

As a passionate athlete and coach, our co-founder and CEO Philipp Zacher recognized the challenges his fellow coaches faced early on: poor communication conditions on the field, insufficient time to address individual athletes' needs, and especially frequent player absences due to injuries caused by physical strain. In 2015, he first conceived the idea for a communication solution that would allow coaches to individually coach their players and monitor their performance at all times - with the support of the Sports Science Institute at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, this idea evolved into a practical concept. A successful EXIST application followed with co-founder and CTO Julien Then, leading to a one-year founder scholarship in November 2020. Since then, we have been able to convince additional partners of our product and win several competitions, including Thuringia's largest technology competition, getstarted2gether, the Karl-Kolle Prize for the best tech startup in Central Germany, and the Thuringian Innovation Prize. In May 2022, we received a seven-figure seed funding from bm|t, MBG Thuringia, and Sparkasse Jena-Saale-Holzland.


What Sets Your Startup Apart and What Is Unique About Your Business Idea?

We take training to the next level and help athletes and coaches unlock their true potential with the world's first live communication and monitoring system. With our intercom system, the coach can speak in real-time with all of their players on the field. Coaches and players are connected through our innovative and wireless intercom system. The coach communicates with the players through our Sound Vest, which integrates a small speaker into the shoulder area. Using our iPad app, the coach can select which players to communicate with. They can address an individual player, a custom-selected group (e.g., defense), or the entire team. Line-ups and groups can be completely flexible and adjusted live during training. Both the coach and the player can benefit from live communication and immediate feedback. Our app also includes additional features to optimally prepare the team for upcoming challenges, such as our training catalog with over 500 exercises or opponent simulation, which helps prepare the team for the next opponent. Additionally, we are developing our LiveHearo, which players wear in their ears. This device captures the player's heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and stress zone without restricting their movement. Thanks to live communication, athletes can be warned immediately when a critical value is reached to prevent overexertion.

The principle of direct communication between quarterback and coach has been used in football for a long time. However, our product differs significantly from the current standard in football: we do not rely on a radio connection (like a walkie-talkie) but on an app-based intercom system. In a radio system, every player listens on the same frequency, and individual players cannot be addressed.

Our live communication system allows the coaching staff to select individual players, groups, or the entire team. The groups are flexible and can be adjusted live during a training session. This allows the coach to communicate with every player - not just with a specific position like the quarterback. Each player is equipped with a custom-made Hearable or our Sound Vest. Therefore, our technology can also be used outside of sports like football, where a helmet for the communication system was previously required. Unlike a helmet, our system does not restrict the player's acoustic perception of the environment.


Current Biggest Challenges

Delays in the delivery and production of essential parts.


Biggest Fears and Concerns When Considering Starting Your Own Business?

Financing, uncertainty due to Covid.


Biggest Challenges You Had to Overcome on Your (Founding) Journey

Zero-Covid Asia (delay in the delivery of parts), delay in financing rounds, war & consequences (unstable market).


Location and Why You Chose It (or the Jena Location)

Located in Jena (in the B59). Support from the university (EXIST, K1, ISC) & offerings like Jena Digital; network in Jena.


Where You See Yourselves in 5 Years

Leading provider of live communication & monitoring in international professional sports.


Advice for People Considering Starting a Business?

Be brave, seek help, and look for regional support programs. Without a strong team, nothing works, so find a team that aligns with your values and vision.


Support Received and Additional Support Desired (from ISC)

  • Counseling & courses
  • Workshops
  • Networking
  • Support in finding partners abroad

Expectations Met? Why Yes or No?

Mostly yes. Counseling & courses have always been very helpful, e.g., during a crowdfunding campaign; however, the digital partner search in Asia did not work out well; the proposed companies were mostly unprofessional in appearance & had very unrealistic expectations.


Suggestions for Improvement Regarding the Planning/Implementation of These Services?

The visibility of the offers could be improved in the future; for some events, we only found out about them at very short notice. The depth of the workshop offerings could be expanded in such a way that there are different "levels" (beginner e.g., focus on startups shortly before founding, advanced e.g., focus on problems that startups frequently encounter after initial funding rounds).


Thank you very much for your time and responses!


Coachwhisperer’s feedback on the services of the ISC:

"We are very grateful for the various opportunities we have had from different events and workshops by the ISC. The team behind the ISC is always willing to help in any way they can!"