Hudl is a leading software company revolutionising the way coaches and athletes prepare for and stay ahead of the competition. It’s a global company that has a New Zealand-based team in our Soda Inc. co-working space since 2015.
Hudl’s New Zealand and Pacific Islands General Manager Matt Toulson recently told us all about his journey with the worldwide company and how he got there.
Hudl offers the tools to edit and share video, interact with data and create quality presentations for a range of performance applications. The whole experience is available offline or online, giving coaches and athletes secure access in the working environment and on the go.
As a sports industry professional for the last 13+ years, Matt has used his background in performance analysis to help teams at every level embrace technology for improvements on and off the field.
As a general manager with Hudl, Matt has connected with coaches, players, analysts and teams from a variety of sports to discuss the changing landscape of performance analysis.
“Video is evidence-based. You can say to an athlete, ‘you’re doing this really well’ or offer some feedback on areas to tweak and improve, and they might not be so sure, but if you show them the video, it’s the proof they need. It’s positive reinforcement or speeding up the learning cycle to get the results you want,” Matt said.
Before serving New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, Matt spent six years at Waikato Rugby and Chiefs as a performance analyst.
“I’m Waikato-born and bred and went to Hamilton Boys’ High School. I’ve always had a passion for technology as well as sport and took an interest in doing a bit of video analysis work as a student.
“When I left school, I went to university and halfway through I got itchy feet around what to do. I was doing a Bachelor of Electronic Commerce, which was management blended with technology at Waikato University. I heard about a role that was coming up with Waikato Rugby as a video analyst and took it without really knowing what I was getting myself into.
“I soon realised that I was working pretty closely with the Waikato team, under coach Warren Gatland, and next thing I knew I was on a plane for our first game in Invercargill. That was 2006 and we went on to win the competition that year.
“In 2007, I started working with the Chiefs in Super Rugby as a performance analyst while continuing to work with Waikato and did this through to 2012.
“I got to the point where it was time for a change and wanted to finish my degree. While finishing up my studies I got picked up by Hudl. It's been an exciting journey working in the sports technology and analytics field.”
Now, Matt’s influence extends to more than 550 teams and 2,200 coaches across New Zealand, all taking advantage of technology to support a great coaching process and athlete-focused learning. Globally, Hudl serves more than 4.3 million coaches, athletes and analysts from 160,000 teams spanning more than 35 sports.
“I look after New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, primarily. There are just two of us in New Zealand, myself and Simon Mead,” Matt said.
Simon Mead has been Hudl's New Zealand account manager since 2016.
“Before Simon started it was just me. I worked from home and I didn’t actually mind it that much as I travelled fairly frequently, but naturally, that wasn’t going to work with two of us,” Matt said.
“So, we started looking around and went through the process of looking for our own building, but it didn’t really make sense with just the two of us, especially with the flexible nature of our business and our expansion plans.”Hudl currently consists of more than 1,300 employees operating out of 20 countries.
“We also travel quite a bit, so having an office sitting there with no one in it wasn’t that smart.
“Then it’s the little things like having a receptionist, organising power, internet, rates and all the additional costs that go with an office. Here, at Soda, it’s built into one cost. We know what it looks like month-to-month and it’s nice and easy for us to come and go when we need to.
“The other appealing part was being around similar tech companies and linking together with like-minded people.
“Soda allows us to have our own space as well as the convenience of things like meeting rooms. The feel of the space is fresh and modern in the heart of the city. We love that we can bring clients to a professional space. Overall its been really good for us,” he said.
For more information about Hudl, visit hudl.com.