Apr 20, 2023
Pulse podcast episode 1
We are revolutionising the way people experience sports. Our main goal is to bring sports to a wider audience and make these sports more engaging and interactive than what traditional broadcasts are able to achieve.
We recently sat down with our CEO and founder, Armand du Plessis, for the first edition of the Pulse.tv podcast. In this episode we got to pick his brain and find out a little bit more about his personal journey as an entrepreneur and ultra runner; and ultimately what led him to starting Pulse. (See full podcast below)
To provide a bit of context, Armand is a software engineer by trade and was the co-founder and CTO of Hornet.com, one of the world's largest gay social networks. But he is also an Ultra runner who has taken on some of the toughest ultra races in the world. In 2019 Armand left Hornet to focus on adventure sports and take some time off. That’s when the idea to create Pulse was first sparked.
Armand’s idea with Pulse was to create a platform for sharing his experiences with other people and bringing them into the sport of running. Drawing inspiration from Twitch, the Esports platform, Armand wanted to have a platform for athletes to share their outdoor sports experiences. Initially Armand tried to develop glasses with a mini camera to capture his experiences. However, this initial hardware experiment was too expensive so his focus shifted towards building an interactive video platform that allowed viewers to choose their perspectives, go back and forth in time, and access all content, including footage that would typically go to waste.
With a team now assembled and a beta platform built out, Armand along with his team at Pulse, realised that they could bring together everyone involved in a race to create a unique and interactive new way to view sports. From the people running the race, to the photographers, to the event organizers, to the spectators, everyone was now able to contribute to the event broadcast along with having the added benefit of all the telemetry and data that matters.
But before we dive too deep into Pulse and it’s capabilities, let’s take a closer look at the man who started it all, Armand Du Plessis. As mentioned, Armand likes to run. But for some reason he gets his kicks from running a bit further than the average person. When asked about how he got into running, he revealed that he has always been attracted to running. He started with cross country in school, and then moved on to road running. However, it wasn't until he moved to Cape Town in 2010 that he discovered mountain running and the thrill of exploring new places on foot. Armand explained that he has always been interested in understanding how far he can push himself so naturally ultra running was his next progression. Armand believes that ultra running is not just a sport, but a valuable life lesson. It has taught him that no matter how tough things get, they will always get better if you keep pushing. It seems hard to comprehend that at his most recent ultra race, Petite Trotte a Leon (PTL) in France - which is a 300-kilometer autonomous, self-supported run with 27,000 meters of elevation - that things got better the more he and his partner pushed. But we’ll leave it up for you to decide after watching the full adventure which Armand captured exclusively on Pulse.
Over the last year, Pulse has become a home to some incredible footage from so many different athletes streaming an array of sports. This is one of the things that makes Pulse so unique as a platform. But the real power of Pulse is that it empowers sports event organizers to turn any event into an interactive broadcast event, complete with timelines, spectator cams, sports-specific telemetry, and community engagement. Our non-linear approach to sports broadcasting, allows viewers to access all available cameras and data simultaneously, unlike traditional linear broadcasts. Viewers become directors of their own broadcasts by being able to choose their perspectives, go back and forth in time, and access all content, including footage that would typically go to waste. For event organizers, all they need is a few GoPros and an internet connection, and they can start broadcasting live sports events and anyone can provide commentary from anywhere in the world. Pulse gives sports that are not covered by traditional broadcasts a stage and a home, and in the future, any outdoor sport could be happening on Pulse.
The ultimate goal is to make it simple and affordable for organizers to offer immersive experiences to sports fans. As an example, an exciting partnership with RunCzech has allowed us to provide coverage for the Napoli and Prague half marathons, as well as the upcoming Prague marathon in July. Not only are we able to provide the broadcast at a fraction of the cost of traditional broadcasts, but the coverage of the Napoli and Prague halves have been praised for our ability to capture the excitement of both the lead runners and the everyday participants.
More recently, we've been able to broadcast some incredible moments from the Tour de France of MTB, the Cape Epic, whilst working alongside their broadcast team. As a result of our efforts at the Epic, we’ll be providing coverage for the 4Islands Epic at the end of April which is sure to be a really exciting race to watch. Another exciting partnership is with Transcend, an event organizer in Australia, to bring their remote ultra trail race to viewers, but more on that here.
We aren’t just excited about broadcasting these events but we are also really excited about being able to give people the opportunity to watch and re-watch sporting events from around the world. Pulse allows people who were not able to attend an event to experience the vibe and excitement of it, which is something we think is really special.
One of our biggest goals at Pulse is to give underground sports a home and bring them to the forefront of people’s minds. With this exposure, we know we could provide opportunities for people to become professional athletes in their given sport. The more we can help grow sports from the bottom up, the more money can be put into the sports, getting more young athletes supported, and raising the level overall.
At Pulse, we are passionate about bringing sports to a wider audience and making them more accessible to everyone. The opportunities with Pulse are endless, and we are excited to see how it continues to shape the world of sports.