Accelerators, incubators, investors and hubs are all opportunities that support, connect, educate, mentor and drive early-stage, growth driven companies and entrepreneurs. These initiatives and support are playing an increasing role in startups communities, as they help immensely with rapidly access to tools to build and develop their business, and connections to mentors, industry leaders, journalists and coaches - all to assist them in reaching their goals while evolving the world of sports as we know it.
The most valuable thing you’ll receive from attending a program isn’t the free swag or the days away from your desk, it's the community and the connections. Exploring new cities, meeting sports tech minded people, and creating relationships. It's also a popular method to get a foot in the door, get your name out there, on top of some funding and traction.
As an entrepreneur, startup or organization, you can only achieve so much by sitting behind a computer screen. Have a look at this list of accelerators and venture funds that are driving the growth and creating possibilities with technology involved with different aspects of sports, fitness & wellness and that focus to full or some degree specifically on mentoring and investing in companies in the sports tech space.
ASTN Sports Accelerator
Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) aims to make Victoria a global centre for sports-focused innovation and technology through networking, conferences and accelerator-based programs. Supported through LaunchVic's first funding round, ASTN is taking 20 sports technology startups through its accelerator program.
Sports Colab // Podium
San Francisco, USA
Sports Colab is a Venture Fund, Accelerator and Community Across Sports and Entertainment at the intersection of sports, media, entertainment + technology based in Silicon Valley
Techstars Sports Accelerator – Powered By Indy
Techstars is a startup accelerator mainly based in the US but with chapters all over the world. In Dec 2018, they ran the first program specifically for sports technology based in Indianapolis and in 2020 they'll run an accelerator program in Melbourne. The Techstars Sports Accelerator focuses on innovation with the goal to early identify key trends for future technology in sport and embrace technologies and business models that will impact the sports industry.
Qatar Sportstech is the first SportsTech focused accelerator in the MENA region powered by Startupbootcamp. The accelerator aims at attracting the world’s most promising technology startups and make Doha a spearhead pushing the boundaries of the sports industry.
leAD, a Sports Startup Accelerator Program by Adi Dassler's grandsons, is a global program for sports tech entrepreneurship. The program is for innovative products, services and business models in the realm of sports with a focus on sports technology, media, entertainment, management and lifestyle.
Global Sports Venture Studio
Los Angeles, USA
The Global Sports Venture Studio is a business incubator program created by the Los Angeles Dodgers and R/GA Ventures aligned with a series of top-tier sports entities. The Studio intends to engage companies across a wide range of sports topical areas including emerging media, gambling, data and analytics, augmented and virtual reality, e-commerce, player performance, fan engagement, facility enhancements and esports.
Spin Accelerator is the first European acceleration program for sport-tech startups. The program is consists of sixteen weeks of training with top-notch mentors specifically to support sport technology companies to develop and grow.
Hype Sports Innovation
HYPE Lab runs an innovative sports accelerator program while providing its participating startups with direct access to over 26,000 stakeholders in the world of sports. There are several locations around the world for the Hype Program and in each location they offer a 16-week accelerator program twice a year.
KICKUP Sports Accelerator
The KICKUP Sports Accelerator is an international acceleration program that aims to mentor, connect and develop early stage sports business startups, focused on Sports Performance & Lifestyle Activity; Fan Engagement & Entertainment; Facility Management & Operations.
Arsenal Innovation Lab
Arsenal FC launched its own innovation lab, Arsenal Innovation Lab, seeking to work with startups to identify, what it is calling “ground-breaking new fan experiences". They run 10-week programs for companies specializing in four key areas including match-day experience, engagement on a global level, commercial partnerships and retail operations.
A Sports Tech incubator & coworking in Chiavari, Wylab is the first incubator in Italy focused on technologies applied to the sports industry.
Sports Tech Tokyo
Sports Tech Tokyo is a global mentor-driven accelerator program for startups developing cutting-edge sports technology. The program is presented by Dentsu, one of the world’s largest advertising brands, and Scrum Ventures, a U.S.-based venture capital firm. The program is remote, with an initial immersion in Tokyo and exclusive events and mentorships in the U.S. and Japan throughout the three-month virtual program.
London Sports Tech Hub
The London Sports Sport Tech Hub program is for early stage startups (MVP – SEED) looking to work with Local Authorities and National Governing Bodies, wanting to immerse themselves in the health and sport tech Industry and for businesses who want to get more of the population healthier and active.
The ASICS TenKan-Ten acceleration program is for growth stage start-ups who share ASICS’ commitment to get the world moving through innovation. TENKAN-TEN will support selected start-ups with €30,000 and access to ASICS executives and industry mentors, as well as support from the internationally renowned IESE Business School in Barcelona. The program take place in the ASICS Innovation Hub in Barcelona and the newly opened EMEA Headquarters in Amsterdam.
SportUp - the Flemish (Belgian) accelerator focusing on sport startups is the first and only specific support program for sports tech startups in Belgium. Every year, SportUp will select at least 10 sports start-ups with an idea that is economically and socially relevant for the sports and exercise sector in Flanders. SportUp offers them the professional support that starters need to further develop their ideas and to grow into a healthy company, ready for the international market.
Sport eXperience supports sports entrepreneurs with their (inter)national growth ambition through a business approach.
Next Venture is not an accelerator, but an investment firm led by globally known cyclist and athlete Lance Armstrong and life-long multi-sport athlete and outdoorsman Lionel Conacher. Next Ventures back startups in the sports, fitness, nutrition and wellness markets, and aim to become one of the larger sports and fitness-focused funds in the world.
Barça Innovation Hub
FC Barcelona launched its Barca Innovation HUB aiming to make FC Barcelona the world's number 1 sports innovation centre. Not really an accelerator, the hub co-develop programs with startups and entrepreneurs that are developing new and innovative technologies and thereby help to make Barcelona a hub for the attraction of talent, sport, technology and innovation.
Black Lab Sports
Black Lab Sports invests in, launches, and scales companies whose founders live their purpose and who focus on pushing the limits of Human Performance. Black Lab Sports’ strength comes from a committed network of professional athletes and coaches, savvy investors, and successful entrepreneurs, marketers, and operators.
Blue Star Accelerator
Blue Star Accelerator is a partnership opportunity with the Jerry Jones Family and Rob Wechsler, CEO of Blue Star Sports, for start-ups in the media, sports and entertainment industries.
Capital Sports Ventures
Capital Sports Ventures is a sports properties accelerator that advises, manages and provides capital for sports and lifestyle properties and events.
Inspiring Sport Capital
London, United Kingdom
A European investment company dedicated to the sports industry, including the two following sub-segments: Sporting Goods Manufacturers with a strong technical DNA, and Technologies applied to Sports.
Washington DC, USA
The OneTeam Collective is the first athlete-driven accelerator delivering value to up-and-coming companies by unlocking access to professional athletes, their intellectual property, as well as a world-class team of investors and strategic partners. The OneTeam Collective is seeking companies to add to its portfolio across a spectrum of product categories and will expand its focus to consider any company that delivers on the mission for improving the lives of professional athletes, their fans and athletes everywhere.
San Diego, USA
SDSI Springboard is a 20-week intensive business accelerator that helps sports and active lifestyle industry entrepreneurs create sustainable and scalable businesses through structured curriculum and professional business mentoring.
St. Louis, USA
Stadia Ventures is a global Sports Innovation Hub for entrepreneurs, industry partners and investors. Twice a year, Stadia Venture conducts a private and public call for submissions around the world looking to invest up to $100,000 for equity in up to five of the best, established sports business startups.
Nothing like getting away from your computer and taking your ideas out for a test drive in the real world. Hope this list gives you inspiration to take your idea somewhere.
- Noise Studio
This post was updated on July, 2019. If you have an accelerator you want us to add? Let us know!
Noise Studio is a creative agency that specializes in digital strategy, branding and design for sport brands & sports tech. You can follow us on Instagram, Dribbble, Behance, Linkedin, Medium and Twitter. Like us today and we will love you forever.