Berlin’s Adidas Family Funded Accelerator Winners Announced

19 iOT, Video, Apps and Hardware Startups stand out at the leAD Selection Days

 

In July, leAD Sports Accelerator, the sports startup programme developed by the grandsons of Adi Dassler, invited 40 sports startups from all over the world to gather in Berlin for two gruelling days of competition and assessment, with the goal of selecting 15 companies to participate in its sports acceleration program. Winners will come to Berlin for three months of intensive mentoring, leadership development, network building, and those remaining in the accelerator after the semi finals on Oct 11 will receive an investment of €25,000. Eventually, due to the high quality of the invited startups, 19 instead of 15 were selected to join leAD  in September.

 

The programme, aimed at sports companies at early stage, received 480 applications from 26 countries. Teams that assembled in Berlin came from as far away as New York, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv and New Delhi, joining other teams from all over Europe.

 

Trends of note: There were a high number of startups commercialising video technology within the sports market. These included video analytics for feedback, player performance, as well as technology for score keeping and tracking. Video analytics for athlete scouting as well as trend analysis was also a common theme. Apps of course were plentiful across the board.

 

IoT was everywhere and present in a diverse array of companies. Smart tennis courts, smart referee watches, and smart athlete devices all stood out as companies that had harnessed connectivity to improve sports for all. Sports nutrition startups were also out in force. A smart bottle with Nespresso style nutrient capsules made the final cut.

 

Manufacturing innovations also abounded. Winners of note included a skateboard designed to mimic all the movements of a surfboard, a helmet with detachable earphones, a suitcase that could connect to your bicycle for bike tours, and socks with a special surface that acted like shoes.

 

Tim Krieglstein, Managing Director of leAD said: “We were overwhelmed with the volume of ideas, the quality and the innovation that we saw here in Berlin. It is remarkable what can be achieved when you are truly passionate about an idea. We are delighted to be a part of so many new stories in the world of sports.”

 

After an intensive interview and selection process, the following 19 companies were announced as winners, and will be accepted into the leAD programme, which will begin in Berlin in autumn:

 

– Wingfield
– UNIT 1
– Skinners
– Fitto Nutrition

– Reachbird Sports
– Accuwear
– 2020 Armor
– bstoked
– Bio Boards Landsurf
– Venuzle
– Evolve Basketball App
– Sentier Adventure Gear
– Valtik Foods
– Starting 11 LLC
– The Movement Athlete
– Winmill
– ForwardGame AR
– Who Knows Wins
– Horse Analytics

 

About leAD Sports Accelerator:

 

leAD Sports Accelerator – legacy of Adi Dassler, launched in Berlin, Germany to boost talented founders and turn promising startups from seed to fully-functioning, profitable ventures.  The first edition of the leAD Sports Accelerator will take place from 12 September to 8 December 2017 in Berlin, Germany. leAD Sports Accelerator was initiated by the grandchildren of Adi Dassler together with a unique group of shareholders who are experts in the fields of venture capital, business, sports business and tech.

 

Passion for sports – leAD Sports Accelerator: www.leadsportsaccelerator.com

Video – leAD Sports Accelerator – the Legacy: https://vimeo.com/202071653


Social channels

 Twitter: www.twitter.com/leADsports

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/lead-sports-accelerator

Facebook: www.facebook.com/leadsportsaccelerator

Startup Overview:

 

Wingfield
Wingfield is developing a system that can transform any tennis court in the world into a smart court. Playing on a court that is equipped with their system, the players get the same game analytics as the professionals do. With a combination of hardware and Arti cial Intelligence, the system keeps track of the score, analyzes strokes and gives personal feedback right after matches or practice sessions. From the average speed of serve to a point by point video analysis, the system provides all the information needed to improve. The system only costs a fraction of a professional system and is easily set up.

 

Unit 1

UNIT 1 developed SOUNDSHIELD, an all-season action-sports helmet with wireless, detachable headphones. It provides a seamless experience both on the slopes / parks and outside of them. When skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding or biking you wear both, the helmet and headphones, seamlessly connected. When done riding, you simply detach your headphones and take them with you, no need to leave the music behind. It also features a speci cally designed interface, a proprietary docking system, Hi-Fi audio and a built-in mic for taking calls.

 

Skinners

Skinners is a new kind of footwear. The innovative sock-shoes are designed for travel and sport enthusiasts. They provide ultimate freedom of socks with protective elements of shoes. Due to their compact dimensions, Skinners are useful as a handy backup footwear for outdoor activities (e.g. inline skating, cycling, hiking, rock climbing etc.) or as a primary pair of shoes (gym, yoga, pilates, running etc.). Skinners are produced with a unique waste-free technology that does not use any adhesives or seams, guaranteeing that the abrasion-proof handmade bottom part is neatly joined to the upper antibacterial material.

 

fitto Nutrition

fitto is an IoT consumer health startup aiming to disrupt the supplements industry. tto wants to create the new age of smart personal nutrition with a smart bottle, pods and AI engine platform that optimizes nutrients intake and body potential through user pro ling. It syncs and utilizes data from biometrics and health cross devices and platforms. The users get real-time nutritional status and progress on goals.

 

Reachbird

Reachbird is a Influencer Marketing SaaS-solution that uses AI to nd the right influencers. The SaaS-solution of Reachbird provides marketers with three tools to professionalize influencer marketing. In the rst step, a search engine helps marketers to identify influential persons in social media that really t the purpose of their advertising campaign. The search engine is based on AI, using social media data to make a perfect match between advertiser and influencer. In the next step, a management-tool helps marketers to control advertising-campaigns in every step – giving marketers the possibility to communicate with influencers as well as an integrated payment solution. The third tool provides in-depth analytics on the outcome of a social media campaign with influencers. Reachbird now wants to tap into influencer marketing in the sports industry.

 

Accuwear

Accuwear provides athletes and race participants with powerful information they did not have before. With the Accuwear Band, athletes can gain access to ranking positions, live-tracking, estimated nishing times, time/distance from their next competitor ahead and much more during the race. The live data is sent to the mobile app so that fans and spectators can follow the action from anywhere. The data collected is monetized through media organizations such as TV and social media feeds.

 

2020 Armor

2020 Armor wants to change the way we do martial arts in a competitive way. Common counting systems in Taekwondo, the most popular martial art (80 million people practicing), favor taller players and are hard to understand through the electronic counting that was introduced eight years ago. 2020 Armor’s goal is to provide a solution inspired by street ghter games. Fighters in a competition wear vests with sensors and start all with a certain amount of “energy”. The harder the ghter is hit, the more energy he loses. The rst one to lose all energy is defeated. This should bring even more excitement to martial arts.

 

bstoked

bstoked is a marketplace for action & adventure sports travel, which makes outdoor sports experiences around the world accessible to a large, global audience. It minimizes the planning time, risks and costs while optimizing the travel and sports experience on many levels. Sports enthusiasts can easily discover and book unique sports experiences around the globe, which are offered by independent local tour operators or experienced local sports practitioners that can hardly be found elsewhere. It allows local hosts with little to no infrastructure to attract guests without expensive intermediaries.

 

Bio Boards LandSurf

Bio Boards developed the LandSurf, a skateboard that through its innovative setup allows you to perform unique surf tricks and maneuvers on land. Using advanced research technics, they’ve mapped the biomechanics of sur ng and engineered a board that perfectly recreates the sensation of sur ng on the land. The development was done in corporation with professional surfers. Additionally, the board is made of recycled materials only.

 

Venuzle

The vision of Venuzle is to make the planning and coordination of sports activities user-friendly. At the same time sports providers are given the opportunity to optimize their management, communication and distribution channels, as well as simplifying manual processes and increasing the utilization. They provide an online marketplace to search and book sports venues and sports courses, match sports partners, nd new teammates, join other teams or manage their own teams for sportspeople. For sports providers, the Venuzle Sports Manager is an enterprise management solution for municipalities, local councils, clubs and schools to manage their facilities, courses and enrollment or offering of private.

 

Evolve Basketball App

Evolve Basketball App is a virtual training platform for youth to enhance their skills regardless of their demographic, location or money situation. It combines social media with gami cation features implemented so users can have the ability to unlock videos via ads free of charge and the ability to purchase coins to unlock videos. Users also can choose from multiple elite certi ed trainers across the world. The app allows them to interact with the trainers on a personal level. Users also can save up on coins as the coins are a virtual currency that allows you to buy goods inside the app from sponsored brands.

 

Sentier Adventure Gear

Sentier Adventure Gear is a hardware startup focused on building technical, smart and tailored products for outstanding performance in the most challenging urban and outdoor conditions that encourage enthusiasts to empower life as a journey by avoiding complexity and time- consuming effort. Their rst product is the Bike Trolley, a new concept of a trolley bag, easily convertible to a high-performance bike trailer.
It drastically enhances the luggage handling experience while providing an outstanding riding performance, reducing travel costs and stress.

 

Valtik Foods

Valtik Foods developed a fast-absorbing hydration mix under the trademark TITANIUM that provides faster hydration avoiding stomach distress both for the amateur and the endurance athlete. The mixture of sugars and electrolytes moves from the gut to the bloodstream in just 15 minutes compared to other products that do this in 30 minutes or more. It favors gastric emptying and carb absorption rate in the small intestine and inhibits glucose saturation in the cell membrane of the cells in the body. They also understood that different sports have different sweat rates, and energy and muscle use. They thus developed four lines of TITANIUM segmented by sport category adapted to each sport’s speci c needs.

 

Starting 11 LLC

Starting 11 is a daily fantasy soccer app. Users build an 11-player fantasy roster of real-life soccer players and compete against other users. Statistics accumulated by real-life players are converted into fantasy points that are earned by the user’s 11-player fantasy roster. The user’s team with the most fantasy points at the end of a single day wins the contest. Starting 11 offers both free contests and contests where users can win cash prizes. Starting 11 is dynamic because users can make up to three in-game, real-time substitutions, just like a real soccer man- ager. Their geolocation feature allows users to challenge fans watching the match nearby in a soccer bar or soccer stadium. Or, users can in- vite friends to play private 1 vs. 1 games.

 

The Movement Athlete

TMA is an educational platform & technology making learning bodyweight and movement disciplines like calisthenics, gymnastic, acrobatics and circus skills – previously, expensive and inaccessible – easy, fun and safe for everyone. They distill the knowledge of the world’s best gymnastic & calisthenics coaches and physiotherapists to make professional training available to anyone. Through comprehensive athlete assessment, they identify exactly where you are at and create a fully personalized training program just for you. Each workout pushes you a little bit more, learning new and harder movements, and unlocking new levels of strength, flexibility, and mobility.

 

Winmill

Winmill is building a training tool to improve every ice hockey players’ abilities to train smart. They are building a training device that can pass and shoot pucks by using stereovision to provide the highest level of training for every individual. They also provide video and statistical review about the trainings. Additionally, they are developing a software for coaches that aggregates information from trainings and games through innovative sensor technology.

 

ForwardGame AR

ForwardGame AR is building a bridge between the virtual and the physical worlds, bringing the fun of playing back to the streets, parks and backyards. Their mission is to build a variety of solutions, including jogging and workout gami cation, real-world multiplayer games, smart interactive playgrounds and many more. Their rst game is a real-world real-time mobile strategy game (capture-the-flag). Users are required to get outside with friends, divide into two groups and start the battle! During the game, they gather power-ups, attack the opponents, defend their base and capture the enemy’s flag. Every meter traveled counts as a game point. The battle lasts 20 minutes and the recommended number of participants is 6.

 

Who Knows Wins

Who Knows Wins (WKW) is an interactive social gaming platform that allows friends, family, and colleagues, to compete against each other in leagues, using their knowledge, skill, and luck to predict results on virtually any sporting event. The WKW- Team is trying to take the gambling’s negative stigma away through socializing it. Their platform is not as much about money as it is about community. WKW is the place to predict, compete and win cash in the company of friends, family or even total strangers.

 

Horse Analytics
Horse Analytics is the easy one device solution to connect horse and owner 24/7 allowing for an easy access of health and trainings related aspects. HorseAnalytics empowers horse enthusiasts to monitor and improve the health and training of their companions by applying successfully tested technologies from human sport wearables combined with constant data quantification and real-time scientific analytics, fostering an intimate understanding.

 


Cú Ball – Hybrid Gaming – The Future of E-Sports

Augmented Reality, Video Gaming and Hurling. It’s the Future of  E-Sports.

At the launch of Showcase Ireland we were delighted to feature SportsTech companies from an incredibly diverse range of verticals. We’ve already featured Kitman Labs here on the blog, a company which has developed the world’s first athlete optimization system as a cloud-based service. Next up is a start up that is currently in Beta. Cú Ball is a super exciting example of innovation across multiple skill sets. What happens when video production experts harness their own passion for sports and gaming? Hybrid gaming is born.

Cú Ball, which is the brainchild of the expert video and events production team at CWB., takes traditional sport, and mixes it with video graphics to create an augmented reality environment that enables gamers to play with live athletes. The example here is with hurling, and the concept is to create a new sport that can engage and entertain at arena level.

Video courtesy of Kehlan at Red Eye Media. 


SportsTech Ireland Innovation Showcase

SportsTech Ireland launched on the 15th of June. We welcomed 100 special guests to King John’s Castle, where we shared our vision and our values, as well as some old fashioned hospitality, to accompany the broad variety of companies that exhibited on the day.

We featured hi tech companies at every stage, from ideation right through to those turning over tens of millions overseas. We welcomed companies working in wearables, gaming, high performance, analytics, sports clothing, equestrian tech and lots more.  Keep your eyes peeled for showcase interviews like this one with Kitman Labs. 

 


SportsTech Ireland Launch: Kitman Labs
At the official launch of SportsTech Ireland we were delighted to welcome over a dozen companies to the Innovation Showcase. one of these was Kitman Labs, a sports data company based in Dublin that enables athletes and coaches to avail of and interpret real-time results. Kitman Labs employs more sports data analysts than anyone else in the industry.  They are also offering the world’s first athlete optimization system as a cloud-based service.

A huge thanks to Kehlan Kirwan at RedEye Media for putting together this clip from our launch. 


Optiflow Digital: A Case Study of Intelligent Mouth Guards

Intelligent Mouth Guards: New way of preventing secondary concussion brain injuries

by Paul McGurran, Optiflow Digital

 

Are you a parent whose children play high-impact sports such as rugby? If so you are probably aware of the growing concerns that injuries from secondary concussion can cause teenagers and young adults. The Will Smith directed movie “Concussion” has also helped raise public awareness of the potential dangers of continuing to play on while still concussed. It is estimated that each year approximately 3.8 million concussions occur in USA and that in roughly half of these cases players don’t report it.

 

Definition: A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to either the head or the body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion changes how the brain normally functions. Signs and symptoms of concussion include headache, nausea, fatigue, confusion or memory problems, sleep disturbances, or mood changes.

 

Emergence of Intelligent Mouth Guards Market

There are a number of US start-ups emerging that have been working on developing Intelligent Mouth Guards that seek to address the above problem.

 

Prevent Biometrics, founded in 2015 and based in Minneapolis, completed a Series A funding round of $2.5 million in 2016. Co-founder and CEO Steve Washburn was previously the CEO of Shock Doctor Mouthguards for 15 years, where he built the brand into the market leader. The accuracy of the Prevent technology has been scientifically validated by the Cleveland Clinic.

“Research has shown that accurate head impact measurements are impossible to achieve without a secure coupling to the skull. This is why we chose to embed our impact monitor in a mouthguard, and develop our technology and intellectual property around this concept,” said CEO Washburn.

How does Prevent Biometrics Work?

Prevent Biometrics (www.preventbiometrics.com) accurately measures head impacts in real-time on the field of play, giving athletes and coaches the information they need to make sports safer. Embedded in a mouth guard and paired with a mobile app, Prevent’s impact monitor continually monitors the athlete, collecting every head impact received. If an impact force exceeds a pre-set threshold, a red LED immediately illuminates on the mouth guard and an alert is sent to team coaches through the mobile app.

The head impact monitor uses a patented deformable body algorithm to measure the force, direction and location of head impacts in real-time, providing accurate and comprehensive view of athlete head impacts. The company plans to offer two versions of its head impact monitor for athletes ages 11 and older, starting at $199.

Summary

In summary, we have discussed the emergence of an intelligent mouth guard start-up. What is innovative about the post-impact feedback to managers and coaching teams is that it is “real-time” and removes any debate about whether a player should stay on or withdraw from the field of play. This will prevent potentially very harmful secondary concussion brain injuries. It will be interesting to plot the progress of Prevent Biometrics in the coming years.

Optiflow Digital was established by Paul McGurran in 2012 and is based in the Nexus Innovation Centre, University of Limerick. Paul has over 19 years experience in Usability, Online Customer Experience and eCommerce. He is an Enterprise Ireland mentor to Irish start-ups including Pinpoint Medical, Von Bismark and Accuvio Software. Please feel free to contact Paul via Linkedin.

https://ie.linkedin.com/in/paul-mcgurran-2ba22822

 


Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

Limerick, the hub for SportsTech Ireland

 

What do you think of, when you think of Limerick?  

Inevitably when I ask this question, sport of one form or another features in the first 5 words.  Be it Munster Rugby, the UL Arena; Tom Barr; Special Olympics, the 50 metre pool; Ger Hartmann; rowing on the majestic Shannon river; the World Student Sports Games, or the new 25 metre diving pool opening soon.  However, one thing stands above all else – the enthusiastic, passionate sporting fans and spirit that pervades Limerick.

 

Background

This idea for this initiative was borne out of a research project by an Executive MBA team from the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.  Len Middleton, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Ross School of Business has been a long-time visitor to Ireland and particularly to Limerick and the mid-west.   Len brought his 100th Irish team to Limerick in September 2016, this time to lead a project on examining the start-up and scaling ecosystem and how it could be powered up.  The project team met with many stakeholders in the City including UL, LIT, Limerick Enterprise Office, Innovation Works, etc, as well as many start-up entrepreneurs and established companies.   One of the many ideas conceived was for a Limerick-based cluster bringing together two of the cities key areas of interest, Sports and Technology.

“SportsTech Ireland can provide a bridge between coaches, athletes & players, investors and sports and technology entrepreneurs, businesses and international companies.”  Professor Len Middleton, University of Michigan.

In 2015 Ireland’s first ever sports business cluster was established in Limerick with a target of creating 500 jobs within five years.  The National Sports Business Cluster was developed in association with W2 Consulting, University of Limerick and Innovate Limerick.  Building a specialised SportsTech hub for sports innovation and technology is a natural extension of this project, linking to the Universities for research and Sports Science and IT/Engineering; LERO (Irish Software Research Centre); entrepreneurs; indigenous and multi-national technology companies; coaches, players and athletes.

Formal clusters are known to work well.  Dundee is noted as a video games cluster and has been credited with driving a 600% growth in Scotland’s gaming industry.  Dublin is focusing on becoming a Fintech super-power cluster.   Galway is Ireland’s med-tech cluster. As Michael Porter has said “the enduring competitive advantages in a global economy lie increasingly in local things—knowledge, relationships, motivation.”  Clusters are not new thinking but they are viewed as the new kind of team.  A team where the performance is much higher than the sum of the parts.  

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland can compete on an International scale with Israel, London, Paris, Toronto, Boston, St Louis, and Silicon Valley.    The aim is to specialise in key verticals:

  • Performance
  • Analytics
  • IoT
  • Fan Engagement
  • eCommerce
  • Broadcast 
  • Stadium Tech
  • eSports

 

Leap of faith

A SportsTech cluster for Ireland requires a long-term strategy and commitment.  Establishing it in Limerick takes advantage of the natural sporting ecosystem that already exists.  Making SportsTech Ireland a success requires motivation, innovative thinking, collaboration and a competitiveness; the hallmarks of any great team.

The official launch of SportsTech Ireland is set for June 1st in Limerick.   It all began with an idea.  But the raw material that can power this idea is, of course…people.

 

Useful Links

https://michiganross.umich.edu/

https://hbr.org/1998/11/clusters-and-the-new-economics-of-competition

http://www.limerickchamber.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Invest-In-Limerick-2017.pdf