Almost twelve months to the day, US-based company Techstars, one of the biggest start-up companies in the world, joined with Launch Vic, Tennis Australia and Victoria University to launch Australia’s first Techstars Sports Tech Melbourne Accelerator.
Since 2006, global network Techstars has worked with start-ups across a range of industries - from aerospace to finance, logistics to retail - pairing them with established industries to foster innovative entrepreneurs.
The program received over a hundred applications from around the world, and after exacting elimination rounds, ten start-ups are now taking part in the accelerator program, meeting with mentors and refining their pitches ahead of Demo Day on 27 August.
As part of their exclusive mentorship programs, start-ups have access to Victoria University’s state-of-the-art sports facilities, and to experts from Victoria University, Tennis Australia, Vic Government’s LaunchVic and Techstars’ worldwide network.
Due to COVID-19, the ten companies are participating via virtual platforms, but the global pandemic has done little to stifle their passion for innovation and creative thinking.
The start-ups – from Spain, Germany, Austria, India, the USA, Canada and Australia – have created:
- an e-learning sports app for children
- an AI-powered coach that improves athletes’ mental wellbeing and performance
- a program engaging people of all fitness levels using IoT tech, gaming and sports science.
Victoria University’s Gus Balbontin (Executive Director & Entrepreneur in Residence), Hannah Gee (Strategy Director & Entrepreneur in Residence), and Sam Robertson (Professor of Sports Analytics) are three of the 80 mentors working with the teams.
“I’ve been so impressed with the scope and vision of the start-ups. This initiative has enormous potential to transform the sports and start-up technology industry in Australia. Working with people who can take a great idea and, with hard work and real vision, turn it into something tangible and worthwhile is a real privilege. We’re in no doubt that some of these start-ups will create sportstech that will positively shape the future of sport, from community through to elite levels,” says Sam Robertson.
VU’s own Sport Strategy, 2019-2023: From Grassroots to Elite is the result of the university’s ambition to be Australia’s leading sporting university, a key part of which is building and maintaining strong partnerships with local, national and global sporting organisations. An approach that provides a platform to promote and support cutting edge sportstech like the top ten global innovators preparing to present the following fresh ideas:
FILM3D that captures 3D photos and edits them curated filters.
SwingVision's at-home drills helps people stay active, and compete against tennis players around the world, from the comfort of your home.
Snapscreen is an intuitive way to connect TV and mobile, turning images on TV into a QR code.
An app is that gives children access to hundreds of inspirational sports skill tutorials, learning via step-by-step or follow-along videos produced by professionals.
Gamesense offers unlimited virtual-reps for the athletes working to master their ability to read and react to live, in-game situations.
Simulate in-game situations with randomised training that stimulates cognitive-motor skills and boost the athletes' performance.
Helps sports clubs attract more sponsors, generate more income channels, make more money and engage better with their entire ecosystem.
Str8bat (pronounced straight bat) sits on your bat and listens to all it has to say. Leading to actionable data to tap your full batting potential.
A mental wellbeing app that provides a safe, digital space for young athletes.
TENXPRO is unique as it provides tennis racquets that have a pro-stock feel and control that enhances a players tennis game and enjoyment. The racquet attributes (enhanced uniform Flex) can also helps to lower certain arm injuries.