A Successful Demo Day Nets Multiple Pilots, Partnerships
Our first chapter of the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator came to a close yesterday as ten startups presented at Demo Day in front of an audience of the world’s leading venture capitalists, startup founders, media and business executives, and the larger sports tech community.
The impacts of the pandemic created unique, unprecedented challenges for everyone involved. Still, our ten teams showed unparalleled levels of resilience, determination, and a willingness to change the sports landscape for good.
They each used Demo Day as their opportunity to share the progress of their companies and the culmination of lessons they learned over the course of the past three months in the program. The overarching goal of the program was to see these teams—selected from a global applicant pool across 70 countries—sharpen and expand their business models as well as to refine their pitches and to land potential investors and clients.
Already, these founders have tasted victory. We’re proud to announce that our cohort has landed 16 pilots or partnerships based on their Demo Day pitches.
“I’m so impressed with the creativity and determination these entrepreneurs bring to the business of sports and we’re proud to partner with these rising stars to help grow their businesses,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable.
Jenna Kurath, Vice President, Startup Partner Development and Head of SportsTech, helped lead these teams as they worked alongside industry leaders and strategic advisors. Jenna said the process of watching these teams over the past 90 days has been an incredible inspiration. “The 10 startup teams you are seeing today have just finished our inaugural sports tech accelerator program. I’ve spent the last three months working with them as they scale and grow their businesses. I can tell you firsthand, this is an inspiring and tenacious group of founders. Their ideas are changing the way that we play, train, and experience sports. They have shown real talent, grit, and determination on their way to success. I hope you enjoy seeing all that they have accomplished.”
📺 Be sure to catch our entire Demo Day event here
Here is a rundown of each of our ten teams’ presentations, why they’re building, what they learned, and what they’re doing to change the world of sports—in their own words:
Ane Swimwear • Atlanta, GA • Trish Miller
Ane Swimwear has developed the first ever fully waterproof swimming cap that is designed to keep every single hair on your head dry, which gives you the freedom to enjoy the water on your own terms.
My background is in public health. However, the reason that I created this product is really based on my own experience in the water. I almost drowned when I was a teenager and wanted to do something that made a difference in the lives of others so that they didn’t have a similar experience.
So, I decided to create a company that focused on eliminating the barriers that keep people from having a healthy and safe relationship with the water. And this is how my company was born.
Hair is important. It is one of the most common barriers to people enjoying water as much as they would like to—competitive swimmers, leisure swimmers—anyone who wants hair protection. This product is a game-changer in allowing people to engage and have a great time and just enjoy the water.
Dibz • Toronto, Canada • Brennon D’Souza
I’ve always been a creative problem solver. I’ve done it in the corporate world for large enterprises. And then now for my own startup called Dibz. Everybody’s had that experience of calling ‘dibs’ on something that they wanted and we wanted to bring that same experience to seat upgrades. Dibz is a fan experience. It’s an upgrade experience and it’s all done through text messaging. And this is what’s so special because we basically circumvent the whole app. It is the fastest way out there right now to get from a bad seat to a good seat.
When the fans come back, they’re going to be texting a number. They’re going to be getting a couple of options—good, better, best of seats that are actually available right in front of them. They’re going to pick those options. They’re going to pay for those options. We’re going to send them a new ticket and they’re going to get up and move to their new seats. You don’t need to go visit the box office. It is just simple, easy, and fast.
The Comcast SportsTech Accelerator has been amazing to us. We have talked to NASCAR, we’ve talked to the NBA, we’ve talked to the NHL, we’ve talked to Major League Soccer.
Eon Media • Toronto, Canada • Ashish Agrawal, Ritika Bhartia
We at Eon Media provide video streaming solutions for media and telecom companies.
Eon Media has got a suite of products that are potentially interesting to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, but specifically around using computer vision and artificial intelligence, to be able to automatically track and log partner recognition logos. —Troy Taylor, High Performance Director, U.S. Ski & Snowboard
And you would be providing them this output, which would have the brand exposure leaders such as the brand name, the time that it was actually there in front of the camera, and also the number of times so that they would be able to understand what are the most key spots and what are the most key sponsors that have got the most visibility throughout the live game.
Global M • Geneva, Switzerland • Lance Newhart, Paul Calleja
We specialize in advanced live streaming technologies. What’s really cool is we take the smartphone and we turn it into a broadcast camera without any loss of quality. And we do this using the GlobalM network CDM.
The technology mimics satellite, but we’re not using satellite, we’re using the internet at a fraction of the cost.
GlobalM offers a real replacement to satellites when it comes to point-to-point and point-to-multipoint.
When you look at the output of the mobile app with a transport stream analyzer, you would not tell that it was coming from a mobile phone versus a professional video encoder.
nVenue • Dallas Texas • Bruce Sears, Drew Williams, Kelly Pracht, Michael Stearns
For nearly 20 years, I led R&D and teams to make the most advanced tech in the world. Most recently, supercomputers. And it was during that season of my career that I said, what if we took that same complex theory and applied it to my passion, which is live sports? And out of that, we began nVenue.
nVenue is unique because we are providing next play analytics before the next play happens. And we do that within a second or two of the play happening on the field.
We take everything about what just happened and do a lot of complex math and analysis in seconds to tell our fans and businesses in live sports what’s going to happen. And it brings a lot of value into the world of live sports.
We combine technology with sports, with creativity, and we just make the experience better for the fan.
Another opportunity to engage fans is through enhanced alerts. So if I’m not watching the game and I get a notification that says, “Hey, your team’s up in the bottom of the ninth, they’re down by one. There are two outs and there’s a guy on second. There’s a potential walk-off or tying opportunity.” That’s going to make me go back to that game. So coming up with really cool, innovative, unique ways to engage fans through a number of products has been a really good opportunity.
Safety Skin • Cleveland, Ohio • Benjamin Gascoigne, John Kulbis
So bouncing, chafing, restriction, wind drag, uncomfortable, unfashionable, one size does not fit all. These are a few problems that athletes experience with traditional reflective garments. Safety Skin’s reflective spread is the world’s first reflective product designed to be applied directly on your skin or apparel, and it’s simple. Utilizing a deodorant stick, styled applicator, it creates reflective marks directly on your skin or apparel and is visible in any low light scenario. —John Kulbis
We know one of the number one things that cyclists say that keeps them off the roads is safety, is a fear for their safety. Many hours of training at dusk in the early hours of the morning or evening times, where having a reflective product such as they provide that I could just roll onto my skin without having to deal with some bulky reflective vest—I think there’s a huge opportunity for just far better safety when we’re out on the roads. —Bouker Pool, Chief Commercial Officer, U.S. Cycling
I think the excitement of working with U.S. Cycling is that we range from the beginner to the elite. It’s a participatory sport. So there’s so many different avenues to connect with consumers. You’re not just connecting with high performing individuals, you’re connecting all the way through the funnel of I’m a beginner cyclist, how do I stay safer? Johnny’s brought a product to the forefront that we say is an interesting way to look at safety, an interesting way to create content around safety, and talk to our members and consumers about safety. —Bouker Pool, Chief Communications Officer, U.S. Cycling
This is a dual-sided relationship, but we want to give them what they need to make this successful. And we want to get the help from them that will make this successful. —John Kulbis
I guess what we really want to do here is we want to become a part of athletes’ stories. They can get out there and be safe and hopefully come home and do this day after day, after day. —John Kulbis
Sharper Sense • New York, New York • Charles Rodenkirch, Qi Wang
The modern athlete has all the tools they need to reach peak physical ability, yet tools to unlock peak mental ability remain scarce. Sharper Sense unlocks peak mental ability by enhancing vision, hearing, and touch upon application. Our fully non-invasive, wearable patch provides an instant benefit upon application and does not distort perception. —Qi Wang
But after talking to multiple athletes and coaches, we realize that the strongest need for our technology is to minimize the likelihood of injuries. Things like fatigue, inattention, concussions can all lead to neural noise that reduces sensory acuity and causes misperceptions. These are strongly linked to injury. —Qi Wang
If we can reduce the likelihood of injury for these athletes, we can meet a very strong need for them. —Charles Rodenkirch
The Sonar Company • San Antonio, Texas • Michele Klumb, Emma Gaona, Roy Terracina, Allan Matarrita-Chinchilla
We’re able to take sound out of virtually any speaker into a telephone and transmit files and data without using the internet. So it’s really a new technology that can be used almost anywhere if you think about it, because there’s speakers anywhere and cell phones anywhere. —Roy Terracina
You can send offline notifications, pinpoint a fan’s exact location, and communicate in situations when the internet is unavailable or overloaded. —Allan Matarrita-Chinchilla
You don’t really know we’re there. We run in the background and we’re able to deliver content to the fans and it’s delivered to them simultaneously while they’re watching a game. —Roy Terracina
The same technology that we use inside an arena, allows us to reach the user through television. It is the technology that will connect the live experience with the TV at home. —Allan Matarrita-Chinchilla
This will be a great first step in becoming the new standard for creating fan engagement at sporting events, while also creating secondary screen experiences on television. A single technology to connect all the fans. —Allan Matarrita-Chinchilla
Engaging the fans is the key to this whole thing, and we have a unique way of doing so. —Roy Terracina
StreamRecap • Los Angeles, CA • Karan Wadhera
StreamRecap helps any competitive esports team run like a professional organization. So we use computer vision and have built a virtual camera that goes and records every single game they’re playing, breaks it down for film review, and then uses a bunch of that data to also automate content creation for highlights to help players have more fun.
We started out really trying to automate the content for pro teams and pro streamers. And then we quickly realized the big problem was for amateur teams where you have thousands of games going on in a single hour. —Karan Wadhera
XiQ • Atlanta, GA • Florian Meier, Karlos Walkes
Our tagline is XiQ—keyless, live more. What does that mean? Just about every non-automotive vehicle, starting with golf carts, recreational vehicles, watercraft, construction vehicles, they all have the same or similar key ignition. Unbelievable, but true. —Karlos Walkes
So the really unique thing about our process is, it’s basically for two types of people, right? You have some people that are focused on the convenience of not having the key and other people are really concerned about theft and we can service both types of people with one product. —Florian Meier
Stay Tuned For More Exciting Updates!
Now that we’ve wrapped our first-ever cohort, we want to let you know that we’re nowhere near done. Our work is just beginning. Here is what you can expect from our team going forward:
- Applications for the second Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator are open now! Click here to apply (or share the link with your favorite upcoming sports tech startup).
- If you have an idea or product you’re working on in the space, we definitely want to hear from you. You can sign-up for our newsletter where we’ll be updating applicants about the next program here.
- In the meantime, we’ll be profiling our favorite stories and trends about this space on our blog, Inside Track, and also profiling our first batch of alums as they get bigger and better!