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Inside Track

Keeping Up With the Alums

Sports unite us. We rally behind players and teams in an effort to celebrate accomplishments and victories. Sports connect us together and strengthen communities.

Increasingly, sports are also the common denominator to some of the most exciting technological innovations. From these advances come some of the most inspiring founders and startup teams who are changing the sports landscape for good.

In the past two years of our groundbreaking sports tech program, we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of applications as entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas are looking to have the backing and support that can propel them to new heights.

As we continue to sift through the applications and narrow down our third class, we’ve graduated 20 startups that have made an immediate impact in sports technology.

Here are a few high-profile examples of our alumni who have been profiled in the media:

In addition, this past spring, we connected with our startups live and in person. The highlight was a trip we all took together to Texas to create and collaborate together and take advantage of the benefits of in-person experiences that make a program like ours so unique.

 

We recently spent time catching up and chatting with our alumni about what they’ve been working on and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Here are excerpts from those conversations and highlights of what they’re working on at the moment.

 

BookSeats.com Joseph DeMarinis, Founder and CEO

BookSeats.com simplifies the way fans travel by allowing users to book custom packages that include any combination of flights, hotels, and tickets to events around the world.

What was the best part of your time in our program?
Best part of the program was the ability to directly connect and form relationships with decision-makers from the partners and top sports properties in the world.

What is the next milestone for your business?
The next big milestone for BookSeats.com is going live with our recent partners at Golf Now and Golf Pass.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you are into these days?
Currently reading “Never Split the Difference” by Christopher Voss. It was suggested by a SportsTech team member 🙂

Any exciting updates to share with us?
Our GolfPass partnership allows fans to book custom flights, hotel, and tee time golf vacations to over 9k+ golf courses around the world.

 

XiQ Karlos Walkes, CEO, and Co-Founder

XiQ develops smart devices that replace the conventional key ignition on most non-automotive vehicles, including golf carts and construction vehicles. They enable security, fleet IoT, and mobility sharing solutions to alleviate the transportation challenges facing many communities today.
What was the best part of your time in our program?

It’s hard to compartmentalize the vast and well-integrated opportunities by identifying just one part. I’m talking about resources AND access, together at last! On top of that, layer on a solid education that rounds out a winning program designed for success. The sheer power behind this cohort staggers the imagination.

Fortunately, we’re taught how to harness this power by world-class accelerator leadership. This comes from the thoughtful and carefully crafted guidance of experienced directors, mentors, and advisors. The Comcast/NBC Universal SportsTech accelerator clearly understands one of the most fundamental sports, and life, philosophies driving competitive achievement. “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare to win!”

What is the next milestone for your business?
Our intelligence favors efficiency. Therefore we seek to achieve the following critical value propositions in our evolution.

  • Address various use cases more efficiently with one technology
  • Protect dynamic and static vehicle fleets
  • Introduce more expansive services (Certification, Mobility sharing, InsurTech, Gamification, Marketing, etc)
  • Leap into new markets such as smart city assets and building security.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you are into these days?
“Life on The Color Line” by Gregory H. Williams

Any exciting updates to share with us?
We develop our technology with a clear vision and goal, which will bring real value to people. That’s why these recent achievements will have the highest impact.

  • Seamless integration for a diverse fleet population with vehicle/machine agnostic hardware
  • User access creates new opportunities for engagement.
  • Lower cost access to data. Only pay a subscription for the online dashboard without the cost of cell charges per vehicle.
  • Future-proofing is easier since we’ve eliminated the need for SIM cards and the logistics of SIM management

HeadVantage Jay Hedley, CEO and Founder

HeadVantage visually captures the “impossible” moments and insights in sports, fused with biometric and performance data, from the athlete’s vantage point.

What was the best part of your time in our program?
Learning about the partners of the program, for example, U.S. Ski & Snowboard team, NASCAR, PGA Tour, etc, and what their challenges are, and how they thought we might be able to help them. That was very good insight.

The other aspect is the best part “after” the program has been the strong bond to our starting up and the persistent help, guidance and introductions.  That has gone beyond my expectations.

What is the next milestone for your business?
Raising capital supported by revenue deals and valuations.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you are into?
“Why Startups Fail” by Harvard Business School professor Tom Eisenmann

Any exciting updates to share with us?
Today we partnered with The Sports Maker Ltd. to help raise capital and penetrate Europe with our solution. Last month we saw the press release from Tobii, our eye tracking technology partner. Best for last…I got engaged!

Ice Cream Social Ashley Cline, Executive Vice President, Client Strategy

Ice Cream Social is a state-of-the-art social platform that helps companies turn their existing customers into brand advocates by rewarding them for inviting their friends.

What is the next milestone for your business?
While Ice Cream Social will continue to perfect word-of-mouth marketing in the digital world, its larger vision is to be the ultimate marketing optimizer. Imagine if connecting one tool to all your marketing channels, such as email, SMS, and Facebook ads could increase the performance on those channels by 10%. What could that do to a company’s bottom line? Ultimately, we’re improving marketing performance across all channels without increasing the marketing budget.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you are into these days?
I’m reading (and re-reading) a book by Price Pritchett, Ph. D., called “The Quantum Leap Strategy.” It’s opened my mind to how we approach problems and goals within our company. Price talks about a fly that continues to bang into a window repeatedly, just trying to escape to the outside. Yet, not far from this fly is an open door. It could quickly fly out but seems oblivious to this path. That’s what we often do as humans when approaching our goals or problems. We tend to take the hard way over and over again without realizing we could get there in far less time, with a fraction of the effort with the right strategy.

Dibz Brennon D’Souza, Founder, CEO

Dibz is an extremely fast upgrade experience done through text messaging, for professional sports, concerts, and music festivals. It works closely with Ticketmaster and pro leagues including the NBA, MLS, NASCAR, WWE, and the NFL.

What was the best part of being in our program?
Connecting with the key stakeholders, and working towards a pilot with a professional sports organization.

What is the next milestone for Dibz?
Locking in more trials with different sports teams, and concert venues.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you are into these days?
I’m very into ‘Startup’ podcast, talking about entrepreneurs and their startup journey.

Any exciting updates to share with us?
Working with Bell Canada for large Quebec music festivals.

“The Comcast Sports Tech Accelerator has been amazing for us. The amount of network, the amount of mentorship advisers, key industry people that they have introduced us to has been amazing and helped us really move that needle as to where we were before and where we are now.” – Brennon, CEO Dibz

Sharper Sense Charles Rodenkirch, CEO

Sharper Sense is a neurotechnology company that enhances brain function through a wearable patch that delivers targeted neural stimulation. This patch optimizes brain senses, including perception, vision, hearing, and touch. For an athlete, this neural interface enhances an athlete’s perceptual ability—leading to improved awareness and reaction times while they train and compete.

What was the best part of being in our program?
There were a lot of incredible highlights from the program, including unparalleled access to elite athletes and the immense support of Comcast NBCU. What stood out most was the high quality of all the people involved. The program did an amazing job of selecting intelligent and kind people across the mentors, athletic partners, and startups. This created a perfect environment for learning, networking, and inspiration.

What’s the next milestone for your business?
This past year Sharper Sense has been conducting pilot clinical studies of our technology in healthy adults at Cornell Tech. These studies have produced exciting results we will be releasing in the near future. Later this year we will be commencing additional studies with seniors. We are excited to start working with seniors as we hope to help them with sensory processing tasks that normally become difficult with age, such as understanding speech over background noise.

Do you have any exciting updates to share with us?
We recently published a mini-review in Frontiers in Neuroscience by our founding team discussing the exciting potential of using neuromodulation to enhance the senses. You can read that here.

“We knew the program would be something special. Yet, we were still blown away with the tailored and interactive instruction, experienced mentors, and the direct access to decision-makers at top sports groups like NASCAR and U.S. Ski & Snowboard.” – Charles Rodenkirch, CEO Sharper Sense 

LetzChat Matthew Weisman, President

LetzChat is a service that translates phone calls, text messages, and other customer interactions into another language.

What was the best part of being in our program?
The trip to Texas and the trip to Atlanta! It was great to learn, and see everyone in person to share our experiences.

What’s the next milestone for your business?
We’re working on multiple deals that we can’t disclose publicly yet.

What is a book or podcast that you’re into right now?
“Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss

Do you have any exciting updates to share with us?
We’re working on multiple deals at the moment.

Movrs Dorian Pieracci, Operator and Co-Founder

Movrs uses AI to analyze human shape and motion data and make it easier for sports and entertainment organizations to use.

What was the best part of the program?
The environment the program created was unique. An honest open ‘place’ that enabled us to learn from partners, mentors, and peers previous wins and failures.

What’s the next milestone for your business?
Big announcements about Movrs first sports experiences and a seed round.

What is a book or podcast that you’re into right now?
Lightshed Podcast, they cover the sports/entertainment/media industry… there are few people (especially over the age of 25) who can speak as passionately about a gaming platform like Roblox, snap into why the NFL’s Sunday Ticket is headed for Apple+ or Prime Video, and then transition into Comcast’s quarterly earnings in less than a minute.

Ane Swim Trish Miller, CEO

Ane Swim creates swim gear for people with ethnic hair. Ane Swim designs advanced swimming apparel for diverse swimmers and aims to eliminate the barriers that keep people from enjoying the water.

What was the best part of the program?
The best part of the program was connecting with our cohort and the sessions that we had to get to know our mentors. Months after the program I am still connected with many of the great people that I have met.

What’s the next milestone for your business?
Our next milestone is to complete our flagship product and employ our launch strategy.

What is a book or podcast that you’re into right now?
“Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life.” Even if we’ve not attended a Disney park, many of us are familiar with the intentionality of the experience that the Disney brand provides. As I am building and scaling my business there are many tips and best practices that can be learned from the Disney enterprise.

“One of the most unexpected things that has happened from the accelerator really are the deep rooted connections with the other startups and connections to the Comcast team. We know this is a lifelong relationship for our business that it will extend much further than the accelerator experience.”  – Trish Miller, CEO and Founder, Ane Swim

 

MoneyLine Cole Warner, CEO and co-founder

MoneyLine is a mobile betting app that gives fans a chance to win money more simply and creatively than ever before.

What was the best experience of your time with our sports tech program?
Our trip to Texas.

Additional press coverage that featured MoneyLine’s work: 

  • MoneyLine Bets it Can Turn Younger, More Casual Viewers Into Sports Fans – Hypepotamus
  • Finance: Betting App MoneyLine Latest Success Story from Comcast’s Sports Tech Accelerator Program – Sports Business Journal  

Are you working on some game-changing tech or do you know someone who is? We’d love to hear more about your work and perhaps there’s a good fit with our SportsTech Program.

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