Sports Tech Tokyo has announced the latest additions to its roster of sports tech companies competing for a spot in its three-month accelerator program.
Sports Tech Tokyo, a tech incubator setting up shop to introduce worldwide tech companies to the Japanese sports-venue market, announced on Tuesday the names of 36 more companies that will contend for a place in its inaugural three-month mentorship program.
Additions to the list include visual scripting company PlayerMaker; online photo printer Snapfly; customer value analytics platform Partake; Zone7, which makes artificial intelliegence-powered athlete injury predictions; and Monsterful, known for virtual reality baseball performance training technology.
In all, 150 companies will compete for the opportunity to connect with mentors, investors and corporations in the Asian sports tech industry. Ten to 20 companies will make the cut.
Fourteen companies were previously announced as competitors, including ActionStreamer, a wearable live-streaming platform; mobile data firm Jebbit; coaching platform MaxOne; Spalk, which allows content owners and broadcasters to add custom commentary for live games; and data company WaitTime. The remaining contenders will be announced in late February; applications are being accepted until Jan. 31.
Once all the companies have been selected, they will be invited to a multiday symposium in Tokyo in April. The companies that impress Sports Tech Tokyo and their partners in the program will move into the accelerator program, which will consist of webinars and events.
Ultimately, those firms will be invited to Sports Tech Tokyo’s World Demo Day event in San Francisco in August, where participants will pitch their innovations to industry leaders.
Sports Tech Tokyo launched in November as a partnership between San Francisco-based Scrum Ventures and Japanese advertising goliath Dentsu.
“We’re thrilled to announce 35 more names to the Sports Tech Tokyo competitor list,” said Michael Proman, managing director of both Sports Tech Tokyo and Scrum Ventures. “Sports in Asia is huge and the Asian sports tech market is underserved. Sports Tech Tokyo’s goal is to give companies a gateway to the highly passionate Asian sports market. The companies that get into the program will benefit from new funding opportunities and exposure in Asia.”
Mentors include Michael Shapiro, Major League Baseball’s director of innovation and venture investments; Tom Hunt, Sacramento Kings executive vice president of business management; SportTechie co-founder and CEO Taylor Bloom; Samir Desai, Equinox Fitness senior vice president and chief information officer; and Ascent.Ventures founder Jennifer Vescio.
“Sports tech is an extremely fragmented community,” Proman said. “It’s divided by geography and language, and we want to solve those problems.”
The participants are grouped into three categories: athlete performance, stadium experience and fan engagement.
“The 10 to 20 companies chosen for the incubator will be the ones that are best aligned to address the opportunities and challenges in the market,” Proman said. “Our goal here is not selecting the 10 to 20 that have raised the most capital or have the deepest client portfolio or most brand cache, but rather ensuring the best fits.”
There is no guaranteed funding for the winning companies built into the incubator, and Scrum will receive no money from it. Intellectual property of a business plan, service or product developed during the program remains with the applicant.
“We’re looking at this big picture,” Proman said. “This will give us visibility into sectors we want to make investments in. We’re also building a sports tech community and bringing together the best and brightest and that will come back to us in some way.”
Proman also pointed out that the program model can be copied for all other countries in Asia.
“Right now, Japan is really top of mind in sports conversations,” Proman said. “But this type of accelerator program can work in many other Asian markets like Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore.”
Major sporting events to be held in Japan soon include the 2019 Rugby World Cup, to be played at 12 stadiums across the country, and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.