The first annual Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator, powered by Boomtown Accelerators, today announced the 10 startups participating in the program earned 16 pilots or partnerships after showcasing their innovative solutions during this year’s virtual Demo Day. Several of the world’s leading venture capitalists, startup founders, business executives, media and other top decision-makers in the broader sports and technology community participated in the event, which is the culmination of a three-month, intensive program to help take the participants’ businesses and ideas to the next level.
This year’s cohort of startups, chosen from a pool of over one thousand applicants across 70 countries, worked with experts from Comcast NBCUniversal and Boomtown Accelerators, to sharpen their business models, gain valuable connections and insights, and refine pitches to potential investors and clients.
One of the unique factors of the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator is that founders receive direct access to the accelerator’s illustrious partner consortium, which includes experts from NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Golf, Comcast Spectacor, NASCAR, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, USA Cycling, and USA Swimming. Each sports partner provides individualized mentorship to at least one startup throughout the Accelerator. This intimate connection helps founders form deeper industry relationships while developing an understanding for how their solutions address customer needs while more easily integrating into business operations.
“Sports, entertainment and technology are core to our businesses at Comcast NBCUniversal. This SportsTech accelerator helps us and our partners identify, improve and implement new products and experiences for sports fans and viewers around the world,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable. “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.”
Founders also participated in a custom curriculum focused on fundraising, sales, marketing and branding, product design, mental health, company culture, go to market strategy, and working at enterprise scale. They also met with seasoned startup founders who shared their insights on starting, growing, and selling highly successful businesses.
Jenna Kurath, Vice President, Startup Partner Development and Head of SportsTech, led the startup teams as they worked with industry leaders from Comcast NBCUniversal as well as strategic advisors from the Boomtown network and the partner consortium, including Will McIntosh, Executive Vice President, Digital and Sports Consumer Business, NBC Sports Group; Lora Dennis, Senior Vice President, Digital Media NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations; Steve McElwee, Chief Technology Officer, Digital Sports and Sports Consumer Business at NBC Sports; Craig Neeb, Chief Innovation Officer of NASCAR, Sam Ebb, Vice President, Business Strategy & Analytics, Comcast Spectacor; Troy Taylor, Director of High Performance, US Ski & Snowboard; Bouker Pool, Chief Commercial Officer, USA Cycling; and Jim Fox, Director of Partnership Marketing, USA Swimming.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, founders participated in the accelerator remotely from cities across the globe including Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Toronto, and Geneva, Switzerland. In the future, each company will have the opportunity to work at Comcast NBCUniversal’s Central Division Innovation Center in Atlanta at Truist Park, which overlooks the Atlanta Braves stadium.
The Virtual Demo Day is at 5 p.m. ET today and can be accessed at https://demoday.comcastsportstech.com.
Applications are now open for the 2022 class. For those interested in applying to join the next Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator program and to learn more about the accelerator’s eight focus areas: media and entertainment, fan/player engagement, athlete/player performance, team and coach success, venue and event innovation, fantasy sports and betting, esports, and the business of sports, visit www.comcastsportstech.com.
Meet the 2021 class of the Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator, powered by Boomtown:
Ane Swimwear - Atlanta, GA
Ane Swimwear designs advanced swimming apparel for diverse swimmers and aims to eliminate the barriers that keep people from enjoying the water. The Ane Swimwear product provides hair protection and the ability to keep hair completely dry so that everyone can enjoy the freedom of swimming. The company is working closely with SportsTech partner, USA Swimming and their Team BLAC (Black Leadership in Aquatics Coalition) initiative as part of a long-term partnership focus. The SportsTech Accelerator has also made valuable introductions to representatives of several global manufacturers to advance product design, testing, and development.
Dibz, Toronto, Canada
For event venues that have unsold seat inventory, Dibz provides a text messaging solution for guests to instantly upgrade their seats. The company is working closely with SportsTech partner, Comcast Spectacor, on exploring the feasibility of a pilot and collectively working to identify key areas of opportunity within the professional sports marketplace. Additionally, Spectacor made an introduction to Spectra Venue Management who manages over 400 global properties where Dibz is scoping a multi-venue trial. Dibz's participation in the SportsTech Accelerator has also led to valuable discussions with NASCAR, the Atlanta Braves, and several other major sporting leagues, teams, and venues.
Eon Media, Toronto, Canada
Eon Media’s flagship solution allows broadcasters to detect logos in real-time during a live game and generate accurate brand exposure data across the arena, players and gear, graphic overlays, and commercial breaks generating accurate ROI measurement. After a successful POC, the company has been tapped for a 3-month pilot trial later this year with SportsTech partner, US Ski & Snowboard, to provide insights into brand sponsorship monetization opportunities. Additionally, Eon is in advanced discussions with additional Olympic partners including USA Swimming and USA Cycling. Likewise, this real-time brand recognition technology benefits numerous Comcast NBCUniversal & Sky brands such as GOLF, Comcast Spectacor and Sky Sports.
GlobalM, Geneva, Switzerland
GlobalM provides broadcast quality mobile streaming solutions to media outlets and broadcasters featuring an internet based secure video streaming network that meets all the requirements for reliable high-quality, low-latency LIVE or file-based video delivery. The company is currently testing with both the NBCLX Network and with US Ski and Snowboard for events that are planned for May. Additionally, GlobalM is exploring a pilot with the Golf Channel to support an upcoming broadcast this summer and is making relationship inroads with USA Cycling, NBC Sports, and NASCAR for possible opportunities.
nVenue, Dallas, Texas
Real-time predictive analytics designed for fan engagement that points the fan to the live game, nVenue’s AI/ML software delivers powerful play-by-play insights that can inform and improve the broadcast and fan experience before each play. The company conducted a live game trial with NBC Sports executives in May to test the predictive analytics capabilities and show the abilities of live game play that is focused on what is about to happen versus what has happened. From this success, nVenue is working with NBC Sports to further enhance future experiences and the potential data use by on-air-talent during broadcasts.
Safety Skin, Cleveland, Ohio
Safety Skin develops and sells reflective skin and body care products to help cyclists, runners, and others prevent accidents and improve roadside safety. The company has a long-term agreement in principle with USA Cycling to be a part of their membership activation allowing for promotion and sales of Safety Skin’s Reflective Spread to members. Additionally, Safety Skin is working with other athletic groups such as runners and triathletes to expand their presence even further. During the program Safety Skin saw an 81% increase in sales month over month.
Sharper Sense, New York, New York
Sharper Sense is wearable neurotechnology that enhances vision, hearing, and touch to improve athletes’ performance and safety during training and competition. The company is developing a game plan with US Ski & Snowboard to partner for human trials and also engaging with additional SportsTech partners GOLF and NASCAR, to better understand the nuances of the sports’ athletes.
The Sonar Company, San Antonio, Texas
The Sonar Company uses proprietary ultrasonic tone technology to transmit and receive data, interactions, beacons, and messages between devices in locations where traditional wireless communication is impossible or impractical. The company conducted multiple POC tests with SportsTech partner, Comcast Spectacor, to prove the technology in the Wells Fargo Center, and to explore potential living room experiences during a Philadelphia Flyers game, while simultaneously conducting a similar test with other professional sports teams. The excitement around the traction and success gained during the Accelerator program prompted the Sonar Company's board to authorize a capital raise which has, thus far, raised committed capital for over 90% of the total desired.
StreamRecap, Los Angeles, CA
StreamRecap, a RIOT Games partner, builds video solutions for the booming market of eSports teams, leagues, and streamers with a focus on instant, automatic highlights and coaching tools. The company is working with NBC Sports’ SportsEngine youth sports platform to develop a potential “league in a box” solution to support the growth and development of parent-friendly youth eSports programs.
XiQ, Atlanta, GA
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. Through SportsTech, the company has successfully completed a phase 1 pilot with NASCAR, installing their FleetQi devices on NASCAR-owned golf cart assets as well as leased assets from NASCAR partners Americrown / National Carts, that manage significant portions of the NASCAR fleets. Now entering phase 2 of the pilot, XiQ is layering in never-before-seen user data management for the cart fleet throughout Q2 of 2021.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
About Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech
Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech is a 12-week accelerator program, run in partnership with Boomtown Accelerators, that features an unprecedented partnership of four of Comcast NBCUniversal’s sports brands - NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Golf Channel, and Comcast Spectacor – alongside NASCAR and three US Olympic sports organizations: U.S. Ski & Snowboard, USA Swimming, and USA Cycling. This partnership brings an early lens into innovation solutions, exclusive access to research and business insights, and differentiated value to Comcast’s media rights relationships. The program brings creative solutions to the partner consortium and to market through the lens of eight core investment categories: Media & Entertainment; Fan/Player Engagement; Athlete/Player Performance; Team & Coach Success; Venue & Event Innovation; Fantasy Sports & Betting; esports; and the Business of Sports. Learn more at www.Comcastsportstech.com for more information.