“Sports have withstood recessions in the past, but nothing can withstand COVID 100 percent,” Jenna Kurath, Vice President of Accelerator Operations & Partnerships at Comcast, told Hypepotamus.
That meant pivoting the inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator. Originally slated to open in Atlanta, into the remote setting.
Today, the accelerator announced that 10 startups from across the country have been selected to join the cohort, designed to help founders transform fan experiences, sports streaming, and smart devices for athletes.
“When sports went on pause, we didn’t go on pause. And the applications didn’t go on pause either,” Kurath told Hypepotamus. The program received over 1,000 startup founders’ applications for ultimately 10 spots.
Kurath said that change to a virtual accelerator program helped the team think more strategically about how the accelerator’s partners could best form strategic opportunities for participants.
NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Golf, NASCAR, U.S. Ski and Snowboard, USA Cycling, USA Swimming, and Comcast Ventures have come on to mentor the ten selected startups.
“At Comcast NBCUniversal, sports, entertainment, and technology are central to what we do across our streaming, broadband, and aggregation businesses. Our inaugural SportsTech accelerator brings together this focus with our long tradition of working with founders and startups,” said Sam Schwartz, Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast Cable, in a statement. “In collaboration with our partners who represent some of the strongest brands in sports, we are excited to mentor and learn from these founders and see how their technologies can drive innovation in the sports and entertainment industry.”
Atlanta’s SportsTech Represents
Despite the fact that founders will not be gathering at The Battery, Atlanta is still well represented. Two out of the ten startups selected for the cohort are Atlanta-based teams.
XiQ is developing smart devices to secure non-automotive vehicles such as golf carts.
Ane Swim is creating apparel designed for diverse swimmers. Founder Trish P. Miller said in a video that she is excited for the opportunity to work with USA Swimming to help bring more diversity to swimming.
Other Southeast-based startups include nVenue out of Dallas and San Antonio-based The Sonar Company.
Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator Selects 2 Atlanta Companies For Inaugural Cohort