The first third of the Sports Tech Tokyo incubator class has been announced. Venture capital firm Scrum Ventures, via its innovation arm Scrum Studios, and Japanese firm Dentsu released 36 companies (see the full list below), along with a previously announced 14 companies.
With 15 countries represented among program applicants, Scrum Managing Director Michael Proman said the program so far is achieving its goal to help bring an eclectic group of sports technology to Japan.
“It’s about bringing the world together,” Proman said. “It’s really gratifying to see the response. The sports technology community is very vibrant, but also very fragmented, and our goal is to unite that community in the same way Tokyo will be bringing the world together in the coming years.”
Tokyo is just the starting point for the mission, largely because of the upcoming Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics.
Eventually, Proman said the format could be stretched across Asia, including China (host of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games) and Korea (the host of last year’s Winter Olympics), as it has “broad-based application throughout the region.” The program is also meant to act as a gateway for the sports tech community into Asia.
The kickoff event for Sports Tech Tokyo will be in April with 10 to 20 “finalists” being announced after the initial event in Tokyo. From there, the finalists will work with partner companies and participate in a virtual incubator of sorts, with periodical opportunities to connect in-person with relevant audiences.
“We want to be an arrow in a quiver,” Proman said. “We don’t want to be the quiver. That’s why I think it’s attractive to mid- and late-stage companies. It doesn’t require them to reprioritize business objectives like many accelerator programs.
“It’s not a distraction, but an incremental value add. It’s about supporting their business development efforts in APAC — particularly Japan — because of the partners we’re bringing to the table.”
The selection process of the Sports Tech Tokyo participants is being aided by a mentor community of nearly 60 professionals, with executives coming from teams, leagues, brands, technology companies, and venture capital firms.
“We are able to engage that community in the selection and understand their pain points and what tech excites them,” Proman said. “That’s hugely beneficial.”
Another 100 companies will be announced later this winter, as the application deadline passes at the end of the month. Proman said the application is designed to take less than 20 minutes as its heavily influenced by outbound recruitment.
The initial 50 announced companies are meant to showcase the diversity of the program, not only in regionality and focus, but also stage. Proman said the hopes are to help develop a new idea of technology accelerators. There is no equity investment in the companies.
“These are companies that would not traditionally apply to an accelerator in a classic sense,” he said. “These are companies that see value in the themes of community, relationship building, and revenue generation. We want to make sure the first 50 and next 100 are representative of all stages and multiple countries.”
The Sports Tech Tokyo companies are as follows (listed alphabetically by category):
Drivn Coaching Platform (Boston, United States)
KINDUCT Technologies (Halifax, Canada)
Kitman Labs (Palo Alto, United States)
Omegawave OY (Espoo, Finland)
PlayerMaker (London, United Kingdom)
Vision Pursue (Chicago, United States)
Zone7 (Tel Aviv, Israel)
IdealSeat (Seattle, United States)
Maestro Interactive (Culver City, United States)
Miro AI (Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Motionloft (San Francisco, United States)
MVP Interactive (Philadelphia, United States)
Partake (Dallas, United States)
Snapify (London, United Kingdom)
Alive5 (Houston, United States)
BCaster USA (Palo Alto, United States)
DataPOWA (London, United Kingdom)
Influencer(INFLCR) (Birmingham, United States)
InSoundz (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Lea (Live Event Assistant) (San Francisco, United States)
Locomizer (London, United Kingdom)
Matcherino (Seattle, United States)
Mimic XR (London, United Kingdom)
Monsterful (New York City, United States)
OpenSponsorship (New York City, United States)
Pixellot (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Play Impossible Corp (Seattle, United States)
Rival.ai Esports Technologies (Toronto, Canada)
Sport50.com (Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
SportsCastr (New York City, United States)
SportsMe (Boston, United States)
The Relish Media Group (San Francisco, United States)
Thuuz Sports (Palo Alto, United States)
WePlayed (Boston, United States)
WHAM Network (Los Angeles, United States)
WSC Sports Technologies (Tel Aviv, Israel)
The first wave of 14 companies are: Halo Neuroscience, Nix Biosensors, Prevent Biometrics, MaxOne, Baseline Vision, D-ID, WaitTime, Spalk, Jebbit, Pico, ActionStreamer, TicketStreet, ookami and Paranoid Fan.