US startup accelerator Techstars is coming to Melbourne with a focus on sport thanks to LaunchVic, Tennis Australia and Victoria University.
The Techstars SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator will be based at Tennis Australia’s Melbourne Park HQ at its media centre.
The mentorship-driven accelerator will run for 13 weeks programs, taking in 10 startups annually.
Founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2006 by co-CEOs David Cohen to David Brown, Techstars now backs around 300 startups a year with its program and a US$120,000 investment. The accelerator’s portfolio now has more than 1,900 companies with combined market cap of $22 billion.
The Melbourne venture is just the second sportstech accelerator launched by the company and the first international one in a sector predicted to be worth US$93.8b globally by 2027.
Tennis Australia Head of Innovation Dr Machar Reid, said it was a first for the organisation and Australian sport.
“It’s going to be an incredibly exciting couple of years for Tennis Australia as we get set to welcome startups from around the world, all with the aim to better the world of sport and how we do things at Tennis Australia and the Australian Open,” he said.
The accelerator will support startups across different sectors, businesses, and at different stages, providing mentorship from Tennis Australia and Victoria University experts, as well as other industry leaders.
The initial program will run from March to June 2020, culminating in a Demo Day where startups will pitch their accelerated business models to investors and industry leaders.
Sam Roberston, Associate Professor of Sports Analytics at Victoria University, said the deal has the potential to transform the sports technology sector.
“It connects VU, a leading sport university, with future-minded, progressive organisations such as Tennis Australia and Techstars – all in one of the world’s great sporting cities, Melbourne,” he said.
Applications for the 2020 Techstars SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator will open in September.