Twelve startup teams will be vying for victory during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast after being selected for The University of Queensland’s inaugural global HYPE UQ SPIN Lab sports innovation program.
The program to champion sports entrepreneurship and sportstech innovation was developed by HYPE Foundation — a global startup accelerator that provides access to mentors and investors to fast-track promising local startups onto the world stage.
The inaugural HYPE UQ SPIN Lab program attracted 94 applications from startups around Australia and from far afield as India, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand.
UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Iain Watson said Sportstech innovation was exploding around the world, changing the ways athletes train and fans interact, and creating opportunities for new products and business models.
“Through our partnership with the HYPE Foundation, UQ can provide sports-targeted startups with guidance, offering them opportunities to accelerate their businesses and potentially make an impact on the world of sports,” Professor Watson said.
“The ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments placed UQ 5th in the world in 2017 and we believe this partnership and program further entrenches our international reputation.
“Out of the 94 initial applications, 26 startups were selected to attend a bootcamp at UQ where they received mentoring, attended workshops and pitched their ideas to a selection committee that chose 12 businesses to take part in the program.”
The first intake of startups will now begin the HYPE UQ SPIN Lab program – a training program for startups – where they will get expert mentorship and learn how to nourish and grow their businesses to take them to the next level.
Which startups have been selected?
The HYPE UQ SPIN Lab cohort are:
- BioConnected – wireless headphones with a built in heart rate monitor and in-ear training coach
- FanTribe – a fan engagement platform set to transform the business of sport
- Eggplant Technologies – markers of ‘Move It’ – the world’s first all-in-one connected personal gym that can track your real-time workout progress on your smartphone
- JARO Sports – the online ecosystem for sporting organisations. It dramatically simplifies the administration, coaching and marketing processes – giving a new level of visibility and control
- Lightweave – An experiential agency delivering licensable virtual reality and augmented reality experiences
- ARRIVAL – bringing the fan into the game using augmented reality to visualise player and team statistics while engaging fans with gamification
- Sportido – helps people play more sport using a sports discovery app to find places and people to play 700+ sports around them
- ANTI. – developing the world’s first truly soft, snow helmet
- Coach Assist – provides coaching strategies, tactics, and drills for AFL and Netball coaches and players
- Jetson Industries – combines the latest in Internet of Things technology to make smart balls that offer multiple sports the opportunity to record information such as ball speed, position and spin
- PROHAB – a sensor to measure strength in real-time for athletes rehabilitation using a smartphone
- Wylas Timing – an affordable wireless timing solution that every club can access
UQ ilab startup accelerator Director Bernie Woodcroft said the first cohort would showcase their HYPE UQ SPIN Lab projects at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“The program culminates in an event at the Commonwealth Games where the teams will pitch and exhibit their businesses to a selected audience,” Mr Woodcroft said.
“Aside from competing for the $25,000 in prize money for the winning project, these entrepreneurs will have the extraordinary opportunity to present and connect with investors and sports business ecosystem stakeholders.”
What does this mean for HYPE?
He said the HYPE Foundation had created the fastest growing global ecosystem for sports innovation, with more than 2000 sports and technology brand leaders, 26,000 members and 8000 sport startups and 500 investors globally.
“Innovations from the HYPE network include fan engagement applications, health and bioinformatics, retail and ticketing, augmented reality, wearables and sensors, artificial intelligence, eSports and real-time decision making.”
Acting Innovation Minister Shannon Fentiman said the high quality of international applicants seeking to take part in the inaugural HYPE UQ SPIN Lab was clear recognition of Queensland’s reputation as a world leader in the field of sports science.
“Queensland has long held a reputation for producing world-class sports stars. With the HYPE UQ SPIN Lab, we’ll grow our reputation as a producer of world-class sports startups,” she said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is providing funding support for SPIN Lab’s accelerator to be run annually from The University of Queensland through the $513 million Advance Queensland initiative to drive innovation and support business growth.”
The HYPE SPIN Lab concept was launched in September 2017 in Spain at the home ground of global football giants Barcelona FC.
The four SPIN Lab partners worldwide are UQ, Loughborough University (UK), San Jose State University (USA), and The University of Trento and Trentino Sviluppo (Italy).