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The Sun Devil Athletics Venture Challenge provides mentorship and grant opportunities for sports technology start-ups




Photo by Alex Cook | State Press

On Thursday, October 25, 2018, Jeff Knowski, lead venture mentor and co-founder of ASU’s Global Sports Venture Development Program, stands in front of the Global Sports Institute at the ASU Sky Song Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. ..

By Avianna Hoppes | February 18, 2021 8:05 pm

Sun Devil Athletics has partnered with ASU’s Global Sport Institute and J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute to launch a new venture program for small sports start-ups.

This program, called the Sun Devil Athletics Venture Challenge, pairs mentors with each participating company. Mentors help companies develop and complete. This process also gives entrepreneurs access to resources and the opportunity to use the product at Sun Devil Athletics facilities. Winners can receive up to $ 25,000 and the number of winners is undecided.

Program registration begins on January 15th and ends on March 1st. As the end of the challenge, the startup will take part in a live pitch contest on April 30th at ASUS Demo Day.

Jeff Kunowski, Associate Director of the Innovation Program at the Global Sport Institute and J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, will take on the challenge. He has previously worked on similar projects in collaboration with groups such as Phoenix Rising FC and Adidas.

Kunowski said he undertook a project that would provide a starting point for new ideas in the sports world, and Sun Devil Athletics is looking for new and innovative ideas to incorporate into the program.

I think it benefits both sides, and that’s what we like about this, Kunowski said.

In the fall of 2020, the Global Sports Institute launched a similar program for more than 74 applicants. The institute awarded a total of $ 16,000 to the eight winners.

One of the winners of the previous program was Wager Champs, a risk-free sports betting website, which was awarded $ 1,000.

Rayan Vatti, a graduate student who is the founder of Wager Champs and is studying digital audience strategy, said the funding provided will be of great help as it will allow the website to operate and maintain for at least a year.

Sun Devil Athletics has partnered with the Global Sport Institute and the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute to focus on startups that offer products that fit the world of athletics. Companies need to figure out how to incorporate their ideas into their SDA programs. These groups also have a long history of working together.

It was an idea that came from our partnership, Knowski said.

The contest’s online application is open to all startups, not just ASU students. Applicants need to answer questions about the pitch and explain the structure of the company.

If your company has it, you also submit a pitch deck. Not all companies have one, but ours did, said Danny Harris, founder of GMDY.

Selected applicants will be assigned a mentor to assist in the final planning of the live pitch in April. Winners receive grants for business development.

Harris said I was really excited to be selected as one of the participating companies through the application process.

Editor’s Note: Rayan Vatti previously worked for The State Press but did not contribute to the reporting or editing of this article.

Clarification: This article has been updated to show that Wager Champs is a risk-free sports betting website, not a sports betting website.

Contact the reporter at [email protected] and follow @aviannahoppes on Twitter.

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