SD Sport Innovators (SDSI) honored Hookit and VerifiR as the winners of its inaugural SDSI Star Brand Award and $5,000 cash prize on June 7, 2016 at the SDSI Capital Forum held at the Challenged Athlete Foundation.

The SDSI Capital Forum & Star Brand Award presented by KPMG and Saltus Capital Consultants, celebrates the courageous and dedicated entrepreneurs who take the risk of bringing new products, services and ideas into the Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL) market. It provides a platform for the SAL investment community to see and evaluate emerging SAL businesses.

Six up-and-coming SAL companies presented their business opportunities to a panels of celebrity investor judges and an intimate room of investors at the forum.  The judges included:

  • Bill Walton, basketball legend & SDSI Chairman;
  • Tony Finn, “Godfather of Wakeboarding” & founder of Liquid Force;
  • Beaver Theodosakis, founder of Prana; and
  • Robert Reynolds, Director at Park Lane sports investment bank.


SDSI Chairman and NBA legend Bill Walton

SDSI Chairman and NBA legend Bill Walton

“All six of the presenting companies were over the top exemplary,” said Walton.  “They made it overwhelmingly difficult to select just one winner – so we selected two.  Ultimately, they are all winners and well prepared for their future success! What a night! I wish everything in my life could be just like the SDSI Capital Forum and Star Brand Awards – let’s do some more of that”

Rather than break a tie, thanks to SDSI’s generous sponsors, VerifiR and Hookit were named co-winners of the Star Brand Award and each company took home a $5,000 check. The event emcees were Sully Sullivan and Russ T. Nailz, co-hosts of the Big Biz Show.

“The team at Hookit is honored to have received this award recognizing the efforts we have put into building Hookit to where it is today,” said Scott Tilton, CEO and co-founder of Hookit, a platform for athletes to track their progression, build their personal brand and earn recognition and deals.  “Our involvement with SDSI over the years and programs like SDSI Springboard have been a real inspiration and provides incredible support to emerging companies here in San Diego.”

VerifiR provides  Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags manufacturers can embed in their products to help consumers distinguish between counterfeit and authentic goods.

Presenting companies included: Aculief, Advntur, Hookit, LALO, SkateXS and VerifiR.  All presenting companies were vetted by and graduates of SDSI Springboard, a 20-week business mentoring program that helps prepare companies for sustainable and scalable growth.  SDSI Springboard is now accepting applications through June 26.

SDSI is a nonprofit business development organization committed to making San Diego the capital of the SAL industry. Since 2009 SDSI Springboard has graduated 61 companies, which have raised $47.5 million in capital funding and 390 jobs and 89 of which are still in business. SDSI represents over 90 SAL companies. The sum of our members’ businesses represent the “San Diego Lifestyle”.