Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) on Tuesday announced the five finalists for this 2019 SFIA Start-Up Challenge.
The 2019 applicant pool showcased leading innovation in the active lifestyle industry, ranging from training tools to AI-powered accessories to hard good products and equipment. The fourth annual Start-Up Challenge will kick off SFIA’s Industry Leaders Summit in Baltimore, MD, on September 25, 2019. To date, the previous 16 finalists have gone on to raise more than $140 million in funding.
(Last year’s winner, Nix Biosensors, is pictured above with SFIA staff and presenting sponsors.)
Each entrepreneur will receive 10 minutes on the main stage to pitch their new product or idea to the Industry Leaders Summit audience, consisting of industry executives, experts and investors, and a panel of distinguished judges, hand-selected from the industry. Contestants will be competing for a grand prize of $25,000 worth of digital marketing services from Empirika Media Group Inc., as well as one free year of SFIA membership. The Start-Up Challenge winner will be announced during the Awards Ceremony on the evening of Sept. 25, where they will be recognized in front of the full summit audience.
The finalists include:
- Emblem Athletic: A gear and apparel customization company using machine learning algorithms and robotic manufacturing to completely automate the process of designing and delivering a professional personalized look for every team.
- Miro: Miro AI uses computer vision to unlock consumer insights from athletes in motion.
- Perch: Perch uses computer vision and machine learning to enhance the motivation, safety and effectiveness of exercise, solving the problems of those strength training today and creating the gym of the future tomorrow.
- Slinger: Slinger is a brand focused on innovating game-improvement equipment, making tennis accessible and enjoyable to players of all ages and abilities – for new and existing players who have a difficult time finding a playing partner.
- TAU: TAU has created a new category of wearable technology that enhances fitness by elevating physiological loading on the stride, with diagnostic monitoring of performance to enable the design of deficit specific training protocols.
“The Start-Up Challenge represents the best of innovation and entrepreneurship in the sports and fitness industry,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “The Start-Up Challenge is something attendees look forward to, and we are proud to deliver intense competition, year after year. A common theme throughout this year’s applicants was the prevalence of artificial intelligence powering new start-ups, which could be a new opportunity to grow our markets and enhance the physical activity landscape.”
Not only will these talented individuals have a chance to take home the grand prize, but all finalists will be granted the opportunity to spend the two-day summit networking with potential partners and mentors in the industry, as well as build awareness of their brand. In addition, on Tuesday, Sept. 24, SFIA and the Under Armour Innovation Team will be hosting a tour of the UA Lighthouse to highlight innovation and recognize small business. The connections made at the Industry Leaders Summit provide these young start-up companies with pathways to success, as they join in on conversations and attend various presentations and panel discussions regarding the current state of the sports and fitness industry.
Photo courtesy SFIA