New sports tech startup backed by IEDC

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A new state-backed firm could create opportunities for Indiana to attract companies hoping to make a mark in the growing sports technology space.

SportsTech HQ Inc. will receive $2.26 million over two years as part of the state’s effort to grow Indiana’s influence and impact in the sports tech industry, giving the state a new way to market itself.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp., which is backing the effort with a 21st Century Fund grant, expects the initiative to generate new investment and innovation opportunities for the state—both on its own and through potential partnerships with existing incubators like Techstars Sports.

The SportsTech HQ endeavor is being helmed by Zionsville-based developer and entrepreneur Chad Pittman. He could not immediately be reached for comment about how the effort came together.

The entity plans to generate revenue longterm through memberships, esports events, event sponsorships, matching grants and in-kind contributions, according to documents filed with the IEDC.

Luke Bosso, chief of staff for the IEDC said in a statement the agency’s board approved the two-year grant for SportsTech HQ “to position Indiana as a thought leader in the growing field of sports technology by cultivating a vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurship, investment and innovation around sports tech.”

He said the initiative is meant to build on the state’s strong history of sports-related endeavors and entities, including the IndyCar and its teams; the Indiana Sports Corp. and various sport-governing bodies; the state’s familiarity with major sporting events; and the recent effort by TechStars to bring sports technology to the fore.

“As a state, we are uniquely positioned to leverage these assets alongside our robust network of entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors to make Indiana a leader in the sports tech economy and to be the center of new advancements that will propel business and human performance forward for years to come,” he said. “We are still in the early stages of building out this initiative and will have more updates to share in the future.”

According to its filing with the state, SportsTech HQ hopes to secure office space by October that can be operated as an innovation hospitality center, exhibition space and even as an incubator for companies to “promote purposeful engagement at the nucleus of the SportsTech community.”

In addition to offering its own space, SportsTech HQ would coordinate relationships between startups and innovation labs or other tech partners and provide networking opportunities. The business also plans to work closely with the IEDC during the two-year grant period on marketing materials that will showcase the state’s offerings in the field.

SportsTech HQ plans to focus on four key areas for business attraction: fan engagement, athlete performance, team management and event management. Each area presents its own set of opportunities, according to the company’s proposal to the agency.

For example, fan engagement, includes wearable technology like augmented and virtual reality; athlete performance could include medical tools; and team and event management would encompass scheduling, data collection and analytics.

In its proposal, SportsTech HQ said it will focus on being recognized as a “global thought leader” in sports technology, by forging the correct relationships and taking an approach to “secure the right company cultivation, attraction and retention profile.”

After the grant is completed, SportsTech HQ is expected to be able to operate on its own, without any additional funding from the state.

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