Sports Tech to Fuel New Accelerator

Posted: Updated:
Ryan Vaughn is president of the Indiana Sports Corp. Ryan Vaughn is president of the Indiana Sports Corp.

A group of sports organizations is making a big bet on sports tech through a three-year, multi-million-dollar partnership with a worldwide entrepreneurship network. The Indiana Sports Corp., NCAA and Pacers Sports and Entertainment are among the founding partners of a sports tech accelerator that will launch in Indianapolis with the backing of Colorado-based Techstars. Techstars SportsTech Accelerator Powered by Indy will select 10 companies from throughout the world each year to come to Indianapolis for a three-month program to push development of technology that will meet sports sector needs including fan engagement, safety and merchandising.

Indiana's Next Level Fund is also a founding partner of the program. Supporting partners include the Indianapolis Colts, Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 will serve as a kick-off event for the accelerator program. Techstars and partnering organizations will select 10 tech companies each year to take part in the program, which will be housed in the NCAA Engagement Center in Indianapolis' 16 Tech innovation district. The companies will also have the opportunity to take part in a "Demo Day" in front of some of Techstars' worldwide network of investors. Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn says, on average, about half of the companies that take part in Techstars accelerators keep some kind of presence in the city where they are accelerated.

Techstars, founded in 2006, is a Boulder-based entrepreneurship network that helps oversee 46 mentorship-driven accelerator programs. The group's portfolio includes more than 1,400 companies with a market cap of $16 billion. Vaughn says Indianapolis is a natural fit for Techstars entry into sports accelerators because the state is home to several professional teams, the NCAA, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and several sports governing bodies. It has also hosted more than 450 national and international sporting events ranging from the 2012 Super Bowl to seven NCAA Men's Final Fours.

Vaughn says the accelerator will help Indiana build a brand as a global sports technology leader. He says it will also help put the state and city on the "VC map," thanks to access to Techstars' network of more than 10,000 founders, partners, mentors and investors.

He says the initial partnership includes three one-year accelerator cycles, but he hopes the partnership will last beyond the initial agreement period.

  • Perspectives

    • What Makes Up Quality of Place?

      Economic development is a hot topic these days. With the economy continuing to chug along in robust fashion and unemployment approaching historic lows, communities are refining their objectives and priorities to eek every drop of benefit they can from these financially strong times. Nowhere is this focus greater than with “quality of place,” As cities and states think about how they can distinguish themselves from their peers, a common starting point is developing a...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Ball State Approves Room And Board Increase

      Ball State University trustees have approved a 1.6 percent room and board increase for the 2018-2019 academic year. President Geoffrey Mearns says the increase keeps the school's costs competitive while allowing it to provide modern residence halls to attract and retain top students. The average cost to live on campus for the 2017-2018 academic year is $10,032, which the school says is about $500 less than average for peer and ins-state institutions.

    • 'Fresh Energy' Keeps Bloomington Indie Music Label Moving

      After more than 20 years, a Bloomington-based music label is continuing with its mission of showcasing the independent music scene locally and globally. Secretly Group, which includes the Secretly Canadian, Dean Oceans, Jagjaguwar and The Numero Group labels, has worked over the years with artists including Grammy-winner Bon Ivar, Major Lazer, Yoko Ono and Dinosaur Jr. It has grown to include the labels, a distribution business and a presence in New York, Chicago, Austin...

    • The Amazon Effect: How Big is The Economic Impact?

      Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, increased his net worth by $6.44 billion dollars just by saying a few words. He announced the company's earnings on October 26, 2017, and Amazon stock jumped 8 percent. How are you impacted by the Amazon Effect?

    • (Image courtesy of Pat McAfee Show 2.0)

      Pat McAfee Leaves Barstool

      Less than a year after announcing its launch, former Indianapolis Colts punter-turned-media personality Pat McAfee has exited Barstool Sports. McAfee helped launch Indianapolis-based affiliate Barstool Heartland with Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, but said on his own, independent podcast that he's quitting and has not made plans for his next steps. During the first edition of "The Pat McAfee Show 2.0," McAfee said dealing with the business side...

    • St. Vincent Names Manas Regional President

      Julie Manas has been selected to serve as regional president of the St. Vincent North Region, which includes St. Vincent Anderson, Carmel, Fishers, Kokomo, Mercy, Randolph and Williamsport hospitals. She has more than 30 years of healthcare experience and most recently comes from Hospital Sisters Health System, Western Wisconsin Division, where she held the role of president and chief executive officer.