The University of Queensland is giving sports-tech innovators and entrepreneurs the chance to jump-start their careers through the successful HYPE UQ SPIN Accelerator program.
HYPE Sports Innovation – which developed the program to champion entrepreneurship and sports-tech innovation — is a global startup accelerator that provides access to mentors and investors from around the world to fast-track promising local startups onto the world stage.
Major players looking to disrupt the global sports-tech industry will be hoping to secure a spot in the three-month program.
UQ ilab Director, Bernie Woodcroft, said the opportunity connected passionate entrepreneurs with mentors from world-leading brands including the Union of European Football Associations, Nike, Adidas and the National Football League.
“The 2019 program will build on the success of last year’s entrepreneurs who made their final pitch to investors and sports influencers at the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Mr Woodcroft said.
“The inaugural HYPE UQ SPIN Accelerator cohort has gone on to raise more than $3.5 million since completing the program.”
Rob Joseph and Brodie Robinson from startup ANTI.ordinary said the program helped expand their business.
“We developed an alternative to the ski helmet – it’s a beanie that hardens on impact and returns to its relaxed form,” Rob said.
“The HYPE UQ SPIN program gave us access to individuals and knowledge throughout the sporting world that we couldn’t dream of having outside of it.
“We have really benefitted from the world-class mentorship and contacts we’ve made, and have now exceeded our funding goal of $80,000 through Kickstarter.”
Investment in sports technologies – such as digital ticketing, virtual reality simulations and wearable smart devices – has grown 30 per cent each year since 2012 and is now worth an estimated AUD$6.2 billion.
Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said the HYPE program was a great way to promote innovation in the rapidly-growing field of sports tech.
“Connecting budding sports tech entrepreneurs with leaders in the industry ensures we remain ahead of the curve,” she said.
“Queenslanders love their sport. Combined with our strong culture of entrepreneurship, I’m confident this year’s intake will develop new sport technology that will push the boundaries.
“With some of the biggest names in the sport business visiting the Gold Coast for the SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit later this year, this will help to cement our reputation as a global hub for major sporting events.”
In partnership with the Queensland Government, the 2019 program supports both residential and virtual delivery with three workshops on the St Lucia campus and a series of webinars with global experts.
Startups will compete for a $25,000 prize provided by UQ, as well as entry into Austrade’s Landing Pads program.
Applications close on 15 March, with a weekend selection boot camp at UQ’s St Lucia campus on 13 and 14 April.