ASU and Innovation Partners Announce 2021 Global Sport Venture Challenge Winners

The Global Sport Institute and the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute at Arizona State University, adidas, Global Sports Venture Studio and Coalition Venture Studio have named four winners for their 2021 Global Sport Venture Challenge.

First place: TIMEOUT was awarded $15,000 and follow up mentorship from GSVS, Coalition, and adidas. Timeout is a HIPAA protected digital health platform that connects athletes to on-demand in person and virtual mention health resources and updates care team members with real time triaging. The app was created by Maya McClendon, a star on the Sun Devil volleyball team before she graduated in 2017.

Second place: Conscious Gear was awarded $10,000 and follow up mentorship from GSVS, Coalition, and adidas. Conscious Gear provides outerwear and outdoor gear for plus-size, big and tall outdoor enthusiasts and endurance athletes.

Third place: Get Gifted was awarded $5,000 and follow up mentorship from GSVS, Coalition, and adidas. Gifted provides small to medium size businesses, and anyone on social media monetizing their online fanbases, a platform to interact and engage in brand deals.  Michael Matus, who co-founded this venture, currently plays for the Sun Devil football team.

Special recognition: VBA America will receive mentorship from GSVS, Coalition, and adidas. VBAmerica is a volleyball lifestyle clothing brand for volleyball enthusiasts to sport their passion around the world.  Kate Fitzgerald is the founder and currently plays on the Sun Devil beach volleyball team.

The Global Sport Venture Challenge is part of ASU’s broader Venture Devils program which aims to engage, mentor and fund founders who are actively working toward problem-solution and product-market fit. This year’s judges were Davyeon Ross, entrepreneur in residence from Coalition Venture Studio; Sterling J. Douglas, program director at Coalition Venture Studio and Karina Bohn, chief operating officer at the Global Sport Institute.

“The Global Sport Venture Challenge provides start-up funding to entrepreneurs focused on human performance, sustainability, social impact, fan engagement, physical and mental health and wellness, fitness, esports and sports betting,” said Jeff Kunowski, Associate Director of Innovation Programs at the Global Sport Institute. “We were very impressed with all the applicants and look forward to seeing how their ideas progress. They are all innovative, creative and passionate about what they do.”

All finalists were provided access to virtual workshops focused on brand development provided by Global Sports Venture Studio, a platform that brings together the world’s leading sports organizations to collaborate with cutting edge startups and bring the future of the fan and athlete experience to life. The Global Sport Venture Challenge also aims to empower diverse founders through its partnership with the Coalition Venture Studio.

“It’s encouraging to see the impact ASU x Coalition x GSVS have had on this semester’s cohort of founders and finalists. We look forward to continuing to expand our partnership with ASU in the coming year ahead.” said Davyeon Ross, EIR of the Coalition Venture Studio.

The next venture challenge opportunity will take place in Spring 2022 with the Sun Devil Athletics Venture Challenge. Applicants do not need to be affiliated with Arizona State University to apply.

The Global Sport Institute is where diverse disciplines converge to thoughtfully examine critical issues impacting sport. As a cross-disciplinary enterprise, the institute’s efforts are integrated throughout the entire university — from engineering to sociology, to the athletic department and beyond — rather than within a single concentration. With an emphasis on expanding research, sharing knowledge, supporting innovation and advancing education, the institute’s mission is to use sport to create positive change throughout the world. Through its partnership with the J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute, the Institute offers start-ups access to an extensive array of curriculum, workshops, advisors, funding and other university resources.

The J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute serves as a premiere connecting and collaborating conduit across Arizona State University, the greater Phoenix community, nationwide and throughout the world. The Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute helps propel entrepreneurial aspirations by way of opportunities to explore, share, test and advance ideas. As a central source of information, resources and people, engaging with the Edson E+I Institute is to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, engage with global and local events and communities, and launch an idea through mentoring, funding, spaces and commercialization.

The Global Sports Venture Studio brings together leaders from the world’s leading sports organizations to engage with the sports innovation ecosystem. Our partners–including Angel City FC, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fox Sports, LAFC, Levy Restaurants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, UEFA, the USTA, and Verizon–are actively working together to drive growth in the sports industry by identity, develop, and deploy new athlete and fan-focused innovations through pilots, investments, and the development of new products, services, and technologies.

The Coalition Venture Studio is an ongoing initiative designed to support Black founders with expertise, resources, funding, connections, and education. Our partners-including IPG, Los Angeles Dodgers, Silicon Valley Bank, Gingerbread Capital, and more-are actively working together to create a more equitable startup ecosystem by providing Black startup founders with access to venture capital, creative capital, and network of corporate partners and clients.

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