HYPE Capital has announced the launch of a $75m sports innovation fund which will aim to unearth the next technological sporting breakthrough.
HYPE will attempt to utilize its 12-fold global accelerator network which hosts more than 40,000 members and more than 10,000 sports startups including businesses and organizations focused on eSports, AI, fan engagement monetization, VR and performance analytics.
The platform will aim to uncover the next technological sporting breakthrough, such as the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR) in a number of national leagues and international competitions across the soccer world.
"Once we reach our funding target, we will support the next unicorns of sports innovation, aiming to capitalize on emerging technology," said HYPE Capital Fund Uli Becker, former CMO of Adidas and president of German Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart. "We already have vast experience promoting startups in our ecosystem, with 40% of firms in the London accelerator raising money through our program."
In order to reduce risk, former Reebok president Bernd Wahler, chairman of HYPE Sports Innovation, said that the fund's investment strategy would see it "only work with elite startups, whom we know personally and are part of our deal flow".
"Once we get them onboard, we connect them to corporations in our accelerator program, giving them an outstanding global platform," Wahler remarked.
"Sports tech is a fast-moving industry with thousands of companies worldwide and billions of dollars invested over the past five years," he added. "We are working to take this sector's strongest startups to the next level and to invite industry experts onto their advisory boards."