Second Year Of Dodgers-R/GA Accelerator Looks To Firms More Prepared To Scale

Sports Business Journal

The Dodgers and R/GA Ventures have selected five companies for the second version of their L.A. Dodgers Sports Accelerator program, with this year’s class focused on growth-state entities. The program again seeks to develop companies operating within emerging areas of sports technology or media. But while the initial set of 10 companies last year involved firms at varying stages of development, the smaller group chosen this year are beyond initial start-up phases and are more prepared to scale operations. Dodgers CFO Tucker Kain said, “We narrowed our focus this year, both in terms of size of the class and where the companies were in their growth cycle. We will be able to affect change and impact their trajectories a little quicker, and have a path to market that is more clearly defined and executable.” The companies chosen this year are:

* Greenfly — Platforms for sourcing and managing video from high-value content creators.
* Keemotion — Automated sports video production
* ShotTracker — real-time analytics for basketball teams,
* Renegade Brands — A “next-gen” sports detergent specifically engineered to address stains and odors common in sports apparel and gear.
* WSC Technologies — real-time sharing of personalized and fan-based sports videos.

SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST: Like last year, the selection of the five companies this time followed the submission of hundreds of applications from around the world. Kain called the selection of Renegade, which produces the Sweat X line of sports laundry detergent, “eye-opening,” but another opportunistic area where the Dodgers and R/GA could be a disruptor. Several of the other chosen firms have products and services targeted toward automated digital content production and distribution that are particularly suitable for the lower levels of the sports industry. “There is a lot of potential for several of these companies at the college and youth markets, where there is a lot of opportunity for scale,” Kain said. The program officially begins today out of R/GA’s L.A. office, and the five companies will present at an invitation-only demo event in early November. “We will spend more time on developing pilots, on things like branding, messaging, marketing, and market strategies since these companies are each further along,” said R/GA Ventures Managing Dir and R/GA Global COO Stephen Plumlee. Specific funding for the five companies was not disclosed, but Kain said the outlays were in excess of last year’s program, which involved an average of $120,000 for each firm in exchange for up to 6% of equity. Kain: “We have stepped up the levels of engagement.”

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The Dodgers and R/GA, meanwhile, continue to work with the initial class of 10 Accelerator companies. In particular, Kinduct’s solutions for measuring health, fitness and human performance are being used at Dodger Stadium, and Appetize’s point-of-sale system recently won a contract for the new Vikings’ facility, U.S. Bank Stadium. The Dodgers will also be participating in forthcoming funding rounds for some undisclosed members of the debut Accelerator class. Kain said, “The worst thing would be to start a program like this and then cut it right off. So there will be an ongoing flow where we’re continuing to interact with companies and grow with them.”

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