Todd Deacon Joins Techstars as Managing Director of Techstars SportsTech Melbourne

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m joining Techstars as Managing Director of our new Techstars SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator. 

When this opportunity came my way, I was naturally charged as it’s the combination of the things I love (sport, the business of sport, and startup culture) with the power of Techstars and, in particular, their founder first mentality.  And it’s all happening in my home city, one of the greatest launchpads for a sportstech startup – Melbourne.  

Having started my career in sports consulting, working with all major sports federations across Australia and Asia, I developed that itch to start my own sportstech business. Together with two friends and ex-Nike execs we launched Unscriptd – a global athlete media company helping athletes access, publish and measure their social content. We existed for the athlete, but we were on a mission to change the way sports, teams and sponsors connected to the enormous and highly engaged audience of the athlete through social media. 

With Andre Agassi and Stefanie Graf as our first investors, and early contracts with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gerard Pique as well as other huge names in professional sports using our platform such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farrah and Rafael Nadal, we grew quickly and were soon opening offices in London, Barcelona and NYC. After six years of the wildest ride I could imagine, we sold the company to Derek Jeter’s The Players Tribune, a leading platform for athlete storytelling, and I’ve been itching to get back in the startup world since. 

With nearly 20 years of experience in the sports industry and a focus on tech innovation, product development and venture capital, I’m thrilled to be working alongside the best in the business during this 13-week program. We have an amazing team of partners including Tennis Australia (you might know them from the Australian Open), Victoria University (a world-leading sports science institution with amazing connections in global sport), and LaunchVic (the Victorian Government’s startup agency). With this lineup of corporate sponsors and mentors, we will propel the careers of 10 sports-focused startups starting in March 2020.  

While the program has roots in tennis, we aren’t solely focused on solutions for the sport. More so, we are looking for companies that can influence technological innovation for all sports, and even impact society in a positive way. There are a few broad categories companies may fall into, but if your solution is applicable to sports in any way we want your application and hear your story! Some of the categories include:

      • Performance:
          • Developing athletic talent and keeping athletes healthy (both physically and mentally), will always be a critical aspect to the sports industry. Sports organizations are looking for cutting edge tech to to give them an advantage over the competition, creating a high-performance pathway to athletes’ and organizations’ successes. 
      • Media and events:
          • Media and sports go hand-in-hand, and with so many changes to how we consume media, sports have never felt more under pressure to keep fans engaged and interacting. Some may not know that Tennis Australia is an events powerhouse. Even outside of the Australian Open, they run multiple other global events such as the Laver Cup and the newly formed ATP Cup. As such they are on the lookout for new breakthrough technologies that impact on media, marketing, stadium, ticketing, integrity and commercial partnerships.
      • Participation:
          • I love how Nike says ‘if you have a body you’re an athlete’ and as non-professional athletes, today we can participate in sports in so many ways and technology is just starting to play a key role in disrupting this category. Whether it’s playing in traditional comps, going solo, attending virtually or even via the e-sports world, the sports industry is always looking for new ways to drive participation. So if you have tech that can impact this, then we are interested in you.

Don’t miss your chance to submit your application for the Techstars SportsTech Melbourne program. Together, we can propel your business to new levels of success and help shape the future of sport for generations. And this isn’t just a great opportunity to grow your sportstech business, it’s also an experience to grow and contribute to the startup ecosystem in Melbourne. 

I invite all sports-focused startups, and startups with solutions that can be applicable to the sports industry, to apply to the first-ever Techstars SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator. Applications for our 2020 program are open now and we will be accepting applications through December 8th. Please visit the Techstars SportsTech Melbourne program page to learn more and apply.