Building off its successful first cohort, the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars today announced the launch of its second annual class for the 2022-2023 year. The accelerator program – still the first of its kind in Minnesota sports and just the second to be operated and funded by a Major League Baseball club – will bring 10 companies from around the world to the Twin Cities to learn from mentors from the Techstars network, the Minnesota Twins’ front office and the broader sports tech ecosystem and startup community. The diverse group of startups represents seven states and multiple countries, including Nigeria and the UK, while again featuring six founders from historically marginalized groups. The program runs now through mid-February 2023.
“In the fast-evolving industries of sports and entertainment, fans continuously change the ways they engage. This creates a unique opportunity for innovators,” said Brett Bohl, Managing Director of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars. “We can’t wait to support the entrepreneurs in this class and help drive their journey disrupting and pioneering in the space. You won’t want to miss this year’s lineup of startups.”
These 10 startups offer solutions and innovation centered around the fan experience of sports and entertainment technology. The companies include:
Backr, the sports media platform for following athletes — not teams. Backr is leading the new generation of fans hungry to discover more about their favorite athletes, on and off the field, through an app that covers every moment of the athlete journey, from recruitment through retirement.
Biiah, a new app that helps empower people with their own unique voice. By making musical practice accessible at all levels, from anywhere, Biiah – based out of England – offers guidance and structure for developing a daily singing routine that is centered on mindfulness and wellbeing through their app and associated programs. By partnering with established communities, Biiah supports wellbeing and self-confidence, while also encouraging social cohesion through singing together.
Brave Virtual Worlds helps professional sports organizations assess movement quality to prevent and rehabilitate injuries through wearable sensors. Brave Virtual Worlds’ product, Valor™, takes less than two minutes to put on, works wirelessly with smartphones over Bluetooth, and provides actionable insight with biofeedback.
FanBants is the ultimate fan destination, connecting Africans through competition and community. FanBants makes life more exciting for African fans by creating fantasy gaming experiences across sports and entertainment and building community.
Flustr is where users stream their talents, become CG avatars and compete live. A whole new category of interactive entertainment that seamlessly embeds gaming concepts into short-form videos and live-streaming, Flustr enables players to compete directly against each other in real-time using their smartphones.
TicketRev helps fans find cheaper tickets to their favorite games and concerts. Through the TicketRev platform, fans name their price for their preferred seating location, enabling resellers and teams to sell their inventory faster.
United Market provides music creatives and executives with a global platform to collaborate, get discovered, and increase their number of placements. The United Market service optimizes efficiency with real-time collaboration and networking integrations, while protecting users during end-to-end transactions.
Vesta connects communities through events by making it easy to promote and discover local events. Vestastreamlines event registration and the local promotion processfor 400+ event organizers across the country; for consumers, the platform makes it fun and easy to find “what to do” with friends and family.
Virtual Tables provides fan-engagement solutions through digital event platforms. Through DigiSign x Virtual Tables, the live autograph experience can reach fans from all locations at all times by eliminating the logistics of in-person events, while significantly scaling the most coveted asset of 1x1 talent access and signature keepsake.
Whitebalance is an AI-powered virtual production studio. The Whitebalance platform helps video teams work faster and do more with an AI-powered workflow, getting users to 80 percent professional video quality at 20 percent of the cost.
The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars is headquartered in the historic Ford Center, which is a landmark of innovation and located steps from Target Field in the heart of Minneapolis’ North Loop. In addition to Techstars’ industry-leading mentors and resources, the 10 startups will have the opportunity to learn from Twins mentors, including members of the club’s senior leadership, business and baseball operations teams.
“We’re thrilled to bring this visionary group of founders to Minneapolis for the next cohort of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars,” said Chris Iles, Senior Director of Brand Experience and Innovation for the Minnesota Twins. “In their own way, each of these companies is working to expand the boundaries of the human experience and we’re excited about what that will mean for Twins fans in the future.”
Demonstrating the success of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars’ initial launch, 70 percent of the companies last year had proof of concept and meaningful engagements with future partners; two (AWSM Sauce and EDGE Sound Research) were integrated into the Target Field fan experience during the 2022 Major League Baseball season. The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars actively promotes inclusivity across programs; 60 percent of previous and current participant founders come from traditionally underrepresented groups.