Tennis Australia’s AO Startups Program has announced five of the seven startups involved in the groundbreaking new accelerator program.
The startups were chosen from 165 applications for the program, which is designed to help early-stage companies test cutting-edge technologies at the Australian Open (AO) and tennis more broadly.
Tennis Australia Head of InnovationDr. Machar Reid said AO Startups is designed to streamline business processes that can often get in the way of rapid innovation, and provide an opportunity for future investment through Tennis Australia‘s venture capital fund, Wildcard Ventures.
And it’s not just about sports technology – the ideas involved include climate technology and food, clothing, equality and generative AI.
The first of the five announced so far is the compression garment manufacturer CAPE Bionics. It will introduce its products to players at the Grand Slam tournament prior to a full integration in Tennis Australia‘s National Tennis Academy program during 2023.
Dr. Reid said CAPE’s garments are individually tailored based on 3D scans of athletes, to deliver unique and optimal pressure for performance, recovery, rehabilitation or travel.
“CAPE has had some really promising results with athletes in the NBA, NFL and NHL, and we look forward to seeing similar breakthroughs in the world of tennis” he said.
Founder and CEO Dr. James Waldie has spent more than 20 years researching compression, including stints with NASA and the European Space Agency developing medical-grade compression suits for astronauts traveling to space.
“Tennis players have some of the most demanding recovery and travel requirements of any athlete. Cape is proud to join this first cohort of AO Startups and show how prescription compression can bring real performance and wellness benefits to this elite tennis players,” said Dr Waldie.
“Forget ready-made casual wear – if it has to work, custom compression as used by the medical industry is the only option.”
Another participant is a cleantech startup Chalicethat provides data-driven insights to understand the environmental impact of food to help growers, brands, retailers and consumers make more sustainable choices.
Calyx is working behind the scenes at AO 2023 to footprint food menus, describing environmental impacts, including carbon emissions, biodiversity and water, with the goal of their sustainability being reflected on food menus in the future.
Calyx founder and CEO Lauren Branson has worked in the field of biodiversity and conservation for more than 20 years, having seen first-hand the impact of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem function and aims to create data-driven insights to understand the impact of our food systems. to decrease.
“With nearly a million fans visiting the AO each year, we love the idea of deepening their understanding of the environmental impact of food choices through impact transparency, including labeling menu items with a climate score or carbon footprint,” she said .
“Food is something tangible in our daily lives and is at the heart of the Australian Open. It is an exciting opportunity for Calyx to partner with Tennis Australia through AO Startups and educate their stakeholders about the impact of food choices and support TA to be the innovative, climate leader they have promised to be.
AI in video
Recut is a generative, AI-based text-to-video technology that allows users to create infinite permutations of their own video content, tailored to individual viewers, engaging and delighting audiences like never before.
Dr. Machar Reid said they see huge opportunities for generative AI in video, particularly to personalize the fan experience.
“A lot has been written recently about generative AI, especially with ChatGPT with text and DALL.E in visuals. However, we’re excited to see where we can use this with video in working with Recut,” he said.
“This is really cutting-edge technology, and we are confident that generative AI in video will become commonplace in sports in the coming years to engage fans more.”
Tennis Australia test Recut during AO to create hyper-personalized behind-the-scenes videos with CEO Craig Tiley for the thousands of employees who make up the AO team.
Startup co-founder Samuel Wang said generative AI is revolutionizing sports entertainment.
“With our technology, we are able to deliver unique and immersive individualized fan experiences that were previously impossible,” he said.
“We are incredibly excited to partner with Tennis Australia through AO Startups to be a part of one of the world’s most important sporting events and to explore the limitless possibilities Generative AI offers for entertainment.”
MATChi is the world’s fastest growing racquet sports booking system. The MATCHi application will be controlled by players and locations everywhere Australia throughout 2023 and play a vital role in supporting the growth of complementary formats and racquet sports such as Padel Tennis.
Tennis Australia Chief Tennis Agent Tom Larner said the pilot with the 10-year-old venture is an exciting way to increase participation in the sport
“Padel is practiced in more than 90 countries and by more than 20 million players and while the introduction of the sport in Australia is only relatively new, there has already been a significant uptake in its popularity,” he said
CEO Daniel Ekman launched MATCHi in 2012 and has overseen its growth from its early days in Sweden to a global platform.
“Joining forces with Tennis and padel Australia is an important milestone on our path to being the go-to platform for the global racquet sports community,” he said.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to drive racquet sports involvement in one of the top markets in the world.”
The fifth startup chosen – the remaining two will be revealed before the Australian Open ends – is equines, which helps companies address equality and fairness issues, including pay, opportunity and representation gaps. The regtech platform provides real-time insight into key equity and inclusion issues through a single dashboard, and also creates AI-generated recommendations to drive action, as well as the tools, resources and strategies to set goals, track progress and drive improvement. bring implementation.
Tennis Australia’s People and Culture team will use the Equidi platform throughout 2023 to track progress and accelerate its gender equality efforts.
Scott Glover, director of People & Culture, said equidi’s technology “will be immensely useful to accurately compare wage differentials and representation in real time across every part of our workforce and monitor how we’re performing against industry peers.”
CEO and Founder Natalie Flynn said Tennis Australia is an organization with aligned values and a long-standing commitment to improving gender balance for good.”
“We are excited to be leading the paradigm shift in how gender equality is being addressed by companies today and we look forward to helping them see the change and be the change – doing good business – even better,” she said.
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