And the finalists for the 2020 WFS StartCup by GSIC are…

And the finalists for the 2020 WFS StartCup by GSIC are… 2048 1021 WFS Live

4D Sight (USA), BBox Sports (Netherlands), Beyond Sports BV (Netherlands), IDOVEN (Spain), (France), iSPORTiSTiCS (Brazil), Pico-Get Personal (Israel) and Sport Buff (United Kingdom) are the eight finalists of the 2020 WFS StartCup by GSIC, the startup competition that aims to locate the best ‘sportech’ projects and/or startups with innovative solutions that can impact the sports industry in general, and football in particular.

These eight startups were selected after an online pitch that took place on Thursday July 9th during Day 4 of WFS Live powered by Ronaldo, a virtual event that gathered 158 industry leaders and over 3,400 attendees from 120 countries. They will all take the stage again in the next edition of WFS Live for a final pitch after which the jury will decide the winner.

The eight finalists come from seven countries (two of them are from the Netherlands) and three different continents. The majority of them are focused on providing fan engagement solutions for football properties through AI, AR, VR, Machine Learning and other technology tools.

The winning project will receive one year of free membership to the Global Sports Innovation Center powered by Microsoft and a scholarship to the GSIC Institute’s Master in Digital Transformation. All the selected finalists will receive two complimentary passes for the next edition of WFS Live, which will take place in Q4 of 2020.

This is the fifth edition of the WFS StartCup. Thermohuman3D Digital Venue,  YBVR and GameReady, winners of the four previous editions respectively, have since gained great notoriety in the sportech ecosystem. The 2020 WFS StartCup by GSIC registered 90 candidacies from 30 countries. The jury shortlisted 16 pre-finalists that had the chance to pitch during WFS Live powered by Ronaldo.

The jury of the 2020 WFS StartCup by GSIC is composed by relevant industry professionals such as Paul Bragiel, Managing Partner at Bragiel Brothers, Iris Córdoba, General Manager at GSIC, Danny Cortenraede, President & Business Owner at Wannahaves, Edson Crevecoeur, Vice President, Strategy & Data Analytics at 601 Analytics, Andrew Gilligan, Head of Research & Insights at City Football Group, Aaron Gourley, Editor at FC Business Magazine, Charlie Greenwood, Founder and CEO at Sports Loft, Samuel Jackman, Chief Development Officer at VenueNext Europe, Mathieu Lacome, Head of Research & Development at Paris Saint-Germain, Sebastián Lancestrémere, WW DT Partnerships & Sports Industry Managing Director at Microsoft, Sam Li, Head of International at Sina Sports, Thomas Lim, Deputy Chief at Sport Singapore, Massimo Marinelli, CEO at Aser Ventures, Rohn Malhotra, Co-founder at SportsTechX, Unmish Parthasarathi, Founder & Executive Director at Picture Board Partners, Fredda Rodríguez, Head of Digital and Emerging Technologies at CONCACAF, Minerva Santana, Director of Innovation and Global Development at LaLiga and Luis Vicente, Group CEO at Eleven Sports.

WFS StartCup: These are the 16 startups pitching at WFS Live

WFS StartCup: These are the 16 startups pitching at WFS Live 2047 1039 WFS Live

World Football Summit and the Global Sports Innovation Center powered by Microsoft (GSIC) have announced the 16 startups selected by the WFS StartCup jury to participate at WFS Live powered by R9. These startups will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to the global football industry in the online event that will gather 100+ top speakers and nearly 3,000 industry professionals from all over the world from July 6th to 10th.

The StartCup session will take place on Thursday July 9th at 5.00 PM (CEST). The jury will then decide the Top 8 startups that make it to the final stage, which will take place at the next WFS online summit.

The 16 selected startups come from 10 different countries (Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Netherlands, Qatar, Spain, United Stated and United Kingdom) and offer a wide range of solutions in different fields, although mostly focused on Player & Team Performance and Fan Engagement. Half of them use AI-driven technology.

16 shortlisted startups:

4D Sight: AI and cloud-based virtual ad insertion in sports and esports. It creates intrinsic, audience-friendly, targeted ads for great brand sentiment.

– ACE Applied Cognitive Engineering Ltd. / The Football IntelliGym: Improves footballers’ performance by boosting players’ decision-making skills. It provides easy-to-use training software that is scientifically proven to improve actual on-field players’ performance by 20-40% by training an hour a week.

AiScout: Has developed an Amateur Talent Identification platform, which is using AI, Machine Learning, Data Analytics & in-app Biomechanics, Psychometric & Cognitive Analysis, to automate the Amateur Talent Identification, scouting & trial process.

– Armony Ltd: Claims to be the world’s first, patent-pending, wireless communication system made specifically for the use of soccer teams. This system creates a direct connection between coaches and their players, simultaneously transmitting coaches’ instructions and eliminating the need for coaches to yell to their players.

– BBox Sports: A startup focused on fan engagement. BBox Sports have created an engagement tool that offers real data about real fans. BBox allows sports teams to really know their fans and engage with them in a whole new level through Augmented Reality.

– Beyond Sports BV: Transforms positional tracking data into fully immersive and animated 3D simulations in 16 milliseconds, serving player development, match analysis, broadcasting and multi platform end consumer access across multiple sports.

– Fanisko: It offers a B2B platform & solution that helps sports organizations to: 1) Identify high value fans through data driven campaigns, 2) Engage wherever they are and whatever they use, 3) Retain through Gamification, AR, & VR and 4) Monetize through sponsor activations.

– IDOVEN: Remote digital sports cardiology based on Artificial Intelligence. With the aim of early detection of diseases such as myocardial infarction, sudden death and other heart problems in people and athletes of any level.

– Imagine AR Inc: An industry leader for an augmented reality platform for sports and live events. Its platform can synergistically engage fans in immersive memorable experiences to drive a deeper engagement and create new revenue sources.

– A startup working in the field of augmented reality to enhance the fan experience for sports and esports. They rely on the latest innovations (like machine learning, computer vision, real-time data) to design new ways for teams and leagues to engage their audience by sharing immersive and interactive experiences with their fans.

– iSPORTiSTiCS: This company processes, formats and analyze sports content, using technologies based on AI and ML to simplify, enhance and amplify deliveries on the way from the crude content and distributors / audience, increasing all people interactivity and engagement.

– Olocip: Pioneering international company specialised in the implementation of Artificial Intelligence in the business world and professional sports.

– Pico – Get Personal: A SportsTech startup with a personalized fan communication platform, powered by AI. Pico transforms engagement across digital & social channels into high-converting fan experiences that support true business objectives. Pico drives engaged, anonymous online fans into 1st party systems with actionable data via personalization at scale.

– Seyu – Together for victory!: An easy to implement, 150+ events proven, AI assisted solution which is using sport industry partners’ already existing IT infrastructure to allow fans around the world, through a moderated channel, to post their photos on to the LED boards and other screens in the stadiums on matchdays, and share them instantly on social media in branded frames.

– Sponix Tech: A technology company that provides solutions and services which helps broadcasters, TV channels and advertisers increase viewers and enhance fan experience. Their end-to-end creative service covers the entire video production process, from developing an initial concept, through to offering a full service of pre-production, filming and post-production.

Sport Buff: An innovative fan-driven company that truly combines sports broadcast, digital/ social fan engagement and live sports datacasts to create a truly unique business and product, delivering the best-in-class next generation of sports fan viewing, engagement and gamification, powered by AI and Machine Learning. 

Héctor Prieto (YBVR): “80% of the WFS StartCup jury were potential clients of ours”

Héctor Prieto (YBVR): “80% of the WFS StartCup jury were potential clients of ours” 2048 1365 WFS Live

Héctor Prieto is the co-founder of YBVR a technology start-up, building the next generation VR video distribution platform. We met Prieto two years ago, when YBVR became the winner of the WFS StartCup by GSIC. We recently caught up with him to talk about the challenges that the sports industry will have to face in the “new normal” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and how technology can help overcome these challenges.

Q. First of all, tell us briefly about your company, what solutions does it provide and what partners are you currently working with with in the sports industry?
A. We provide a solution for 360º video streaming platform. We currently can provide from 360 production to the device application and including the streaming platform. We work with any right owner that aims to distribute its content to its customers, for example companies such as (for example) Australian Open, Movistar, Rakuten or whoever owns the sports content.

Héctor Prieto, during his pitch at WFS18.

Q. What impact did winning the WFS StartCup competition have on your project?
A. We had a very good visibility among stakeholders in the industry. YBVR, as a company, does not serve the audience directly; we provide a solution to other companies like (as industry examples) LaLiga, Movistar or Australian Open. That’s why the WFS StartCup worked so well for us, a lot of interesting things came out of it. For example, the jury of the startup competition, which was composed of around 18 people, was formed by around 80% of potential clients to us.

Q. Technology has been playing a crucial role in sports for quite some time now, but its importance will still be increasing in the upcoming years. In which areas would you say we can expect more impact in the coming years?
A. Data & analytics, media distribution (due to Covid-19 limitations) and gaming.

Q. Covid-19 is going to present new and unprecedented challenges for the sports industry once competitions resume. How do you think technology can help overcome these challenges? What new developments do you eye?
A. The limitations in accessing stadiums is increasing the use of Internet for work and leisure. People will thus be more used to technology. For media distribution, technology will need to bring the standards quality to TV concepts much faster. Also this will enhance the interactivity, either with other virtual users and also with the sport being played, which will be a big change in the industry. We are actively working in a Virtual Feedback functionality to be soon included in our product line.