Promoting Sports & Fitness
Participation and Industry Vitality

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SFIA Start-Up Challenge Finalists Collectively Raise Over $50 Million in Funding

Date: 1/25/18


SFIA Start-Up Challenge Finalists Collectively Raise Over

$50 Million in Funding 

Competition offers premier start-ups the opportunity to present their business in front of an esteemed panel of judges and investors


SILVER SPRING, MD (Jan. 25, 2018) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is preparing to host the third annual Start-Up Challenge at its Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 26-27, 2018. 

During its first two years, SFIA received over 200 applications for the Start-Up Challenge, including entrepreneurs from more than 20 different countries, all vying for a spot as a top five finalist. Each year, the competition provides start-ups with the opportunity to pitch their product or service in front of hundreds of C-level executives from the sports and fitness industry. Previous attendees include representatives from Adidas, Amazon, BSN Sports, Mizuno, Nautilus, New Balance, Nike, Rawlings, Robert W. Baird, Speedo, Under Armour and many more.

“The Start-Up Challenge is continually one of our favorite events at the Industry Leaders Summit because we have the opportunity to recognize new and emerging talent throughout the industry,” said Tom Cove, SFIA President and CEO. “The fact that just 10 companies have raised over $50 million speaks to the quality of applicants our Start-Up Challenge is attracting. We expect bigger things in 2018 for this event, and we have some exciting new announcements coming soon.”

The first 10 finalists have collectively raised over $52 million in funding to date, with Hookit and ShotTracker leading the pack as the 2016 and 2017 winners, respectively.

“The SFIA Start-Up Challenge was a unique opportunity and privilege to share the ShotTracker story with some of the best companies within the sports and fitness industry,” said Davyeon Ross, ShotTracker Co-Founder. “It was an awesome experience and one every sports start-up should aspire to be part of.”

In addition to receiving a 15-minute spotlight in front of all ILS attendees, there is also a panel of highly-respected industry executives serving as official judges. In the past, judges have included President and CEO of Rawlings, Mike Zlaket; CEO of Brooks Running, Jim Weber; Director at Robert W. Baird, Matthew Tingler; NFL Hall of Famer, Herschel Walker; and Managing Director at North Castle Partners, Alison Minter.

For any parties looking to apply to the 2018 Start-Up Challenge or interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact jpeters@sfia.org.


ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.


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