Former Reebok, VfB Stuttgart execs join HYPE Capital to launch $75M sports tech fund

HYPE Sports Innovation has announced plans for a $75-million capital fund. HYPE will leverage current deal flow from their twelve-fold global accelerator network which hosts more than 40,000 members (including major sports brands, clubs, federations, and academia), and more than 10,000 sports startups focusing on eSports, AI, fan engagement monetization, VR, and performance analytics.

Network partners include UEFA and NFL members, Asics, Spalding, Adidas, and Microsoft. The fund has already raised warehouse funding and signed the first term sheet with a startup. 

“Once we reach our funding target, we will support the next unicorns of sports innovation, aiming to capitalize on emerging technology,” said Uli Becker, chairman of HYPE Capital Fund. “We already have vast experience promoting startups in our ecosystem, with 40 percent of firms in the London accelerator raising money through our program.”

Bernd Wahler

HYPE’s risk-dumping policy is designed to show investors they only support startups with a strong track record of success. Bernd Wahler, Chairman of HYPE Sports Innovation, spoke about the company’s investment strategy. 

“To reduce the risk for investors we only work with elite startups, whom we know personally and are part of our deal flow. Once we get them onboard, we connect them to corporations in our accelerator program, giving them an outstanding global platform. 

“Sports tech is a fast-moving industry with thousands of companies worldwide and billions of dollars invested over the past five years. The perfect storm is here. Fitbit and Peloton have raised together more than USD 1 billion, and millennials and Generation Z are streaming sports events on their phones in huge numbers. This radical demographic shift in viewing distribution is transforming the entire industry, with online shopping now established as the underlying foundation of sports retail.”

Speaking about the sports industry’s response to technology, Amir Raveh, president and founder at HYPE Sports Innovation, said, “I believe sports will continue to embrace technological change in the 2020s, and with HYPE’s capital fund we believe we can create an unparalleled return on investment. I am confident that HYPE’s vision – to impact people’s lives with the power of sports innovation – will become a reality.”

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