Stadia Ventures Founders Tim Hayden (left) and Art Chou (right)

Stadia Ventures Announces Its First Accelerator Cohort Of Sports Startups

St. Louis' newest startup accelerator that focuses on early stage sports companies announced its inaugural class of four companies during St. Louis Regional Chamber's annual event.

Several announcements were made tonight at St. Louis Regional Chamber’s annual event No. 178, all speaking to the continued innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

One such announcement was the inaugural cohort of Stadia Ventures, a new St. Louis startup accelerator that focuses on early-stage sports companies. Stadia revealed the four startups that have been selected to take part in Stadia’s first accelerator program.

This program will invest up to $100,000 into these companies for an equity stake. Adding to the enthusiasm at the event, the St. Louis Regional Chamber announced that it is making a financial commitment of up to $50,000 to Stadia Ventures.

Stadia Ventures Founders Tim Hayden (left) and Art Chou (right)
Stadia Ventures Founders Tim Hayden (left) and Art Chou (right)

“In 1904, St. Louis was the epicenter of sports and business when we hosted the Olympics and World’s Fair,” said Stadia Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Director Tim Hayden.

“In 2015, we are putting St. Louis back on the map with our Sports Business Accelerator, as we welcome some of the most innovative sports business startups in the world into the only Sports Innovation Hub, located here in St. Louis.”

Stadia Ventures Co-Founder and Managing Director Art Chou added: “The road to sports innovation may end in Baltimore with UnderArmour or Beaverton with Nike, but we’ll make sure that road passes through St. Louis.”

Here are the four established startups in Stadia Accelerator’s inaugural cohort (Fall 2015).

  • Fishidy The Madison, Wisconsin-based company created the most advanced location-based fishing social network that provides hot-spot maps, local reports and tools to help users catch more fish. With over 300,000 users, they are ranked #2 on World Fishing Network’s list of “Top Mobile Fishing Apps.”
  • LEIF Technologies Out of Brooklyn, NY, LEIF makes the one and only patented-electric skateboard that shreds like a snowboard. With a successful Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign, the startup created a board that allows users to “shred year-round” – anywhere in the world.
  • Rookies The St. Louis-based company creates fully personalized baseball cards. Within minutes, users can edit everything about a baseball card – the photos, the text, and the color. They aim to spare no detail in creating packs of baseball cards that rival the ones you opened as kids.
  • Winning Identity Based in Toronto, Canada, Winning Identity provides golf software solutions to maximize athletic performance potential and heighten motivation for new generations of golfers in one centralized location. Leveraging partnerships with the Golf Channel and Golf Channel Academy, they are working to help athletes and teams achieve their goals.

The four members of Stadia’s first cohort were selected after 11 finalists were chosen mid-August.

Before selling the publication in 2017, Kelly Hamilton co-founded EQ with the ALIVE Media Group (where he was a co-founder too). After earning an M.A. in literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Kelly cofounded ALIVE in 2002. He believes becoming an entrepreneur can change not only the life of that entrepreneur, but also his/her community and the world, and that being able to tell stories of transformation like that is the best job one could have.

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