frequently asked questions
What happens at Stadia Accelerator?
Think of the Stadia Accelerator as a 7-session/14-week crash course to maximize the value of your company. We team you up with mentors and advisors with experience in your areas of need where everyone is incentivized towards the same goal: increase your company’s value in order to maximize the likelihood of reaching the next step of investment/partnership/acquisition. Whether it’s helping you land your next big sale; find a national retailer, league or pro team partnership; or help you establish robust business practices; we’re committed to shoring up your weaknesses and promoting your strengths. We’re investing in you because we think we can help you become a good investment.
When will the application for the next cohort be open?
Stadia runs two accelerator programs each year. The Spring program runs from April to June with an application window that closes at the end of November. The Fall program runs from September to December with an application window from May to June.
How much do you invest?
In addition to the efforts of our mentors and advisors, Stadia Accelerator invests up to $100K in cash in each business. The total amount of each investment and the corresponding equity depends on each company’s needs and valuation. And, the final package will be a combination of cash and sweat.
Do we need to write a business plan?
You don’t need to write a business plan, but our application requires a lot of the same information. Keep in mind that all finalists will be subjected to personal interviews in addition to a final pitch in front of our judges, investors and investment selection committee. So, it’s important that you can communicate all of the key factors that are normally included in a business plan.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?
Stadia Accelerator receives several hundred applications each year so it’s impossible to sign an NDA with everyone. We encourage you to apply to our accelerator, but urge you not to disclose any information that’s proprietary. Get us fired up about your business without giving away the recipe to your secret sauce.
Will you fund multiple startups working on the same idea?
Stadia Accelerator is focusing on the main categories of equipment, apparel, software/apps, big data analytics, fantasy, gaming, nutrition, and training. While these areas are very broad, our cohort structure is designed to give you invaluable lessons from the shared experiences of your fellow companies. While there may be overlap between companies in terms of target markets, digital marketing strategies, etc., it is highly unlikely that a cohort of five companies would include two that are direct competitors. Our goal is to maximize the value of all of our companies so working with direct competitors wouldn’t be very productive.
Why didn’t you accept our application?
We receive several hundred applications for each cohort, Yet, we can only accept up to 5. Don’t take a rejection as an indictment of your company or business model; instead, view it as a result of the quality of the competition. Keep growing your company and get ready to apply again – after all, the next cohort is only a few months away!
How far along are most of the companies in the program?
Stadia Accelerator is looking for eSports and sports companies with the highest potential for growth and return on investment. Our companies cover a wide range of sizes, generally ranging from five digits to low seven digits in revenues. While higher current revenues are a strong validation of your business model, we still value other metrics to assess your growth potential.
What does Stadia Ventures get out of this?
Stadia Ventures receives equity in your company based on a negotiated valuation at the end of the application process. We are your partners – if we can’t increase your value then we don’t make a dime.
Can you tell me more about the mentoring and networking opportunities?
One of Stadia Ventures’ core strengths is the quality of our mentor/advisor network. When you join the Stadia Accelerator, you’re assigned a lead mentor who assumes main responsibility for your success. You’re also assigned mentors who have key experience and networks within your core areas of targeted business growth. All mentors are incentivized to use the full power of their networks to help you achieve success.
Do I have to stay in St. Louis after the end of the program?
You don’t have to stay in St. Louis after the program ends. If you’re a Cubs fan, we may even invite you to leave before the program ends (just kidding…maybe).
How can we receive more funding after the program ends?
Stadia Accelerator intends to offer additional investment up to $300K to the best graduates of our program. After we’ve spent this much time getting you ready for the next step, we don’t want to let the VCs have all of the fun!
What kinds of companies do you fund?
Stadia Accelerator funds rising sports-related start-ups that are involved in the following categories: equipment, apparel, software/apps, big data analytics, fantasy, gaming, nutrition, and training. We prefer companies with existing products and revenues. That way we’re investing in “accelerating” your business as opposed to funding prototypes.
Where is the Stadia Accelerator office?
Stadia Ventures is located at CIC@4240 (4240 Duncan Ave, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63110), which is part of a 22-acre innovation district called Cortex. CIC@4240 houses several accelerators and over 200 startups. We’re proudly located in downtown St Louis. 3 miles from Busch Stadium (home of the St. Louis Cardinals), 3 miles from Scottrade Center (home of the St. Louis Blues), 4 miles from the Arch, and a mile from the best barbecue on the planet.
What People are saying
I’m always amazed with how much Stadia has grown and how much the cohorts improve. It’s a great program and I'll always recommend it.
Lorin Hamlin, Head of Innovation Partnerships
I cannot believe how far we’ve come in 90 days. “Accelerator” doesn’t even begin to explain it. Maybe “rocket propelled” would be more fitting. So many talented people in sports, tech, outdoor and beyond mentored us. My network grew tremendously. My skills and knowledge grew even more. And we have a better business because of it.
Brad Luttrell, Founder & CEO
You win with people and Stadia sets themselves apart because of the people they are. And that they’re so willing to introduce to larger networks that you probably haven’t met before…and just help.
Anne Flannery, Founding Board Member
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
After speaking with two cohorts this year, it’s led to two different partnerships with our conference and our member teams.
Amy Huchthausen, Commissioner
America East Conference
Stadia has created a powerful program to fuel activity in the sports entrepreneurial marketplace. Great resources, advisors and a passion for innovation makes the Stadia program an invaluable launch pad for emerging sports and esports businesses.
Chris Zimmerman, President & CEO
St. Louis Blues
I can definitely say the program was invaluable to my company and my professional development. Each week we focused on different important elements related to creating great brands and businesses. We had thought-leading guest speakers, beneficial exercises, and we received constructive critiques that made our businesses better.
Brian Jensen, Founder & CEO
Fishidy (Acquired by FLIR Systems)
We want to see technology that’s worth our time to look at. I get to know the startups that have been vetted, researched and diligenced by Stadia, and I know that I’m seeing the best of the best so it saves me time and money.
Javier Altamirano, Dir of Innovation
For the intersection of sports and technology, we’re a 100 year old company…but we’re always looking for the next 100 years. Stadia is a great place to find new talent, new startups, new technologies, and just a new way of thinking.
Bob Thurman, VP of Innovation
The Stadia Accelerator was a game changer for our business. The guest speakers they brought in were world class industry leaders. The mentor team put us in a position to take our business to the next level. I would strongly recommend Stadia to any and all sports startups.
Joe Shuchat, Founder & President
Winning Identity (Acquired by Blast Motion)
I like the opportunity to see Stadia’s companies first hand so that I can implement their technologies in our franchise and accelerate our growth. In addition, we get the chance to see the most cutting edge technology that’s emerging from across the world.
Khalia Collier, Owner & General Manager
St. Louis Surge
My expectations were exceeded by coming into Stadia…and having access to the wealth of information from teams and brands was extremely invaluable.
Meredith Cass, Founder & CEO
Stadia is not only interested in the companies that they’re investing in, but they’re truly interested in the people that are part of those companies. That sets Stadia apart from everyone.
Barry McPherson, Minority Owner
I come because of the community that Stadia has built. Some of the best minds within sports and technology from around the world.
Clyde Hutchinson, Chair
Sports Tech Ireland
Stadia is very unique in terms of how they bring us all together from every facet of sports and esports. We have interesting conversations and the networking that’s involved is second to none. It’s a perfect opportunity to learn about technology, about business, and I find myself saying that’s a great question or a great technology.
Jim Connolly, Dir of IT
Columbus Blue Jackets
Stadia Ventures truly fills a void by helping entrepreneurs bring innovation to the world of sports. The St. Louis Cardinals have enjoyed partnering with Stadia and their cohort companies as they develop new sports technologies and innovations.
Dan Farrell, SVP for Sales and Marketing
St. Louis Cardinals
Stadia network has a wide variety of people involved and it grows year after year. Once you’re involved you stay for life, and it has turned into a big family.
Declan O’Neill, VP of Business Development
World Wide Technology Raceway
Stadia has opened my eyes to some great avenues for thought and innovation. This exposure is a great help in directing the USGA’s activities.