An immersive bootcamp surrounded by mentors
Stadia Accelerator helps established sports & esports startups get to the next level through the combination of up to a $100,000 equity investment, intensive mentoring, and connections to the top sports & esports business executives in the country. We leverage our network of industry executives that include senior leaders at teams, leagues, sponsors, game developers, publishers, manufacturers, marketers, investors, business services, etc. We finish the delivery by helping companies close their next deal, land their next investment round, or find their exit partner. Our success is determined by our cohort’s financial success!
Twice a year, Stadia Venture conducts a private and public call for submissions around the world. We are looking to invest up to $100,000 for equity in up to five of the best, established sports & esports startups. If you have an existing product or service, have traction, and are generating revenue proving that you are solving a pain, we want you to apply for the Spring or Fall Cohort.
There are two rounds of evaluation for the Stadia Accelerator cohort. First, applications are reviewed by several Partners and Advisors of Stadia Ventures, whom are hand-picked by the Stadia Ventures staff based on industry experience, expertise in the stage of your company, or other relevant characteristics. Next, the application and feedback from the initial judges are reviewed by the Stadia Capital Investment Committee, which is a group of the most experienced entrepreneurs, sports & esports business executives and investors who are invested into the Stadia Capital fund. Finally, a select group of founders will be invited to pitch their businesses to the Investment Committee and over 120 Senior Leaders in Sports & Esports at a Finalist Pitch Day, which will be followed by an opportunity for in-depth Q&A. The Stadia Accelerator cohort is usually announced soon after the Final Pitch Day.
Founders come to St. Louis, MO in the Spring and Frisco, TX in the Fall on Wednesdays through Fridays for 7-sessions over 14-weeks. They are immersed in our business development accelerator, which is an intensive business boot camp, while being surrounded with some of the best sports business talent in the world. Our team’s strength is the network of senior executives, entrepreneurs and investors we bring to bear for every founder.
Graduation culminates with two Demo Days (Hometown Demo Day and a Global Demo Day in a separate city), which is where each founder pitches investors, potential customers and the media. The goal of this day is to secure additional funding, new partners, customer sales, or an exit.
It doesn’t end with your Demo Day. As a member of the Stadia Ventures family, you will always be family. Therefore, we will be on the lookout to help our founders for the life of their company (and well beyond). Whether you are looking for additional resources (human and capital), business development inroads, or strategic board advice, Stadia Ventures and our network will be here for you.
For sports startups moving to the next level
Stadia offers a business development studio for later-stage sports companies. Selected companies work side-by-side with the Stadia Ventures staff and fellow Stadia Ventures’ portfolio companies to fully utilize the capabilities of the Stadia Ventures’ network.
The suite of services includes:
- Senior Executive-In-Residence
- Back-Office Support (HR, Accounting, Legal, etc.)
- Management Consulting/Advisory
- Potential Acquisition Partners
- Shared Office Space
Companies in Stadia’s business development studio also have full access to the Stadia Ventures network of investors, industry executives, and industry events focused on the business of sports innovation.
funding seeking great sports business opportunities
Stadia’s first fund, the Stadia Accelerator Fund, was a five-year, $10 million fund that only invested in cohort startups that came through Stadia’s Accelerator.
In January, 2018, Stadia launched a new Stadia Growth Fund (capped at $25M) to fund startups coming through the accelerator; invest more meaningful follow on funding to select accelerator alums; and invest in a select number of external, late seed and Series A opportunities.
The best bet for an investment from the Stadia Growth Fund is through the accelerator channel. Each startup in the cohort will receive an equity investment of up to $100,000. The equity investment will be based on the startup’s current round or a convertible note if there is no open round.
In addition, there is an opportunity for more meaningful follow-on funding after completion of the 7-session, 14-week program (every other week, fly in on Wed morning and out by Fri afternoon).
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.