ADvantage, a $70-million global sports tech fund, owned by family office of Adolf Dassler (better known as Adi Dassler), who was the founder of global sportswear firm Adidas, is on the lookout for Indian startups for investment opportunities, reported Gaurav Laghate of Economic Times.
ADvantage is a series-A fund co-owned by leAD Sports, a sports entrepreneurship and investment platform run by the Adi Dassler Family Office (ADFO), and global hybrid venture capital platform, OurCrowd.
Launched in 2017, by grandchildren of Adidas creator Adi Dassler, leAD (‘legacy of Adi Dassler’) is the seed accelerator for innovative products, services and business models in the realm of sports, which invest in visionary ventures around trendsetting sports technology, media, entertainment, management and lifestyle.
ADvantage and leAD will help Indian startups with global exposure with strong network in US and Europe that can help them expand business rapidly and with marketing, sales, legal and contractual assistance, apart from funds.
In February next year, leAD will be visiting Indian fan engagement start-up for the accelerator programme. As of now, leAD has picked up New Delhi-based Rooter, an online sports community and fan engagement startup, for its accelerator programme.
The fund has so far invested $10 million in sports tech startups, including Tappp, a New York-based startup founded by Mumbai-born entrepreneur Sandy Agarwal.
The fund is focusing on the India market as it has received the majority of funding applications from here.
Christoph Sonnen, who is leAD Sports CE0, has told ET assistant editor Gaurav Laghate, “India is a huge sports market, which goes far beyond cricket. As sports continue to gain space in the country, new opportunities in the ecosystem arise. We want to leverage this momentum and continue to nurture early-stage startups that can disrupt the mobile, tech-focused Indian market.”
Apart from spearheading the accelerator programme of leAD, Christoph is a serial entrepreneur and accomplished venture builder.
As per Christoph, leAD has just started the second batch of its accelerator programme for pre-seed and seed funding. Between first and second batch it received 350 applications from Indian sports tech startup owners alone. This year the platform have picked up 9 out of a total of 600 applications for the programme, Rooter is the only Indian startup.
Moreover, the fund is also lookout for local investors in India and Christoph is scheduled to meet investors and business families in India to persuade them to co-invest. Christoph will be travelling to India with representatives of the ADFO.
“We have a network of 6,000 companies globally and we want to educate Indian VCs and family offices about this big opportunity in sports tech. We have seen that Indians have a deep-understanding of tech, but they all are investing into fintech or other established businesses. The disruption in sports tech is yet to come and can give 7-9X returns over 8 year investment,” Christoph said.
After reviewing thousands of applications since its launch, leAD has turned its focus to three sports tech sub-sectors primed for dynamic growth. One of these sub-sectors is fan engagement, which is why the company picked up Rooter for the accelerator platform.
Led by Christoph and venture investor and professional athlete Jeremy Pressman, ADvantage is targeting a diversified portfolio of 15 startups from around the world.
Adidas founder, Dassler, was an innovator in athletic shoe design and one of the early promoters who obtained endorsements from athletes to drive sale of his products. As a result of his concepts, Adi Dassler built the largest manufacturer of sportswear and equipment. At the time of his death in 1978, Adidas had 17 factories and annual sales of one billion.
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