January 31, 2023

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Tennis Australia’s AO Startups Program has announced five of the seven startups joining its pioneering new accelerator programme.

The startups were chosen from among 165 applications for the program, which is designed to help early-stage companies innovate cutting-edge technologies in the Australian Open (AO) and tennis.

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Tennis Australia’s head of innovation, Dr Machar Reid, said AO startups are designed to streamline corporate processes that can often stifle innovation at speed, and the future through Tennis Australia’s venture capital fund, Wildcard Ventures. Provides investment opportunity.

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And it’s not just about sportstech — the ideas involved are related to climate technology and food, clothing, equality, and generative AI.

custom made compression

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The first of the five announced so far is compression garment manufacturer CAPE Bionics. It is offering its products to players at Grand Slam tournaments before full-scale integration into Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy program in 2023.

CAPE’s garments are individually shaped from 3D athlete scans, Dr. Reed said, to provide a unique and optimal compression for performance, recovery, rehab or travel benefits.

“CAPE has had some really promising results with athletes in the NBA, NFL and NHL, and we look forward to seeing similar cut-throughs in the world of tennis,” he said.

Founder and CEO Dr. James Waldy spent more than 20 years researching compression, including developing medical grade compression suits for astronauts traveling to space with NASA and the European Space Agency.

“Tennis players have some of the most demanding recovery and travel needs of any athlete. Cape AO is proud to join this first group of startups and show how prescription compression can enhance the performance and well-being of these elite tennis players. can bring real benefits,” Dr. Waldi said.

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“Forget off-the-shelf athleisurewear—when it has to work, the only option is custom-fit compression used by the medical industry.”

being sustainable

Another participant is cleantech startup Calix, which provides data-driven insights to understand the environmental impact of food to help producers, brands, retailers and consumers make more sustainable choices.

Calyx AO is working behind the scenes on food menus in 2023, detailing environmental impact including carbon emissions, biodiversity and water, with the goal of showcasing their sustainability on future food menus.

Calyx Founder and CEO Lauren Branson has spent more than 20 years working in biodiversity and conservation, seeing firsthand the impact climate change is having on biodiversity and ecosystem function, and how it affects our food systems. Want to create data-driven insights to reduce impact.

“With nearly one million fans coming to AO each year, we love the idea of ​​deepening their understanding of the environmental impact of food choices through impact transparency, including climate scores or carbon footprint,” she added. May include accompanying labeling menu items.”

“Food is something tangible in our everyday lives and takes center stage at the Australian Open. Through AO Startups, Tennis Australia is proud to partner with and educate its stakeholders on the impact of food choices and help TA become innovative, climate leaders.” This is an exciting opportunity for Calyx to support.

AI in video

Rikut is a generative AI-based text-to-video technology where users can create infinite permutations of their own video content customized for individual audiences, engaging and delighting viewers like never before.

Dr. Machar Reid said he sees huge opportunity for generative AI in video, especially to personalize the fan experience.

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“A lot has been written about Generative AI lately, especially with ChatGPT with text and DALE.E with visual imagery. However, we’re excited to see where we can take this with video in working with Rekut,” he added.

“This is truly cutting-edge technology, and we are certain that generative AI in video will become commonplace in the coming years to more deeply engage fans in sports.”

Tennis Australia is piloting Recut during AO to create hyper-personalised videos behind the scenes with CEO Craig Tilley for the thousands of employees who make up the AO team.

The startup’s cofounder Samuel Wang said that generative AI is revolutionizing sports entertainment.

“With our technology, we are able to provide unique and immersive personalized fan experiences that were previously impossible,” he said.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with Tennis Australia through AO Startups to be a part of one of the world’s premier sporting events, and to explore the limitless possibilities that generative AI brings to entertainment. Huh.”

booking it

MATCHI is the world’s fastest growing booking system for racquet sports. The MATHi application will be piloted by players and venues across Australia during 2023 and will play a key role in aiding the development of complementary formats and racquet sports such as paddle tennis.

Tom Larner, Tennis Australia’s chief tennis officer, said the pilot with the 10-year-old venture is an exciting way to increase participation in the sport.

“Paddle is enjoyed in over 90 countries and by more than 20 million players and while the introduction of the sport to Australia is only relatively new, its popularity has already grown significantly,” he said

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CEO Daniel Ekman launched MATCHI in 2012 and has overseen its growth from early beginnings in Sweden to a global platform.

“Joining forces with Tennis and Paddle Australia is an important milestone on our path towards becoming the clear platform for the global racquet sports community,” he said.

“We are excited about this opportunity to help drive racket sports engagement in one of the world’s top markets.”

draw parallels

The fifth startup chosen – the remaining two will be revealed before the Australian Open kicks off – is Equidi, which helps companies tackle issues of equality and equity, including pay, opportunity and representation gaps. regtech platform provides real-time visibility on key issues around equity and inclusivity through a single dashboard, as well as AI to set goals, track progress and create tools, resources and strategies to lift -Also builds generated recommendations. Display.

The Tennis Australia People and Culture team is using the Equidi platform through 2023 to track progress and accelerate its efforts towards gender equality goals.

Scott Glover, director of people and culture, said Equidi’s technology will be “hugely beneficial for accurately comparing pay gaps and representation in real-time across every segment of our workforce, as well as checking how we stack up against industry peers.” are doing.”

CEO and Founder Natalie Flynn said Tennis Australia is an organization with equal values ​​and a long-standing commitment to balancing gender for good.

“We are excited to lead the change in how gender equity is being addressed by businesses today and look forward to seeing and helping to make the change happen – doing good business – even better, ” He said.

More at aostartups.ausopen.com

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