Sports Tech Tokyo Brings Venture Capital And Technology To Sports Landscape In Asia

09 - January 2019

The 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games were the beginning of a series of huge sports events in Asia. Japan will host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and the 2019 Rugby World Cup. China will host the 2019 FIBA World Cup of Basketball, and Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Games.

Clearly, sports will be huge in Asian nations, so it’s natural that sports technology will be centering on these countries. With that thinking, San Francisco-based Scrum Ventures and Japan’s advertising giant Dentsu have partnered to form Sports Tech Tokyo. The group launched in November 2018. Today, Sports Tech Tokyo announced the first 14 companies that have been accepted into its program. The initial wave may benefit from new funding opportunities and exposure in Asia.

“We’re starting in Japan for some obvious reasons,” said Michael Proman, managing director at Scrum Studios and Sports Tech Tokyo. “No. 1, the density of the space there, and they’re our program partner. No. 2, you have some very high-profile content coming to that particular region.”

Plans call for additional announcements immediately after this week’s CES-Sports Zone conference in Las Vegas while the bulk of accepted companies will be announced after a January 31 deadline. The Sports Tech Tokyo program’s overall goal is to provide emerging sports tech companies a gateway to the under-served but highly passionate Asian sports market.

“We identified the problem being in sports tech; it’s an extremely fragmented community,” said Proman. “It’s fragmented by geography, by stage of companies, by industry areas of focus. We want to be able to solve for that. We see this program as Sports Tech Tokyo as an opportunity to help companies of all shapes and sizes grow on the top line to connect them to real tangible opportunities rather than being overly reliant upon consistently raising capital to cover up the fact that products are not being monetized properly.”