Benfica has launched Europe’s first sports accelerator

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Benfica-Sports-Accelerator

We all have heard a lot recently about the Portuguese startup/tech scene, with its amazing achievements just like convincing Websummit to move from its homeland, Dublin to Lisbon. Now they are doing something very smart again: using one of their most well known assets: football, or as Americans say: soccer 🙂

Sports Lisboa e Benfica football club has partnered with KickUP Sports Innovation to launch the first European Sports accelerator that emerged within a major sports club called KickUP Sports Accelerator.

I had a chat with the co-founder & CEO, João Gonçalo Cunha.

Peter: What should we know about this program?

João: We are an international acceleration program that aims to scout, accelerate and invest in early stage sports business startups. It means everything related to Sports Performance & Lifestyle Activity, Fan Engagement & Entertainment and Facility Management & Operations.

Peter: What do you exactly provide with this program?

João: Taking place in Lisbon, at Estadio da Luz (Benfica’s stadium), the 12 week full-service program gives the opportunity to 10 selected startups to build, execute and validate their business model, find the best international product & market fit, and get funding. It is designed from scratch with a strong sportive approach so that all the founders will benefit from tailor-made nutrition plans, sports activities & competitions, and mindfulness programs. All startups with projects and ideas related to sports and health are invited to apply.

Peter: What’s the offer?

João: The selected 10 startups will get an upfront investment of €10.000 and access to a mentor network that ranges from sports business founders just like Fernando Sousa from Videobserver, industry experts like Domingos Soares Oliveira, CEO of Benfica and investors like Stephan Morais from Caixa Capital.

Peter: Finally, can you tell us about the timeline?

JoĂŁo: We’ll close applications on 12th March, then on 26th March we’ll announce 20 pre-selected startups who get invitation to the 4-day-long bootcamp that will start on 7th April. We’ll select 10 companies to join the program starting on 24th April, and finally, the Demo Day will take place on 11th July.

Peter: Well, all the best and we look forward to see how this cool initiative works out.