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ASTN and sport investment vehicle Varcis to deliver innovation commercialisation programs targeted at Asia

ASTN and sport investment vehicle Varcis to deliver innovation commercialisation programs targeted at Asia
November 2, 2020

Asian sport technology investment vehicle Varcis and the Victorian-based Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) have partnered to deliver a series of Sports Pre-Accelerator and sport innovation commercialisation programs.

Linking with the Global Sports Innovation Center, backed by the Victorian Government innovation agency, LaunchVic and powered by Microsoft (GSIC), the series will present Varcis’ pioneering open innovation platform for sports technology and sports digitization for 48 countries across Asia.

The two-year program, consisting of multiple 10-week mentoring programs, aims to support more than 60 Victorian entrepreneurs to validate their ‘Business of Sport’ idea and prototype against world’s best practice with mentoring from many of the best sports technology executives in the world.

Since 2102, ASTN has been a pioneer in developing early-stage sports technology, delivering the world’s first pre-accelerator sports technology program back in that year.

In a statement, ASTN Chair, James Demetriou advised “pre-accelerator is really the ‘idea’ and ‘commercialisation’ stage of building a long-term sustainable company where you can shape and strategise the problems and solutions.

“Fast-forward to 2020 and ASTN has continued to develop Australia as one of the most successful and forward-thinking innovation ecosystems in the world of sports, creating more jobs, more companies, more university research and more venture capital per capita than anywhere else in the world.”

Varcis, which is already playing an important day-to-day role in advice and companies, supports ASTN with resources including Asia strategic market entry advice for businesses and venture capital for Australia’s most promising start-ups and scaleups.

Demetriou is enthusiastic about ASTN moving into Asia and the potential of “working together with VARCIS and GSIC, helping 63% of the world’s population (4.7 billion people) unlock the human potential and jobs potential of technology in sports, media, entertainment, digital health and esports.”

Varcis Chairman and founder, Phillip King sees the potential of leaving a legacy in Asia, noting “Varcis, in partnership with ASTN and GSIC, are working together on expanding this early success and will soon announce a series of sports pre-accelerator programs across the Asia region.”

GSIC, promoted by Microsoft since 2015, has been supporting sports entities worldwide in their digital transformation processes. More than 1500 start-ups have been a part of GSIC’s screening process, participated in its programs and activities, and are currently working on its expansion in Asia with a content and services program of digital transformation supported by entities including ASTN and Sport Singapore.

With the help of over100 international experts, the GSIC is building a bridge of knowledge and experience transfer between Europe, America and Asia.

World’s Largest Addressable Market is Asia
Dr Martin Schlegel, ASTN Director and Program Manager of the Australian Sports Tech Pre-Accelerator program, added “China alone is planning to build a US$813 billion sports industry by 2025, a strategy covering everything from improved fitness to encouraging foreign investment, grassroots sport to elite performance.

“That means China itself could be between 30-40% of the world’s market for sports by 2025. Other Asia countries including Singapore, India, Indonesia and Malaysia are investing in sports of the future - winning gold medals is only a small part of the big picture - it’s about driving everyday mass participation and creating healthier, more active, happier and engaged citizens, fans, venues and youth communities.

“Pre-Accelerators are strategic innovation programs that are showing significant impact because of the resources, mentoring, expertise and world’s best practice we can bring together on day one.

“Varcis’ … sports technology ecosystem … is long-term, sustainable, drives jobs and continuous economic growth.

“We believe this aligns to ASTN’s core values and presents an incredible growth opportunity for Asia.”

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