Shakhtar Accelerator: Investment in the future
On November 24th and 25th, Shakhtar Donetsk organised the first accelerator of sports projects of FC Shakhtar and HYPE Sports Innovation in Kyiv.
Out of over 100 applications, 24 projects were selected to take part in the final. During two days, the applicants introduced several start-ups to the panel, before having the opportunity to have individual interviews with the attendees. The panel included for instance the senior executives of Shakhtar and the top managers of HYPE, along with some well-known mentors and investors: Nadezhda Vasilyeva (former CEO of Microsoft Ukraine), Viktoria Tigipko(TA Ventures) , Yuliya Poroshenko (Agrohub Ukraine), Lazaros Papadopoulos (Hellenic Basketball Federation), Natalya Yemchenko (System Capital Management), Federico Winer (SAP Entertainment), Olha Baranets (Veon Group).
The HYPE president and co-founder Amir Raveh: “We can see how sports are changing and becoming more innovative, with our co-operation with FC Shakhtar opening up new opportunities for the world. We are really delighted with the level of all the start-ups present at this boot camp. Participants from several countries have come here to share their ideas and developments in the field of the latest sports technologies, analytics, medicine, smart stadium, entertainment and liaison with fans, as well as e-sports.”
Top ten projects
Each project was unique and interesting, and after discussions, the panel selected 10 participants who have been given the chance to develop a future co-operation. Being the youngest participant with only 14 years old, Mykhailo Teleshko’s presentation’s topic – a device that can register offside situations during a football match – was highly appreciated by all the project participants. He explained: “The idea of such a system came to me quite recently, and I decided to present it at the FC Shakhtar sports accelerator. I didn’t expect to be selected for further participation. Now I’ve got a huge motivation to develop and suggest new ideas. I’m really inspired by this experience!”
Seven winning projects were developed by Ukrainian start-ups, whereas the three remaining ones belong to foreign counterparts. For instance, the Italian team Awe Sport offered an innovative analytics platform for working with fans called FanBox. Awe Sport representative Franco Morelli declared: “We came here with great hopes and are glad that they ranked our idea among the best ones. For us, this is a great opportunity to make a name for our development, which is being created by a large team of professionals. We hope that co-operation with the global brand of Shakhtar will be useful for both the club and our company.”
Finally, the FC Shakhtar Financial Director Gyulnara Akhmedzhanova enthusiastically stated that: “Shakhtar Football Club always thinks progressively and seeks to introduce innovations in every segment of its operations. That’s exactly why we are always looking for new ideas, both sport and club management wise. The participants in this accelerator offered lots and lots of interesting, fresh developments. Such projects represent the future of investment, and we will continue to develop this activity.”
The next step for the selected winners consists of having a four-months online training course from the mentors of HYPE Sports Innovation for the further development of their projects.