NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Trailblazer Venture Studio is proud to announce the first nine companies joining the studio to focus on the future of women and sports. Trailblazer is a collaboration between Billie Jean King Enterprises, Elysian Park Ventures, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and R/GA Ventures that is committed to providing unmatched industry access, insight, and strategic advantages to selected companies that are putting women leaders, athletes, and fans first.
The companies selected for this studio are making huge strides in terms of leveling the playing field when it comes to women’s leadership, participation, and fandom in the world of sports. Joining from four countries, each one of the selected companies has female leadership and is transforming the space women occupy in the global sports industry, bringing real solutions to hard problems facing women in sports performance and training, media and storytelling, venue experiences, and esports.
“The energy around women and sports is one of the most exciting trends in the sports industry right now. We were thrilled to see so many high-quality companies validating our thesis that one of the biggest growth opportunities in sports is women. The high level of entrepreneurial activity made for a competitive and energizing application process, and we can’t wait to get to work with this amazing group of founders and companies,” said Cole Van Nice, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Elysian Park Ventures.
Here are the innovative companies joining the Trailblazer Venture Studio portfolio:
- Curastory (New York, NY): Led by former ESPN associate Tiffany Kelly, Curastory allows athletes and creators to shoot and edit high-quality video, monetize their name, image, and likeness in powerful new ways, and distribute their content to their video channels.
- Elysian Park Planning (Los Angeles, CA): Founded by Janet Marie Smith, a designer and urban planner who has led the renovations of some of the world’s most legendary sports venues including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Fenway Park, Dodger Stadium and now Stamford Bridge, EPP is transforming sports venues to create fan experiences rooted in magical spaces and revitalizing iconic landmarks across sports.
- FORTË (New York, NY): Led by former Wall Street executive Lauren Foundos, FORTË’s developed the fitness industry’s only turnkey, live and on-demand streaming solution, enabling gyms to offer a premium hybrid experience to their members and powering top brands like UFC GYM, YMCA, The Edge, 305 Fitness & the NFLPA.
- HER Galaxy (Tampa Bay, FL): Led by serial entrepreneur Akemi Sue Fisher, Her Galaxy is a division of the global Galaxy Racer platform that seeks to empower women at the intersection of esports, gaming and culture.
- Ida Sports (Perth, Australia and London, England): Co-founded by Laura Youngson, who led a group of women to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to play a Guinness world record-breaking football match to highlight gender inequalities in sport, IDA Sports exists to prioritize high-performance and comfortable footwear and cleats for female athletes who have traditionally been an afterthought in the sports industry.
- LOVB (Los Angeles, CA) : Led by Katlyn Gao, a deeply experienced female-centric consumer brands executive, League One Volleyball is commercializing volleyball by creating a purpose and profit driven ecosystem rooted in a national network of junior clubs, with the vision to create the first, full-season indoor volleyball pro league in the US.
- Sportsbox AI (Bellevue, WA ): Led by former LPGA professional golfer Jeehae Lee, Sportsbox AI is an AI-powered single-camera 3D-motion capture technology company that brings real-time corrective feedback to help athletes achieve their goals in sports and fitness, starting in golf, using patent-pending 3D Motion Analysis and Kinematic AI technology.
- The GIST (Toronto, Canada): Led by former college friends and sports fans Jacie deHoop, Ellen Hyslop, and Roslyn McLarty, The GIST is a community-driven digital media company, changing the way sports content and storytelling speak to underserved sports fans.
- Togethxr (Los Angeles, CA): Founded by professional athletes Alex Morgan, Chloe Kim, Sue Bird, and Simone Manuel, and led by Co-founder and Chief Content Officer Jessica Robertson, Togethxr is a media and commerce company curating original content to elevate women’s voices in sports.
These nine companies have started a 12-week program in which each company will focus on strategic business development opportunities through relationship capital from Billie Jean King Enterprises, Elysian Park, the LA Dodgers, and R/GA Ventures, and building their brand through creative services from R/GA. Each company will also receive financial investment as part of its selection.
“The Trailblazer Venture Studio is committed to ensuring the next generation of trailblazers are given equal access to opportunities in sports, in business, and in life,” said Ilana Kloss, CEO of Billie Jean King Enterprises. “The studio will support these companies with access, services, and connections that will allow them to reach their maximum potential.”
This is the third endeavor between Elysian Park Ventures, the LA Dodgers, and R/GA Ventures. The three previously partnered to launch the LA Dodgers Accelerator, the world’s first sports tech accelerator, in 2015 and are currently partners in the Global Sports Venture Studio (GSVS), a premier group of sports leaders driving innovation within the sports industry.
Follow along on Twitter as these companies grow and increase their impact at the intersection of women and sports with the help of the Trailblazer Venture Studio team.
Billie Jean King Enterprises is a women-owned and women-led investment, consulting, and marketing firm, founded by Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss. An investor since 1968, King became an icon for women in sports and beyond during her legendary tennis career and continues to make her mark today. Billie Jean King Enterprises puts King’s philosophy and brand value to work and capitalizes on her long-standing advocacy for equality by partnering with companies to challenge the status quo and create a level playing field. Visit bjkenterprises.com for more information.
Elysian Park is a global investment platform created by the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers that is dedicated to building the future of sports. Operating out of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London, Elysian Park invests where sports intersect with global markets of health, culture, commerce, and technology. Elysian Park invests across stages from seed to growth and provides entrepreneurs with perspective, relationships, and a set of strategic resources that include the Trailblazer Venture Studio, the Global Sports Venture Studio, Robin, Fitt Insider, and EP Golf Ventures in partnership with PGA of America, among others. Visit elysianpark.ventures for more information.
The Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, with seven World Series championships and 24 National League pennants since its beginnings in Brooklyn in 1890, is committed to a tradition of pride and excellence. The Dodgers are dedicated to supporting a culture of winning baseball, providing a first-class, fan-friendly experience at Dodger Stadium, and building a strong partnership with the community. With the highest cumulative fan attendance in Major League Baseball history, and a record of breaking barriers, the Dodgers are one of the most cherished sports franchises in the world. Visit the Dodgers online at www.dodgers.com, follow them on Twitter @Dodgers and like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Dodgers. For media information, visit www.dodgerspressbox.com.
R/GA Ventures works with startups and organizations to create a more human future. We do this by identifying disruptive and inspiring technologies and ideas, and supporting those ideas with the financial, creative, and relationship capital necessary to drive growth and returns. R/GA Ventures has run 31 programs to date, including the LA Dodgers Accelerator and Global Sports Ventures Studio. R/GA Ventures and R/GA are part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at ventures.rga.com and by following @rgaventures.
The Global Sports Venture Studio brings together leaders from the world’s leading sports organizations to engage with the sports innovation ecosystem. Our partners – Angel City FC, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fox Sports, the Los Angeles Football Club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBC Sports, UEFA, the USTA, and Verizon – are actively working together to drive growth in the sports industry by identifying, developing, and deploying new athlete and fan-focused innovations through pilots, investments, and the development of new products, services, and technologies. Visit globalsportsventurestudio.com for more details.
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SOURCE R/GA Ventures