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NBA selects products for inaugural Launchpad program

The NBA has selected the products for its inaugural Launchpad program, a league initiative aimed at "sourcing, evaluating, and piloting emerging technologies that advance the NBA’s top basketball priorities across all levels of the game," according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. The league in June unveiled Launchpad, calling on "entrepreneurs, startups, academics and health care and workplace professionals to submit products that could improve the game in these areas: innovative ankle injury prevention and recovery; elevating health and wellness in youth basketball; enhancing elite youth player performance; and advancing referee training and development." The NBA received "hundreds of submissions -- 60% domestic, 40% international." The list was "whittled to about 20 by a team of team and league executives." The finalists "presented their product in-person to the selection committee" in the NBA’s version of "Shark Tank." Over the next six months, the NBA will "work with these companies, providing a team of advisors to help with their product." The products selected were:

  • BetterGuards, an "ankle-protection system designed to prevent injuries."
  • Breathwrk, a health and performance app that "provides science-backed breathing exercises."
  • Nextiles, a materials science company that "quantifies movement by merging sewing technologies with flexible electronics."
  • Rezzil, a virtual-reality program "training, rehab and game analysis platform" and the NBA will "use it in referee operations."
  • Uplift, an artificial-intelligence technology that "uses tracking and 3D analysis to enhance health and performance" (USA TODAY, 1/7).

From SportTechie: NBA Launchpad chooses five companies to help target ankle injuries, youth development, ref training and wellness.

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