Familiar names within Houston innovation have teamed up to launch a program for sports tech startups ready to scale.
Pokatok Labs announced five companies that make up its inaugural cohort. Pokatok is founded by Lawson Gow, founder of The Cannon; Chris Buckner, founder of Mainline; and Alex Gras, former chief commercial officer of The Cannon.
The new program is targeting growing seed and series A startups across the scope of sports technology — health tech, gaming, fan experience, and more. The nine-week program is free to its cohort member and will run twice a year. Participating companies receive access to a network of organizations, advisors, investors, and subject matter experts within sports tech.
“Houston has a huge potential to emerge as a global leader in sports innovation, and the launch of this program is an important step in that direction,” says Gow, who serves as Pokatok’s CEO.
The program will be housed in The Cannon Sports in 53West, which opened last year. Kate Evinger, who previously oversaw gBETA Houston’s early stage accelerator, will lead Pokatok Labs as director.
“Each of the five companies are true disruptors within the global sports community. It is a privilege and an honor to be working alongside them, and we look forward to the great things to come from each ” Evinger says.
The first cohort of startups includes:
- Detroit, Michigan-based Miro AI builds cutting-edge computer vision that analyzes images and videos to unlock athlete data. The technology has analyzed over 50 million athletes.
- Monarc, headquartered in Dallas, has created a robotic quarterback called the Seeker. Several universities — like West Virginia University, Louisiana State University, and Washington University — have already tapped into the technology, as well as NFL professionals, including George Kittle, James White and Adrian Amos.
- RE Cooling Tech, based in Lafayette, Louisiana, has a technology that cools and increases the performance of athletes before, during, and after physical exertion. The technology was validated in a study with The Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut showing efficacy in cooling and increased athletic performance.
- Founded at MIT, Perch uses computer vision and machine learning to seamlessly track exercise, provide real time feedback, facilitate new types of competitions, and store the data for later analysis and progress tracking. The company has sold to more than 10 NFL teams, supporting two national championship college football teams, as well as a growing number of professional sports teams, colleges, military, high schools, performance facilities, and even individual home gyms.
- Pennsylvania-based Reflexion is a portable neuro training service that gives athletes an edge with interactive lightboard based drills. Reflexion has raised over $4 million in venture funding to date, is used by thousands of athletes in homes and training centers, and is trusted by the likes of Under Armour, the Canadian National Soccer Team, and the Denver Nuggets.