ASTN launches venture capital partner network for sportstech start-ups

The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN), the industry body for sports technology and innovation, has announced the launch of its Venture Capital Partner Network, which aims to foster connections between Venture Capital (VC) firms and sportstech start-ups.

An industry first for the sportstech sector, ASTN offers VC firms access to sportstech start-ups with technologies that are primed for scaling and commercialisation, aligning specific technology stack categories with VC firms to ensure focused matchmaking and facilitate robust deal flow.

“By forging strategic connections between sportstech startups and VC firms – we are ensuring the best technologies meet the right investors to drive transformative growth and commercialisation,” said Dr Martin Schlegel, Executive Chair, ASTN.

ASTN’s recently published Sports Innovation Report has highlighted the emergence of a more active, coordinated and sophisticated investor community that the network seeks to tap. ASTN predicts that the active investor community servicing early-stage sports technology companies will only continue to grow over the next few years.

“We feel that the circumstances are right for Venture Capital firms to benefit from Australia’s rich entrepreneurial talent pool. We’re looking forward to working closely with Gandel Invest to spearhead aligned business matchmaking opportunities,” said Schlegel.

During the launch of the network, it was revealed that Gandel Invest is ASTN’s inaugural partner for the venture. Gandel Invest is known for offering strategic capital, connections and expertise to both growing and established businesses across the globe and is set to tap into ASTN’s ecosystem of start-ups and entrepreneurs who are poised to reap significant benefits.

Gandel Invest will also be the ‘VC program sponsor’ for ASTN’s 10-week Early-Stage Founder Program alongside other state-based funding partners and will gain visibility to all applicants who are eligible and accepted across the programs.

“We look forward to working with some of Australia’s leading sportstech startups that have benefitted from ASTN’s early-stage training programs. This partnership aligns with Gandel Invest’s desire to foster innovation and growth within the sports technology landscape,” said Adam Gandel, Senior Investment Manager, Gandel Invest.

“Sport has a way of making a positive impact on physical/mental health and general social wellbeing, unlike anything else. With the amount of money that is flowing into sport at all levels, there is a real opportunity for local entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions for the industry. We’re looking forward to working closely with ASTN to support the sports technology sector and help Australian startups reach the global stage,” added Gandel.

“We are proud to work closely with Gandel Invest as we launch the Venture Capital Partner Network. Gandel will have the opportunity to work closely with Australia’s emerging sportstech startups, presenting a golden opportunity to foster close relationships and leverage the collective expertise within our ecosystem,” said Schlegel.

ASTN and Gandel will make further announcements in relation to upcoming elements of the partnership including contribution to other program delivery, engagement with the ecosystem and matchmaking introductions. In addition, ASTN will continue discussions with other like-minded VC firms looking to make further support and investments in sports technology.

“We see this as the start of an ongoing partnership with ASTN. Working together to explore other ways of engagement, to strengthen the sportstech investor network and bring others along this journey,” said Gandel.