With Cowboys’ Backing, Blue Star Set to Boost Sports Startups
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it was in the process of Blue Star’s acquisitions that Wechsler saw the opportunity of hatching an accelerator. While some of the companies he was meeting were too early stage for Blue Star Sports, Mooty says Wechsler was intrigued by their potential.
Prior to setting up Blue Star Sports, Wechsler had been a longtime financial tech entrepreneur, specializing in payments companies. He founded Century Payments in 2009 with partner Austin Ventures and sold the firm to Bain Capital and Worldpay in 2013. (Weschsler also sold another payments company, CPA, to Bain Capital and Worldpay in 2010.)
Blue Star Accelerator is now taking online applications from interested startups that would at some point make a presentation to the Jones family, Wechsler, team executives, and other investors.
The Cowboys organization isn’t the only major league team getting involved in the development of young sports tech companies. This year, other professional franchises such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Minnesota Vikings have each launched similar incubation startup labs and accelerator programs. The Dodgers hosted their first demo day last year with startup products such as prediction software for fantasy sports, private social networks for college coaches’ recruiting, and a human performance software platform.
The Vikings have a broadcasting studio for aspiring sportscasters, while the 76ers are working on an innovation lab with the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
Mooty says the Blue Star accelerator is interested in a broad variety of innovations, including in health IT, performance-enhancing devices, and other ways that technology could be used in youth sports all the way to the professional leagues.
“Sports technology is a quickly moving area,” Mooty says. “Anything that we can do to help these companies, especially by bringing in the visibility of the Cowboys and Mr. Jones’s and Mr. Wechsler’s acumen, we want to do.”