HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (April 25, 2018) – Tennibot, the world’s first robotic tennis ball collector, is seeing major success after winning the inaugural Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge last year.
Tennibot (tennibot.com) is a robot that can autonomously detect tennis balls on the court and collect them for players and coaches, using object detection and advanced algorithms. The app lets players customize where on the court Tennibot will clear tennis balls during practice.
In March 2017, the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge judges chose Tennibot out of six competing companies as the $1,000 prize winner in the inaugural competition to identify the most innovative and creative product or service in the tennis industry. Since that competition, which was sponsored and presented by the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), Tennibot has amassed several noteworthy achievements, including winning a CES Innovation Award, receiving $40,000 from the Alabama Launchpad competition and gaining media coverage from publications such as the Los Angeles Times and Mashable.
“It’s been a really exciting time for the team,” says Tennibot Founder Haitham Eletrabi. “Every bit of success has put us one step closer to getting Tennibot on courts around the world.”
Tennibot is currently live on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform for startup companies to launch new products. Customers who purchase a Tennibot during this Kickstarter campaign will have access to exclusive discounts and other perks.
“With the funds from competitions like the TIA’s Innovation Challenge and Alabama Launchpad, we will finally be able to manufacture Tennibot and start shipping to our customers,” says Eletrabi.
“We are thrilled and excited about Tennibot’s success,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “The TIA is pleased to offer this unique Innovation Challenge platform to entrepreneurs, with an eye toward increasing tennis awareness, improving facility operations and increasing participation and enjoyment for all consumers.”
The TIA’s Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge is a “Shark Tank”-like competition in which finalists from an online application process present five-minute pitches in front of a panel of judges, who then determine the winner. The second Innovation Challenge was held during the US Open in August 2017 and was won by In/Out, a $199 device that attaches to the tennis net post and calls lines, analyzes shot placement and statistics, and records HD video. The third Innovation Challenge was held April 9 at the TIA’s Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference in Charleston, S.C., and the winner was Tweener Lighting System, a unique LED lighting system that attaches to the fencing around tennis and other sport courts.
Plans are in the works for the next Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge to take place in Orlando, Fla., in January 2019. For more information about the TIA, the TOM Conference and the Innovation Challenge, visit http://www.tennisindustry.org/.