Three Finalists Chosen to Present At Fourth ‘Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge’

AccuTennis, PlayTennisConnect and SPARC–Virtual Tennis to go before judges in unique “Shark Tank”-like competition during the inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference in Orlando in January.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (Dec. 12, 2018) — Three finalists have been chosen to present at the fourth Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, which will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24, during the Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference in Orlando, Fla.

AccuTennis, PlayTennisConnect and SPARC–Virtual Tennis will present five-minute pitches about their new product or service to a panel of judges—and in front of an audience of tennis and racquet sports industry leaders—in a “Shark Tank”-like competition to determine a winner.

“We’re excited to see the presentations of our three finalists,” says Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the Tennis Industry Association (TIA), which sponsors the competition. “This is our fourth edition of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, and we’ve seen some amazing products and services come to light that are designed to help this sport and industry grow.”

This edition of the Innovation Challenge attracted 31 applicants. The showdown with the finalists will take place at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) during the inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference (racquetpaddlesportsshow.com), held Jan. 23-25, which will also include the TIA’s sixth annual Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference.

For industry professionals, registration is free for the Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference (RAPS), which will include attendance at the Tennis Innovation Challenge Session on Jan. 24, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the OCCC. A separate fee is required for attendance and participation in the educational TOM Conference (register at racquetpaddlesportsshow.com).

The three finalists who will present at the OCCC are:

* AccuTennis (www.accutennis.com), which uses a computer vision system to provide live feedback for recreational and competitive players, while also engaging coaches, players, parents and fans and allowing them to analyze, track and watch players through video replay, shot analysis and live-streaming.

* The PlayTennisConnect app (www.foundationtennis.com), which is a complete business management system for providers, allowing facilities and their players to find, book and pay for court time, lessons and events. The app provides an integrated experience for players while offering facilities a branded application to promote their business.

* SPARC (www.virtualsports.international), a virtual reality athletic game that marries screen VR technology with intense broad-spectrum physical competition, designed to engage kids and others who may not otherwise try or stay with conventional tennis, by providing an alternative path to tennis participation.

The Innovation Challenge winner will receive $1,000, a national press release to thousands of news outlets with a potential reach to millions of consumers, coverage in Tennis Industry magazine, a one-year TIA membership, and additional exposure through industry marketing and social media channels.

The Innovation Challenge will again be moderated by Carlos Salum, who is president of Salum International Resources, a leadership performance strategy consultancy based in Charlotte, N.C. Salum, who organizes leadership events as founder of TheSircle Executive Club, also consults in sports technology with the SportsCouncil Silicon Valley, N3XT Sports and leAD Sports Accelerator. He also has coached professional tennis players, including Grand Slam champions Gabriela Sabatini and Sergi Bruguera.

The high-powered panel of judges for the fourth edition of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge will include:

* Stacey Allaster, USTA chief executive of professional tennis and former chairman and CEO of the WTA.

* Mike Barrell, coach for more than 30 years and the director of evolve9, an international company that helps national tennis federations and providers design and implement tennis programs for children.

* Walid Fattah, a tennis entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, with extensive experience in the world of finance. Fattah co-founded a family of products under the name Kourts, specializing in mobile applications and tennis management systems.

* Louis Foreman, the founder and chief executive of Enventys Partners, an integrated product design, engineering and marketing firm. He is also the founder of Edison Nation, and Edison Nation Medical.

* Mac Lackey, a Charlotte, N.C.-based entrepreneur who has built and sold five companies. He is a co-founder and serves as chairman of ISL Futbol, a venture partner of VentureSouth.vc, and an executive at SportsEngine (a division of NBC Sports).

* Royce Wolfe, principal of Thru Traffic Marketing LLC, a marketing development, innovation and strategy consultancy specializing in sponsorship revenue generation, ethical branding and business practice.

(Separately from the TIA’s Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, the Enventys Partners prize of $5,000 in consulting services may be awarded to the Innovation Challenge submission Enventys chooses as having the potential to make an impact in the consumer market, based on the company’s own criteria. The focus of the Enventys consulting services will be product development and may not consider production costs, marketing and advertising.)

The first Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge was held in March 2017 at the Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference in Orlando, Fla., and was won by Tennibot (tennibot.com), a robotic tennis ball collector. The second Challenge, held in August 2017 in New York City during the 2017 US Open, was won by In/Out (inout.tennis), a line-calling device that fits on any netpost. The third Challenge, held during the TOM Conference in April 2018 in Charleston, S.C., was won by Tweener Lighting (tweener-lighting.com), a unique LED system that attaches to existing fencing around tennis and other sport courts.

The inaugural Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference spans Jan. 23-25, and will be co-located with the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The multi-faceted tennis, racquet and paddle sports industry event will feature a hands-on product demo experience and opening welcome party at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona; a curated ONE2ONE buying event; Tennis Owners & Managers (TOM) Conference; and an exhibit pavilion of racquet, paddle and tennis vendors and organizations at the Orange County Convention Center.

Organized by the TIA and Reed Exhibitions, RAPS will bring together racquet sports professionals, industry leaders, emerging brands and bellwether brands all under one roof. It is targeted to all facets of the industry. To find out more or to register for the Racquet & Paddle Sports Conference, visit racquetpaddlesportsshow.com.

The 31 applicants for the fourth Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge were:

AccuTennis, www.accutennis.com

AceACT, Gamelore Inc.

Armaid, www.armaid.com

Baseline Vision, www.baselinevision.com

Courtreserve, www.Courtreserve.com

ESTA Mini, www.estaflorida.com

EZ Twist Tennis Ball Retriever, www.eztwisttennis.com

Mindbox (MDBX), https://tennisletics.com

NETswing, www.LafayetteTennis.org

P4T indoor training lanes, www.p4tennis.com

PlayTennisConnect app, www.foundationtennis.com

Psy of Champ, www.psyofchamp.com

PTbench, www.PTbench.com

Rally often On-court Tennis Backboard, www.rallyofftennis.com

Scoutim, www.scoutim.com

Serve Rite Racquet, www.oncourtoffcourt.com

SetMatchup, www.setmatchup.com

SPARC - Virtual Tennis, www.virtualsports.international

Sports Pros Connect Coach & Academy Webpages, www.sportsprosconnect.com

StringWeaver, www.StringWeavers.com

Superscore, glennoreilly@rogers.com

SY: Compare, http://www.sphericalyellow.com/app/

ThanksUSA Veterans Tennis, www.ThanksUSA.org

The Ball Buddy, www.surewinllc.com

The PickupWall, www.pickupwall.com

The Stringing Sandwich, stringing103corp@gmail.com

The Tennis Tourist, www.thetennistourist.com

Tietennis.com, www.tiesports.com

TopScore, www.topspinsportsllc.com

XL Thermal Tennis Backpacks, www.ShopSportsChic.com

ZLAM, www.zlamtennis.com