Why’d the NBA launch a startup incubator?

Sequoia, a16z, and the NBA?

From wearables to VR, there’s a wide range of new tech that can help athletes step up their game.

But unless they’re plugged in, players may not know about it.

Enter NBA Launchpad — a startup incubator investing in next-gen tech for the basketball community.

What kind of tech?

Not the three-point-shot-sinking Japanese robot kind. Instead, Launchpad looks at startups in four areas: injury prevention, youth player performance, mental health, and referee training (yes, please).

Here’s how it works:

  • Startups apply in one of those categories.
  • The NBA holds a “selection day” (think “Shark Tank,” but NBA).
  • Finalists run a six-month pilot with the NBA’s resources at their disposal.

This year’s finalists include an adaptive ankle brace, a VR training platform, and a breathwork app.

The NBA’s goal…

… is to eventually offer these products to players and refs to improve performance and quality of play.

Some teams — ahem, the Knicks — may need them more than others.

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​

RECENT POSTS

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?