MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN – Bringing a diverse group of startups to the Twin Cities for continued growth and development, the Minnesota Twins and Techstars today announced the 10 companies that comprise the inaugural cohort of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars, running from now through mid-February 2022. The 10 startups were selected from more than 120 applicants; represent seven states, along with the District of Columbia and Ontario, Canada; and include five founded by individuals from historically marginalized groups. The 10 are: AWSM Sauce (West Chester, PA), BeyondRanked (Indianapolis, IN), EDGE Sound Research (Los Angeles, CA), Happied (Washington, D.C.), Knoow (New York, NY), LeagueOS (Minneapolis, MN), Local Sports Network (Austin, TX), Node (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), OneScreen.ai (Boston, MA) and SoleSafe (Saint Paul, MN).
“We’re thrilled to welcome these talented and diverse startup founders to the Twin Cities and into the Twins family,” said Joe Pohlad, Executive Vice President of Brand Strategy and Growth for the Minnesota Twins. “We are excited to watch these companies as they progress and ultimately work together to help advance the sports and entertainment business.”
These innovative companies, each operating within the intersection of technology, sports and entertainment, will participate in the first accelerator of its kind in Minnesota sports and just the second to be operated and funded by a Major League Baseball club. During the three-month cohort and beyond, the 10 startups will receive funding, hands-on mentorship from Techstars and the Twins, curated workshops and resources, as well as lifetime access to the Techstars global network – all to support these developing companies to become stable, self-sufficient businesses. The inaugural Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars cohort concludes with a “Demo Day” on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, at which all 10 companies will showcase their technology-driven products and solutions.
“Entrepreneurship combined with sports, media and entertainment – this is going to be a fun class, all powered by 10 amazing sets of founders,” said Brett Brohl, the Managing Director of the Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars. “You will want to track these startups closely!”
The Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars is headquartered in the historic Ford Center, itself a landmark of innovation and located steps from Target Field in the heart of Minneapolis’ North Loop.
Below is more on the 10 startups of the inaugural Minnesota Twins Accelerator by Techstars cohort:
- AWSM Sauce (West Chester, PA; awsmsauce.co) is the first zero-waste sauce and condiment company. With dry-pack sauce mixes in compostable packaging, AWSM Sauce is offering a unique delivery system that reduces the need for companies to ship water content, plastic packaging and high-weight products. AWSM Sauce offers a reusable bottle/dispenser that allows consumers to make the sauce they need without concern for storage; the product is durable for shipment and shelf-stable for two-plus years. AWSM Sauce encourages everyone to “Please Sauce Responsibly!”
- BeyondRanked (Indianapolis, IN; beyondranked.com) is a marketplace for gamers to book esports commentators. BeyondRanked is connecting commentators to a completely new revenue stream: Casting games for casual gamers. Most commentators look for paid opportunities directly with tournament organizers, but BeyondRanked allows them to earn money and grow their brand by catering to an entirely different audience.
- EDGE Sound Research (Los Angeles, CA; edgesoundresearch.com) allows users to HEAR and FEEL sound in hi-fidelity. EDGE Sound Research helps the gamer immerse themselves into the sonic landscape, painstakingly created by the developer, by leveraging the fact that their technology allows the player to both HEAR and FEEL sound. Footsteps are felt as much as heard, and physical location is easier to be instantly determined. Gamers increase their communication ability, response time and overall performance, creating revenue drivers for esports leagues as both the audience and gamers amplify their experience like never before.
- Happied (Washington, D.C.; happied.co) is an online team building and client engagement that teams actually enjoy. Happied’s online experience platform is bringing the joy of sharing in food and drink together to groups, teams and fans around the world.
- Knoow (New York, NY; knoow.co) is a real-time, location-based, search and service engine that connects users to others at specific locations they want to visit. Knoow offers a level of detail and insight into the current status and availability of a location that no other app can currently offer.
- LeagueOS (Minneapolis, MN; leagueos.gg) is an esports registration, operation, engagement and content all-in-one system. LeagueOS is a solution for sports and esports registration, operation, engagement and content. LeagueOS started as software for managing and presenting drone racing. After running hundreds of races, that software (Hydra FPV) inspired the creation of a youth drone racing league requiring tools for handling individual and team registration, gear and merch, player agreements, badging and more. By conquering the hardest sport out there from end-to-end, LeagueOS is moving into the esports world for its uniquely full-service SaaS solution.
- Local Sports Network (Austin, TX; localsports.network) is strengthening ties between high schools, sports fans and athletes. Local Sports Network lets users watch high school games, purchase fan apparel and interact in a sports-focused social network. The company realizes that sports are about more than wins and losses; they are about family, identity and memory. Through sports, people come together as communities to participate in a shared set of rituals and traditions that provide a way to make meaning and build bonds. This perspective is at the core of everything Local Sports Network creates.
- Node (Toronto, Ontario, Canada; node-app.com) is a marketplace that lets influencers receive gifts for creating branded posts. Node allows any consumer brand to turn their inventory into high-quality videos and testimonials created by micro-influencers on Instagram and TikTok.
- OneScreen.ai (Boston, MA; onescreen.ai) is a SaaS-enabled market network that is transforming offline advertising – from billboards and transit to bars and stadiums. OneScreen.ai’s market network/SaaS-enabled marketplace enables marketers to do more than just search for inventory – it includes the ability use data, agency partnerships and even seemingly mundane things (that are currently huge blockers) such as buying printing services for billboards or wrapped ice cream trucks.
- SoleSafe (Saint Paul, MN; solesafe.co) is a sneaker insurance tech company. SoleSafe will be the first to market with insurance coverage specifically designed for sneakers. Fundamentally, the company is creating a dynamic valuation/appraisal model with insurance coverages that protect “sneakerheads” from losing their market value in the event of any unplanned disaster.
Alongside Techstars’ industry-leading resources, these 10 startups will have the exclusive opportunity to learn from Twins mentors, including members of the club’s senior leadership team and a representative cross-section of the organization’s business and baseball operations: Dave St. Peter (President & Chief Executive Officer), Laura Day (Executive Vice President & Chief Business Officer), Kip Elliott (Executive Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer/Chief Financial Officer), Joe Pohlad (Executive Vice President, Brand Strategy & Growth), John Avenson (Senior Vice President, Technology), Jason Lee (Senior Vice President, Business Strategy & Analytics), Meka Morris (Senior Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer) and Daniel Adler (Assistant General Manager, Baseball Operations). Those five are joined by mentors from the Pohlad Companies in Elizabeth Lilly (Chief Investment Officer), Rachel Lockett (Chief Information Officer) and Denise Mallery (Chief Marketing & Communications Officer).
Techstars’ track record of success includes an average of $1 million raised post-program, along with 85 percent of accelerator graduates remaining currently active or being acquired.