Boston, Mass., January 24, 2017 – The Sports Innovation Lab today officially launched its market research and advisory platform that will identify and evaluate the technology companies, products, and services to power the future of the sports and fitness industry.
At launch, the Sports Innovation Lab’s flagship digital research platform gives client members access to more than 1,000 sports and fitness technology vendor profiles, organized into sectors that describe in depth each company’s capabilities in the markets they serve. Through these rich company profiles as well as video interviews from experts across the sports industry, Sports Innovation Lab clients will be the first to learn about game-changing technology markets and trends, and gain insights they need to make better strategic decisions.
The Sports Innovation Lab’s founders came from three very different backgrounds after recognizing the sea change occurring in the world of sports and fitness. Josh Walker is a proven venture-backed entrepreneur and former VP of Research from Forrester, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms. Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympic medalist, has spent over a decade in sports administration – she is a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board and Chair of its Athletes’ Commission, the Chief Strategy Officer for the LA 2024 Olympic bid. Isaiah Kacyvenski is a former NFL player and an expert in the area of quantified athlete, flexible electronics and wearable technology.
“In my role as an advisor to investors, agencies, teams, leagues, federations, brands and technology vendors I continuously saw people scrambling to make the difficult technology decisions required to build new venues, distribute new media, and design new fan experiences,” said Angela Ruggiero, Managing Director of The Sports Innovation Lab. “The opportunity was clear: introduce a clear and objective source of third-party research and data so decision-makers could move quickly and have more confidence in their decisions.”
“I continued to see companies in the sports and fitness space making large investments in technology with limited or partial information about the sports technology market,” said Isaiah Kacyvenski. “We have organized a comprehensive overview of global sports technology that is just a start to filling that need. The market is comprised of many areas of specialization. If you don’t understand that, you’re operating with incomplete perspective. We have a singular goal: building the leading global sports technology market research and consulting firm.”
The Sports Innovation Lab has the full support of the city of Boston as the ideal hub for global sports technology innovation. “Boston is a growing, thriving city – and that includes Boston's business community," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "Boston is also a city with a strong sports culture, and I'm thrilled the Sports Innovation Lab is taking two of Boston's best attributes and leading the way in sports innovation.”
Sports Innovation Lab is announcing several founding partners including IBM, Octagon, Gatorade, Booz Allen Hamilton, Go4It, STACK Media, Portico Capital, Harvard Innovation Labs, MIT Sports Tech Research Group (STE@M), the USC Center for Body Computing, and the NFLPA.
In addition to these founding partners, the Sports Innovation Lab is also proud to announce a panel of more than thirty world-class global advisors and innovators, whose market analysis and predictions will be available to clients on their website. The Sports Innovation Lab curates the opinions of these thought-leaders to provide additional insights into how technology is shaping the future of sports. Further, the academic arms will include the Harvard Innovation Labs, MIT Sports Tech Research Group (STE@M), and the USC Center for Body Computing, the Lab's West coast academic partner.
Companies interested in learning more about the Sports Innovation Lab can visit the company’s website, or attend an upcoming event on February 17th, “The Rise of the Quantified Athlete,” hosted in partnership with the NFLPA’s OneTeam Collective and Harvard Innovation Labs. This event will bring together athletes and experts who understand how athlete data is being captured, analyzed and shared.
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The Sports Innovation Lab identifies and evaluates the technology products and services that will power the future of sports. We have developed a digital market research platform and a world-class advisor network to help guide how companies make strategic technology decisions.
As founders of the Sports Innovation Lab, we are driven to use our unique market insights to mobilize global partnerships among high-tech companies, sports and fitness brands, investment capital firms, corporate influencers, and start-ups.
NFL veteran turned entrepreneur and investor, Isaiah has been involved in conceptualization, product development, business development, marketing, and sales across a broad range of tech, biotech, sports, and consumer applications.
Olympic Gold Medalist and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame with leadership positions at the highest levels of sport, including the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee, Angela guides the strategies of major sports organizations.
Former VP of Research at Forrester Research and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at General Catalyst, Josh has successfully launched and grown several venture-backed software and data businesses.
Managing Director, Sports Innovation Lab
Isaiah’s diverse background includes earning two degrees from Harvard, playing in the National Football League for 8 years between, and achieving success as an experienced entrepreneur and investor.
Mr. Kacyvenski is currently the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Sports Innovation Lab. Mr. Kacyvenski has a very deep background in wearable sensor technology as the former Global Head of Business Development and Chairman of the Sports Advisory Board at MC10, a cutting-edge conformal electronics company focused on optimizing objective physiological data capture outside of a controlled setting. Isaiah joined MC10 after graduating from Harvard Business School and remained there for 6 years as he was involved in the ideation, development, sales, and marketing of several different technologies at MC10, including the revolutionary, physiological data capturing electronic patch, the BioStamp, multiple award-winning CheckLight– a sports impact indicator– as well as the first-of- its-kind hydration monitor to name just a few. Isaiah is also an investor in, and advisor to, several companies in technology, sports, biotech, consumer, media, and sports medicine.
Isaiah holds a Cum Laude Bachelor degree in Pre-Medicine from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Isaiah also serves on the Elected Board of the Friends of Harvard Football as well as the National Advisory Board for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Isaiah currently serves on the elite Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Health and Fitness Technology Board. Isaiah is deeply involved with the long-term $100 Million Football Players Health Study at Harvard University, serving both as Player Advisor at Harvard Medical School and a Law and Ethics Advisory Panel Member at Harvard Law School. Isaiah is also a member of the NFLPA Health and Safety Committee, where he has served for over 4 years. Isaiah was also recently inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
After being named the Harvard University Male Athlete of the Year and becoming the highest draft pick in Harvard history, Isaiah played in the NFL for eight years, was elected Special Team Captain three years in a row and served in this role during Super Bowl XL. He is also a founding investor in the Massachusetts restaurant chain, b.good, which specializes in great tasting, healthy food, made fast. Prior to playing in the NFL and while at Harvard, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture doing testing for the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. While in their Lipid Metabolism Laboratory, he isolated and tested DNA for various genetic mutations involving heart disease risk in 2,500 men while working under Senior Scientist and Director Dr. Ernst Schaefer.
Isaiah is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Sports and Fitness Industry Leaders Scholar, PETA Compassionate Action Award, 1st Team AP All-American, Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award given to the "best, most academically talented; football player in New England". He was also the subject of an NFL Films profile about his rise from poverty to the NFL that received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Long Feature. He was also featured on an Oprah Winfrey show titled "Why They Beat the Odds" and founded the Maggie Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of his late Mother, with all proceeds going to the orphanage she grew up in, the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. Isaiah has pulled from his experiences to become an experienced motivational speaker that various swaths of society can relate to.
Isaiah remarried his high school sweetheart, Lauren, and they have two beautiful children, Isaiah Jr. and Lilliana.
Managing Director, Sports Innovation Lab
A four-time Olympic ice hockey player, Ruggiero grew up in Los Angeles. She graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University, where she was a four-time All-American, as well as an Academic All-American. She also holds an M.Ed. in Sports Management from the University of Minnesota and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Ruggiero currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for the 2024 Los Angeles Olympic Bidding Committee and is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Sports Innovation Lab, the leading independent market research and advisory firm delivering insights on the intersection of sports and technology.
Angela Ruggiero was appointed to the United States Olympic Committee of directors and began serving as an International Olympic Committee Member in February 2010, following her election to represent all Olympic athletes on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. She is the current Chair of the IOC Athlete’s Commission and a Member of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee.
In addition to Chairing the IOC Athletes’ Commission, she is a Member of the Executive Board (2016-); Member (2010-2014), Vice-Chair (2014-2016) then Chair (2016-) of the Athletes' Commission; Member of the following Commissions: Entourage (2010-2015), Evaluation then Coordination for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (2011-), Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport (2015-), Coordination for the XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 (2016-); Chair of the Coordination Commission for the 2nd Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 (2012-2016); Member of the Board of Directors of Olympic Channel Services S.A., Switzerland (2015-)
In addition to her duties on the IOC, Ruggiero is a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Athlete’s Commission and the IOC liaison to the newly formed International Rugby Board Athletes’ Commission, while also serving on the Foundation board of the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Executive Board of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
A star player on the U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team and 2015 Hockey Hall of Fame Member (as just the 4th woman), Ruggiero won a gold medal in 1998, silvers in 2002 and 2010, and bronze in 2006. During her 16-year career with the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team, she competed in more games than any other man or woman in USA Hockey history, playing in 10 world championships and earning the gold medal on four occasions.
Managing Director, Sports Innovation Lab
Josh Walker began his career as an aspiring sports journalist. After a very brief internship with the Vermont Expos as the voice from the crowd, Josh moved to Boston where he worked for Delphi Internet and wrote for local Boston newspapers. In 1997, Josh joined Forrester Research as a Research Associate in Forrester's Software and Architecture Group. As an entry-level market research associate, Josh interviewed CIOs of Fortune 1000 companies who were trying to navigate through the explosive growth of Internet-based technologies and adopt new programming models based on Java and XML.
Josh spent 6 years at Forrester moving quickly into the role of VP of Research. He started Forrester's TechRankings business – a product line designed to compete with Gartner's Magic Quadrant. Under his direction, TechRankings became one of the fastest growing products in Forrester's history. Josh eventually built a software testing lab at Forrester to support the growth of this business – which evolved into the Forrester Wave.
After Forrester, Josh spent time as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at General Catalyst – a leading venture captial firm. At General Catalyst, Josh worked closely with David Orfao and Jeremy Allaire on the launch of Brightcove and on other deals such as Kayak, Choicestream, and Demandware.
Since leaving General Catalyst, Josh has successfully launched and grown several venture-backed companies at the cross-section of software and data: CityVoter, Comlinkdata, and Stattleship. Josh currently runs the Boston Sports Analytics group and helps drive product direction and strategy for the Sports Innovation Lab. He began building the Sports Innovation Lab's research platform after meeting with owners and operators across professional sports. The opportunity was a familiar one. There were too many vendors selling complicated technology to buyers who wanted to optimize their operations without having to learn technology. The market wants an objective voice to help with these decisions and a way to demystify sports technology. In December 2016, Josh incorporated the Sports Innovation Lab with his partners Isaiah Kacyvenski and Angela Ruggiero to address this global market need.
We've assembled advisors who think critically about how technology is changing their sport and their industry.
Our advisors share their technology requirements, technology experiences, and technology perspectives on the future of sports innovation.
CEO, Korey Stringer Institute; Professor, Dept of Kinesiology at UCONN
Managing Director, MIT Sports Technology Research Group
Executive Vice President, AECOM
Analyst for ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown; Former NFL Quarterback
Founder, Rabil Companies; Investor; Professional Lacrosse Player
General Partner, North Bridge Venture Partners
Founder & Executive Director, USC Center for Body Computing
Senior Vice President, NBC Sports Ventures and Comcast Ventures
Founder & President, EXOS; Director of Performance, NFLPA
Olympic Gold Medalist, Short Track Speed Skating; IOC member
We are proud to welcome our founding corporate clients and academic partners. These groups see a future where technology drives the future of sport.
Our digital research platform enables us to identify and monitor the evolution of sports and fitness technology trends across thousands of global companies. We've identified these four trends as key areas of industry disruption: quantified athlete, smart venue, immersive media, and next generation sponsorship. Throughout 2017, we will be providing objective evaluations for products and services within each of these four trends.
We're focused on Quantified Athlete trend in Q1 2017. Quantified Athlete technology companies monitor, measure, and predict athlete training and performance.
The Sports Innovation Lab covers emerging and established sports and fitness technology companies. Members gain access to our digital research platform through an annual subscription. This membership includes access to our consulting and advisory services, which we tailor to each client based on their needs. To find out more about what an annual membership looks like, please reach out to us with your email address. We'd be happy to explore a fit with you and your organization.
Our research platform surfaces insights from professionals working at the intersection of sports and technology. These teaser videos are part of our on-going innovator series. Full length interviews are available to members on our digital research platform.
No one company innovates alone. The Sports Innovation Lab organizes events grounded in data analysis and market research so attendees can explore opportunities with new insights and greater clarity. From public startup showcases to private innovation breakfasts, we assemble the right content and experts to ignite our clients' imaginations and jumpstart new initiatives.