ORGANIC BABY FOOD MAKER FRESH BELLIES CHOSEN AS WINNING PITCH AT NFLPA ONETEAM COLLECTIVE PITCH DAY IN ATLANTA; MOBILE BARBER APP, THECUT, VOTED AUDIENCE FAVORITE
The NFL Players Association’s athlete-driven accelerator, OneTeam Collective, hosted its third annual pitch competition on January 30, 2019, at Switchyards in Atlanta, where a select group of 10 innovative early stage startups each made their case to become a portfolio company of the OneTeam Collective and potentially access funding, mentorship and the NFLPA’s exclusive group licensing rights.
The entrepreneurs pitched their strategies and cutting-edge technologies and products to Athlete Advisory Board members Kelvin Beachum, Jr., Mark Herzlich, Dhani Jones, Isaiah Kacyvenski, Ryan Mundy, Ryan Nece and Russell Okung; OneTeam Collective Board of Directors; investors; and executives from sports, entertainment and technology.
An expert panel of judges – including VP of Licensing at The Brandr Group and USA Women’s Baseball player Malaika Underwood; former NFL player and NFLPA president Eric Winston; NFLPA Deputy Managing Director and Special Counsel Teri Smith; ESPN analyst and Fantasy Life founder Matthew Berry; and Rouz Jazayeri, founder of Catapult Ventures – questioned the prospects following their pitches and evaluated potential impact in the market and future opportunities for growth.
This year’s winning pitch came from organic baby food maker, Fresh Bellies, a revolutionary brand first-to-market with an innovative philosophy to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity. Fresh Bellies, founded by former NBA marketing executive Saskia Sorrosa, targets change in a dated baby food industry that has traditionally offered bland flavoring with a disproportionate and unhealthy amount of fruit-to-vegetable ratio. The new line of organic baby food is reshaping the business through palate development and utilizes vegetables and herbs and spices as seasoning, which shapes nutritional preferences early on and encourages healthier choice later in life. As the winning pitch, Fresh Bellies received $25,000 in NFL Player marketing credit that can be used for activations and player endorsements, and will obtain consulting services from OneTeam Collective founding partner, CSM LeadDog. By virtue of having the winning pitch, Fresh Bellies will also have a priority opportunity to become a portfolio company.
A standing room only crowd also had a vote for their favorite pitch via the NFLPA event app. The winner of the audience vote was TheCut, a lifestyle brand that is modernizing the barbershop experience by connecting barbers and clients via an intuitive app. As audience favorite, TheCut was granted $15,000 credit for potential NFL Player activations and involvement.
Each company that pitched the OneTeam Collective will still have a chance to become portfolio partners. Other startups that pitched at this year’s event, included: mobile sports auction company, Collectable; Artificial intelligence company, Genies; online crowdsourcing platform, GivingSquad; esports app, ReadyUp; smart performance wear company, Strive Tech; fantasy sports gaming platform, The Crown League; intelligent fitness system, Tonal; and STEM learning active play company, Unruly Studios. The previous winning pitches, and current OneTeam Collective portfolio partners, were Artificial intelligence augmented video company Octi (2017) and wearable tech brand, Whoop (2016).
ABOUT ONETEAM COLLECTIVE:
The sports industry’s first athlete-driven business accelerator for innovative companies seeking to incorporate sports strategies to drive growth. OneTeam Collective (oneteamcollective.com) is comprised of founding partners – NFLPA, BlackRock, Harvard Innovation Lab, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, CSM LeadDog, Madrona Venture Group and Sports Innovation Lab. The collective offers access to the NFLPA’s player membership via licensing, marketing and content rights, research and development, funding and mentorship for product development and marketing support. OneTeam Collective, which features an Athlete Advisory Board, is the first program providing rights to sports-related intellectual property, highlighted by the NFLPA’s exclusive group licensing rights and access to more than 2,000 current NFL players. Currently, nine partners are within the portfolio, spanning blockchain, wearables, voice recognition, digital media, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, health and wellness, active gaming and live video streaming.