The young company Spalk, which originated in New Zealand, was declared the ultimate winner of THE SPOT’s Start-up Battle operated by Venturelab as the two-day event at the SwissTech Convention Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, has come to a close. 

Despite strong competition from over 40 competitors, Spalk took the win and received a total cash prize of CHF 5,000 – CHF 1,000 in the preliminary round topped up with CHF 4,000 for the ultimate title of Start-up Battle 2019 winner. The audience also had a say in the proceedings, as they were given the opportunity to vote by phone for its favourite start-up, with the majority going to Fun With Balls.

Spalk offers a virtual commentary studio, allowing leagues and broadcasters to add multilingual and alternate commentaries to their existing live broadcasts from commentators behind their laptops, anywhere in the world and targeting fans demographically.

Thrilled winner Ben Reynolds from Spalk said: “We saw THE SPOT as a great opportunity to get potential partners and interesting customers in one place to tell them more about the Spalk story. It was an incredible line-up of start-ups, so we feel very humbled to walk away with the big win today!” 

Asked to give his thoughts about THE SPOT, Reynolds said: “It's been a fantastic event! We have really enjoyed our time in Lausanne. It's incredible to see the diversity of not only the start-ups but also the innovation coming out of all the federations, the universities, and everything here. We are really excited.”

Start-ups specialising in blockchain, virtual reality, data analytics, connected venue, performance & health, fan engagement and other fields went head-to-head in front of an enthusiastic crowd and an impressive jury made up of investors, experts from the Olympic Movement, and business leaders.

There were four preliminary rounds held yesterday and each featuring 10 to 12 start-ups. The three other group winners that earned CHF 1,000 and a place in today’s final were: Dazzl from France, IKISPORT from Switzerland and Fun With Balls from Germany.

Spalk was not the only champ of the day as Advanced Sport Instruments (A.S.I.) won the “Swiss Coup de Cœur”, a CHF 2,000 prize offered by the extended organising committee to the most promising Swiss start-up of the competition. In addition, a Discovery start-up battle provided an opportunity for 16 early-stage start-ups to present their innovative ideas to an audience of industry professionals.

Other highlights of the day have included lively and engaging panel discussions on the impact of sport on society, new audio and voice-recognition technologies, augmented reality, eSports, sustainability in sport, betting and sport as entertainment. Discussions and panels were delivered by world-class guest speakers of the likes of Cathy Pearl, Head of Conversation Design Outreach at Google; Julia Palle, Senior Sustainability Consultant at Formula E; Anne-Cécile Turner, Sustainability Program Leader – The Ocean Race at Blueshift; Gerry Pennell, Chief Information & Technology Officer at the International Olympic Committee; Manuel Hubault, Senior Vice President, Brand Partnerships, Global at Universal Music Group; Franck Choquard, Head of Content & Servicing at Eurovision Sport; Craig Hepburn, Head of Digital at UEFA; Prof. Karl Aberer, Professor at EPFL; and Jean-Luc Jezouin, SVP Business Development at Nagra Kudelski Group.

“We are really pleased with this second edition of THE SPOT and have received very positive feedback,” said organiser of THE SPOT Anna Hellman, Director of ThinkSport. “It’s still a young event, but we have the feeling that we are helping to form a really dynamic sports and innovation community in the region and beyond, which is keen to share fresh ideas and team up with other creative partners.” 

She added: “THE SPOT serves as an annual meeting point for this smart crowd, however with our new Sports Innovation Hub, we will now have a solid and permanent platform for sport and innovation in the region.”

At the opening of THE SPOT, it was announced that Eurovision Sport, Nagra Kudelski, SwissTiming and UEFA will officially support the new Sport Innovation Hub.

For this second edition of THE SPOT, 850 delegates from 35 countries representing 450 organisations and companies were present. Participants included over 150 employees from Sport Federations and the International Olympic Committee, 80 start-ups and over 55 international speakers. The Market Place and Demo Zone featured over 50 start-ups changing booths each day, 12 corporate stands as well as Houses for Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.

Save the date as THE SPOT will be back for a third edition on 12 and 13 May 2020! Stay tuned for more information and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram! Use #TheSpot2019 to join or continue the conversation.