Sports and health technology investor leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners and private investment organization Tavistock Group have come together to launch the $30 million Lake Nona Sports & Health Tech Fund for early-stage startups in the areas of fan engagement, connected athletes, health and well-being.
In addition to both of those general partners, investors in the fund include Kevin Reid, Andrew White and Harold Primat, leAD co-founder and CEO Christoph Sonnen told TechCrunch.
Founded in 2016, leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners was inspired by Adi Dassler, who founded sportswear company Adidas. Dassler’s family is one of the partners and biggest funders to date, Sonnen said.
Its first fund, called Advantage, invested at the Series A stage and has four companies under it currently, and will eventually have 10 to 15 companies in the portfolio, Anne Joachim, leAD’s finance director, said.
The Lake Nona fund will invest in seed and pre-Series A to support founders by bridging the gap between those two rounds to help them grow, she added. The fund is expected to be able to invest in 20 companies with smaller ticket sizes.
“When we moved to Nona, we were looking to integrate between sports and health tech, especially in the areas of mindfulness and longevity, which are two hot topics we are seeing,” Sonnen said.
The new fund comes as the global sports technology market is poised to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 17.5% to reach $40.2 billion by 2026, up from a valuation of around $17.9 billion in 2021, according to consultancy ResearchandMarkets.com.
Sonnen expects sports, esports and healthcare to be one big trend, driven by the global pandemic, that he doesn’t see stopping soon. For example, rather than people going back to the gym exclusively, it will be a hybrid of workouts and a bigger emphasis on sleep and recovery.
Of the technology out there, Joachim says devices enabling users to train in different ways is one of the more faster-moving segments.
“We learned during COVID about training without the gym, and we see more fascinating things coming out of that,” she added. “We are already seeing new technologies really disrupt the market and expect this to continue over the next couple of the years. We are also seeing more companies focused on mindfulness and training the brain like your body.”