NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced it has selected five companies for the inaugural NBA Launchpad program, the league’s latest initiative to source, evaluate and pilot emerging technologies that impact the future of the game.
NBA Launchpad was introduced in June 2021 with a global search to identify cutting-edge solutions that directly addressed the following priority areas identified for the inaugural season of the program: Ankle Injury Innovation, Elite Youth Player Performance, Referee Training and Development and Youth Health and Wellness. NBA Launchpad received hundreds of submissions from a diverse applicant pool across 25 countries, ranging from early-stage startups to large research institutions.
To conduct a holistic review process, the NBA partnered with Pitchtape, an online pitch platform, and enlisted subject matter experts from the League Office and teams to evaluate each submission. The inaugural class of the NBA Launchpad program includes:
- BetterGuards (Berlin, Germany): Adaptive ankle protection system that provides advanced freedom of motion for athletes while actively preventing injuries.
- Breathwrk (Los Angeles, California): Health and performance app that provides science-backed breathing exercises, helping athletes wake up, calm down, increase stamina and fall asleep.
- Nextiles (Brooklyn, New York): Materials science company that quantifies human movement by merging sewing technologies with flexible electronics.
- Rezzil (Manchester, United Kingdom): VR-based solution for cognitive training, rehabilitation and game analysis.
- Uplift Labs (Palo Alto, California): AI-powered technology that delivers real-time movement tracking and 3D analysis to enhance health and performance.
“We are thrilled to introduce our NBA Launchpad program with such a diverse group of innovative products and solutions,” said Evan Wasch, Executive Vice President, Basketball Strategy & Analytics. “Each company brings something unique to the table that will improve the game of basketball.”
Over the next six months, NBA Launchpad portfolio companies will work alongside league and team advisors on R&D projects. Companies will also receive unique access to NBA events and exposure to the NBA’s ecosystem of partners and investors.