Wearables headline winners from NFL startup competition

Three victors receive funding to help develop products further
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The confetti has fallen, the snack bowls are empty and everyone's already forgotten about those Superbowl LI ads.

While the Patriots made one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history, three sports tech startups - GoRout, Mobile Virtual Player and Windpact, also won big at the weekend as they were named winners in the 1st and Future NFL startup competition.

The event, held at the Texas Medical Center, marked the second year the NFL has collaborated with TMC to give nine startups the opportunity to showcase tech it believed can help advance football, with a winner being selected from each of the Communication, Training and Prevention sections.

Read this: Why the NFL is having its Moneyball moment

Pitching in front of a panel of judges which included NFL team owners and executives, the successful teams were awarded $50,000 from the league, two tickets to Super Bowl LI and, perhaps more importantly, acceptance into the Texas Medical Center Accelerator to help further develop their product.

GoRout Overview from GoRout on Vimeo.

Wearable tech was a staple within the competition, with GoRout, a forearm band that allows coaches and players to exchange digital play diagrams, winning the Communication category. The device managed to stave off competition from Toronto-based startup Elevety and UK-based LinkPro.

In the Training category, LVL and its hydration monitoring wearable and The Iron Neck training tool came up short against the Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) - a remote-controlled dummy that can be utilised during practice.

And lastly was the Protection category, which saw Windpact round out the three winners. The startup is led by former NFL cornerback Shawn Springs, and has come up with a padding system designed to absorb and disperse impact energy to improve the performance of helmets and other protective gear.

Just missing out in the same sector was 2nd Skull, a headgear company that develops products to reduce impact, and Prevent Biometrics' head impact monitor that can detect potential concussion-causing impacts in real time.

Wearables headline winners from NFL startup competition

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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