Overview of the Latin American SportsTech landscape

A big opportunity for Sports & Technology

Sports, and football in particular, has always been a great passion in South America. In recent years the continent was spoiled with the World Cup and the Summer Olympics, both being hosted by Brazil. So we decided to have a look at the Latin American countries from a SportsTech perspective.

First thing we noticed is that we have significantly less SportsTech startups than in Europe or the US. We screened about 200 companies and a bit more than 100 out of these ultimately made it into our overview. But we found some noteworthy success stories: Netshoes, an ecommerce company, has done its IPO, and Esporte Interativo, a television network, was sold to Turner. Besides that there are a lot of companies running exceptionally well: Gympass gives access to lots of gyms and activities with just one membership. BTFIT provides with customized exercises and online coaches and trainings. And Torcedores crowdsources football related content and incentivizes the authors. When taking a look on the overall landscape there seems to be a clear trend towards two topics: Football (of course) and Fitness. The ecosystem itself is not yet tailored specifically to Sports, but benefiting from great initiatives like Startup Chile. One of the few sports specific formats we’ve found is the #SportsBizLatam event series.

This article is a co-production with Daniel Silva, a Brazilian serial entrepreneur with over 15 years of international experience in creating innovative products and scaling new business. In the technology world, he has launched over 50 Apps, top ranking the Brazilian AppStore and winning international prizes. He was also the leader and founder of VaiMoto, a last mile logistics platform, which he successfully exited in 2017. Daniel is currently based in Madrid and leading YNN Ventures, a global venture builder for the sports and wellness industry. Thanks for this initiative Daniel, that was both fun and productive!

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The four sectors of SportsTech

Here’s a brief description of how we divided the SportsTech landscape.

Activity & Performance: Solutions surrounding the actual performance, no matter if it’s before, during or after the activity. Typical offerings are data tracker, wearables and new kinds of sports equipment.

Management & Organisation: Solutions that help to manage organisations, venues, leagues and events. Also covers platforms to find other sportsmen, coaches, etc. and to buy products and services, such as tickets or trips.

Media & Fans: Solutions that provide sports interested people and companies with all kinds of content and data. Also includes social platforms that help with branding and connecting fans with athletes, teams, etc.

Games & Bets: Companies that provide eSports, Fantasy Sports and Betting solutions, for players & gamers and as a service.

Note: Some companies cover two or even more sectors/subsectors. For the purpose of this overview they had to be assigned to only one.

Startups

Here are some exciting Sports Tech companies emerging from LatAm that we want to highlight.

Appito: The application for those who want to organize football, play more ball and have the video game experience in real life

Broou: Surf forecast that talks to the surfer with an hourly summary for favorite peaks.

Fitco: Software and app for the growth of gyms or sports centers.

Fitpal: Access thousands of fitness classes of all specialties by paying for a single monthly subscription.

Fits: The advantages club for those who breathe sport and well-being.

InstaFit: Physical training app with new weekly content, routines of different levels and a wide variety of disciplines

Treinus: Develops technologies to optimize the management of sports consultants, coaches, personal trainers, academies and studios.

OneSports: One Sports enables sports and health sciences to seize from emerging high-end technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing and Big Data, and transform the lives of men and women.

Sports Match: Fan data company with the mission to understand and measure the passion of sports fans, creating technology and intelligence for the entire sports industry

Teembu: Training system for treadmills and fixed bikes, which projects landscapes from all over the world, providing information about the training and achieving a unique and different experience.

YogaCloud: Learn yoga online, at your own pace and with the best teachers.

Zen: An app that helps you to live a happier, healthier and more balanced life

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Interview with Marc Leman from Go4it Capital

Marc Leman is a Co-Founder at Go4it Capital, a company that focuses on the sports and games segments and creates and invests in content platforms that bring fans and brands together.

Which topic trends do you currently see globally?

The strongest trends globally are the quick growth of streaming, data analytics of everything, and eSports.

Which LatAm startups and/or initiatives excite you?

Go4it has an investment in GamersClub, a Brazilian esports competitions platforms which aims to become the gamer’s hub for esports. We are very excited with their growth and think there is a global opportunity. We are also excited for the Final Level content platform we will soon launch together with Brazil’s biggest gaming and esports influencers. These YouTubers and streamers will live together in a “Gameland” producing content daily, and a weekly game show.

What is still missing in the LatAm SportsTech?

LatAm’s fans love sports and are very social, making it a ripe region for innovation in sports, but a larger investment by federations, leagues, teams and broadcasters is still necessary for the scene to take off. At the same time, entrepreneurs need to be thinking about highly scalable businesses and dream about going global.

Distribution within Latin America

It’s pretty obvious that Brazil is dominating the Latin American SportsTech market, with 59% of all companies coming from there. Within Brazil it’s Sao Paulo who’s leading the race, being home for more SportsTech startups than Rio de Janeiro. From a sector perspective it’s interesting to see how focused the market is on solutions in the “Management & Organisation” sector, with lots of marketplace solutions and offerings for clubs and gyms. But also the “Activity & Performance” sector is strong, mostly due to solutions that help to prepare for workouts. This subsector is significantly stronger than in all the other landscape overviews we’ve published so far. What seems surprising is low amount of fan oriented offerings.

General situation

We came across a very interesting article by CB Insights from July 2018. It shows that investments into Latin American tech companies hit an all-time high in 2017, clearly topping the investments in the year before. Seems like something is going on in that part of the world. And if you look at it from a deal perspective, Brazil is the place to be in Latin America. The country had by far the most deals between 2012 and 2018, compared to the other countries. This matches our observations in the SportsTech sector.

Summary

Latin America is a booming tech region with a number of very interesting SportsTech startups, mainly in the fitness sector. We still see lots of potential, especially for building a Sports and Tech related ecosystem. Brazil is the clear regional leader, that’s why we expect the most promising activities to pop up from there in the future. But who knows, maybe one of the other countries will surprise us. We’re curious to see what has happened when we do the first update of this overview. Definitely a region worth exploring, besides the usual suspects in North America, Europe and Asia.

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More data coming up

I’m constantly publishing insights from the international SportsTech ecosystem and also run a podcast about SportsTech startups and the initiatives surrounding them. So stay tuned and feel free to connect!


Benjamin Penkert is the Founder of SportsTechX and Head of Consulting at leAD Sports in Berlin. You can get in touch via Linkedin, Twitter or email.

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