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According to Monday’s announcement, the program targets companies that use Nike+ technology, including the FuelBand and Nike+ Running app, to create products and services for athletes to get help in training, coaching, and data visualization.
The accelerator, which will be based near Nike’s Portland, Ore. headquarters, will accept ten companies to participate and be mentored by Nike executives and other tech industry leaders. Mentors include Stefan Olander, Nike’s Vice President of Digital Sport; David Cohen, founder and CEO of TechStars; Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of Foursquare; and quantified-self expert Tim Ferriss.
TechStars, which was founded in 2007 and says 120 of its companies have raised north of $200 million in venture capital to date, operates out of five cities. The new Nike accelerator and the Microsoft Accelerator are the only two programs that it powers outside of its traditional accelerators.
Given the momentum behind quantified self fitness and health tracking gadgets and software, Nike’s interest in supporting sports and fitness innovation makes plenty of sense. In addition to Nike’s technology, companies like Fitbit, Striiv and Jawbone help people monitor their physical activity. By supporting startups in digital health and fitness, Nike can stay ahead of the curve and encourage more fitness-focused companies to use Nike technologies.