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Launch of WeSportUP, the first acceleration programme for innovative startups and SMEs in the sports and health sectors

Rome, 3 December 2020 - WeSportUP, the first accelerator of innovative startups and SMEs focused on the sport and health sectors, was pesented today in the presence of Fabrizio Palermo, Chief Executive Officer of CDP, Vito Cozzoli, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sport e Salute, Francesca Bria and Enrico Resmini, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDP Venture Capital SGR, respectively, and Alceo Rapagna, Chief Executive Officer of Startupbootcamp in Italy.

The programme will be based in Rome and will be managed by Sport e Salute together with Startupbootcamp, one of the world’s largest startup accelerators and the largest in Europe with over 1,000 companies in its portfolio. Together, they will define the scouting areas, select the best innovative startups and SMEs and accelerate them with mentorship and business development activities.

WeSportUP was established with an initial amount of 1.2 million euro fully subscribed, through the Fondo Acceleratori, by CDP Venture Capital SGR. The programme will involve around 30 innovative startups and SMEs over 3 years and will help provide financial support, together with third-party investors, to the most deserving businesses.

The project will also be open to other partner companies that intend to accelerate their innovation process by collaborating with the identified startups and supporting their development.

The acceleration programme target will be innovative startups and SMEs based in Italy, as well as international companies that wish to develop their business in our country by opening an office in Italy.

The innovation areas in which WeSportUP’s process will develop will be: athletes’ performance, their well-being and nutrition, fan engagement, the management of sports organisations and technologies for stadiums and sports infrastructure, e-sports and sustainability.

Over the last three years, global investments in sport & tech technologies have amounted to about 13 billion dollars. In Italy, the sports and health sector is a leading sector for the economy with 12 million members, 120 thousand sports clubs and associations, almost 40 thousand active businesses, 330,000 employees and approximately 17 billion euro in turnover.

“Sport is study. Sport is work. Sport is health. Sport is economy. Technology will help this world find a new industrial and international dimension. It is our contribution to Made in Italy, alongside that of the Italian champions on the field, on the track, in the gym”, comments Vito Cozzoli, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sport e Salute. “One of our aims is to promote social sports, but precisely to help the grassroots, the task of Sport e Salute is also to enhance the sports industry. This will have a multiplier effect for the whole system, from small clubs to professional clubs. The alliance with CDP pursues this same aim. The startup incubator goes exactly in this direction.”

“The WeSportUP acceleration programme has the ambition to develop an innovative entrepreneurial hub for the economic revival of the sports sector, particularly affected by the Covid-19 emergency, focusing on the development of digital technologies and startups with a strong strategic growth potential”, comments Francesca Bria, President of CDP Venture Capital SGR. “The launch of this programme sends out a strong signal of recovery for the entire ecosystem linked to sport, which represents a key sector for our country, thanks to the great work of the sports federations, athletes, sports medicine, sports associations and businesses that contribute to making it so. It is a sector that paves the way to well-being, sustainability and innovation, and is linked to those union, resilience and integration values that are the hallmark of our country and which, in this historical moment like never before, we need to recover.”

“Sport and wellness are undergoing an epochal change facilitated by new technologies and new engagement and entertainment methods, and this can be seen by the growing number of startups operating in this sector - more than 80 in Italy - and the related Venture Capital investments. Indeed, wearable technologies and fitness trackers have shaped not only the way in which we do physical exercise, but also the way in which we analyse and evaluate the performance of professional athletes during sports competitions. With WeSportUP we will work to effectively respond to the needs of a constantly evolving market”, comments Enrico Resmini, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of CDP Venture Capital SGR. “The launch of this new project is part of the strategy of building a network of vertical accelerators throughout the country, so that the development of quality startups becomes a driving force for innovation in our country, capable of attracting further investments and accelerating the development of cutting-edge technologies for key sectors.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Startupbootcamp in Italy, Alceo Rapagna, comments: “We are honoured to be able to make our international experience, in particular that of our SportsTech accelerators in Australia and Qatar and Digital Health in the Netherlands, available to the Italian sports and health sectors by supporting the growth of entrepreneurs and talents who will bring innovation to the benefit of athletes, sports enthusiasts and businesses.”

The launch of the WeSportUP accelerator is part of the overall strategy of CDP Venture Capital SGR - Fondo Nazionale Innovazione, to create a network of 20 physical accelerators in Italy focused in highly specialised technological districts. The first accelerator launched by CDP Venture Capital - Fondo Nazionale Innovazione was Motor Valley Accelerator, a programme dedicated to the automotive sector and located in the Modena district, which was set up at the start of November and will open its doors to startups in the first months of 2021.

The commitment of CDP Venture Capital SGR - Fondo Nazionale Innovazione to support the development of a Venture Capital ecosystem in Italy and of a new innovative entrepreneurship also takes place through the delivery of digital professional training through the Digital Xcelerator
platform, a course with over 120 free e-learning modules, which over 600 startups have already joined one month into their launch at the end of October.

HEAD OF COMMUNICATION CDP VENTURE CAPITAL SGR - FONDO NAZIONALE INNOVAZIONE

MEDIA RELATIONS CDP VENTURE CAPITAL SGR - FONDO NAZIONALE INNOVAZIONE​

Alessandra Acutisalessandra.acutis@cdpventurecapital.it348 8328308

PRESS OFFICE CDP VENTURE CAPITAL SGR - FONDO NAZIONALE INNOVAZIONE​

The ecosystem supporting innovation in Italy