June 11th, 2013

Making it count: Nike+ Accelerator powered by TechStars launches 10 new Nike FuelBand focused startups

Making it count: Nike+ Accelerator powered by TechStars launches 10 new Nike FuelBand focused startups

With apologies to Robert Frost… something there is that does love a demo day. For any startup accelerator. But when it comes to combining TechStars—arguably the king of startup demo days—and Nike—one of the leading consumer brands on the planet—it’s sure to be an amazing show. And that it was, as the Nike+ Accelerator powered by TechStars unveiled its inaugural class at Nike world headquarters in Beaverton.

All told, ten new companies took the stage in front of a packed house of nearly 800 people—making it the largest startup demo day in the Portland metropolitan area, ever.


Here’s who pitched, what they do, and what they’re raising:


A platform modernizing the coach’s clipboard with an interactive digital playbook together with digital training and instruction.

Coachbase has the #1 paid sports app in the App Store with more than 150,000 paid users. They’re raising $1 million with $325,000 currently committed.


An active gaming studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity.

The first game from Chroma is called “Jumpbots,” a game that allows you to add upgrades and augment character performance through Nike Fuel. They did not disclose the amount they were raising or when the game would be released.


A social giving platform giving people the opportunity to turn movement into a charitable donation.

Fitcause will be launching their beta backed by the Nike Hurley brand. They are currently raising $500,000.


Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver workouts for fitness and sports.

FitDeck is in the midst raising $500,000.


A mobile rewards platform that gives users rewards for physical activity and healthy choices.

Highfive is launching with a partnership with EA Sports. They are raising $1 million.


A gaming peripheral that captures kids physical activity and converts it into digital coins game tokens and rewards.

Clearly, the most aggressive company of the group, Geopalz is in in the middle of a $5 million raise—with $3 million already committed and a partnership with Disney Club Penguin, to boot.


A one-stop destination that helps people find, book and review fitness classes and activities.

GoRecess is raising $500,000.

NextStep.io (formerly RecBob)

A dashboard that simplified the connection between the quantified self and the rest of your life.

NextStep is raising $350,000 with $100,000 committed.


An enterprise app that inspired employees to get fit and give employers the tools to managed measure wellness.

Sprout is raising $1 million.

Totem (formerly Incomparable Things)

A new way to discover and share adventures.

Totem is raising $500,000.

Interested in more on Demo Day or the individual companies? GeekWire has done an awesome job of covering the Nike+ Accelerator.

Assessing the impact of the Nike+ Accelerator

I’ve had the pleasure of documenting this story since its beginning. From the first announcement of the Nike and TechStars partnership to the hiring of Dylan Boyd to demo day. And it’s been amazing ride.

But what’s next? Given that 9 of the 10 startups were from outside of Portland, it will be interesting to see if any stick. We can be hopeful—given our amazing spring this year—that some of them will remain put. But at the very least, they’ll still have very strong ties to that little athletic apparel company out in Beaverton. And that they’ve had the chance to experience the Portland startup scene.

Which brings me to, perhaps, and even more compelling point of the story.

The Nike+ Accelerator startups haven’t been the only folks dipping their proverbial toes in the Portland startup scene waters. Perhaps just as important, two other incredibly interesting entities–Nike and TechStars—have now been fully immersed in the Portland startup scene. Experiencing mentors and startups and the dynamic that we find some compelling.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I remain hopeful that that exposure—often an infectious, one at that—proves to another fringe benefit of this pursuit. And proves to draw both TechStars and Nike closer to the Portland startup scene.

But for now, we’ll just have to wait and see. I, for one, am hoping that this whole thing fuels the next generation of Portland startups.

Thank you to Kirsten Golden for contributing a ton to this post.

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8 Responses to “Making it count: Nike+ Accelerator powered by TechStars launches 10 new Nike FuelBand focused startups”

  1. Marcus Estes says:

    Thanks for the support, Rick! And just a head’s up – Chroma will be making a big announcement about our financing in the next few weeks.

    And Portland, can we all agree that we’ll do our best to keep a few of these companies here? Some of them are seriously considering relocation.

  2. [...] spent most of my day on the Nike campus yesterday with about 800 others (according to Silicon Forest) attending the TechStars and Nike+ Accelerator Demo Day. With only a modicum of hyperbole I can [...]

  3. Will Butler says:

    Frost’s “Mending Wall” is a poem of two neighbors who meet to make repairs to a shared fence, yet neither have cattle to justify the wall being there. One neighbor speaks to this but the other simply replies “good fences make good neighbors.” This causes the first neighbor to see the other as a holdover from an outdated era.

    So which neighbor are you implying is Nike and which neighbor is Tech Stars?

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    Will, Are you trying to make me put my English literature degree to good use? :) I was making no implications about either party being outdated. That’s why I changed the connotation from “doesn’t like” to “does like.”

  5. Will Butler says:

    Hey man if you’re going to reference Frost in your opening line you’ve got to be prepared to back it up. Connotation or not, it’s awkward to reference “Mending Wall” for any other reason than as a younger entity challenging the way it’s always been done.

    To me, this seems to be exactly why Nike and TechStars teamed up in the first place. Nike knows they have walls in their R&D that younger tech might shake up to the benefit of everyone involved. And I must say it gives me a tremendous amount of respect for them as a corporation.

  6. Rick Turoczy says:

    Will, I’ll make sure to keep my literary references to a minimum in the future. Although, I must admit that I do like your take.

  7. Will Butler says:

    Rick, please keep the literary references coming! It’s quite fun mixing / analyzing the carry-overs between literature and tech. And heck, had it not been for the opening Frost line in TechStars FB post I never would have ended up here.

  8. [...] to reach runners using relevant apps and reward them with a drink after a workout. (HighFive was one of 10 early-stage firms selected for an accelerator program run by Nike and Techstars.) The company, working on its public launch, [...]

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