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Houston university awards grant to Texas accelerator to support sports tech

The grant from Rice is part of "several financial commitments" the university is making to support inclusivity at the Ion District. Photo courtesy of The Ion

Rice University awarded DivInc. an $800,000 grant this month to support its work in sports technology.

The Texas-based company, which operates numerous accelerators, focuses on BIPOC and female founders working toward social and economic equity through entrepreneurship. The grant from Rice is part of "several financial commitments" the university is making to support inclusivity at the Ion District.

DivInc runs its Sports Tech Accelerator out of The Ion, which recently named its latest cohort for the 2024 Sports Tech Accelerator.

“We’ve been in Houston since 2021, so we’re extremely honored and grateful to partner with Rice University,” Preston James, CEO and founder of DivInc, said in a statement. “Leveraging the top university sports management program in the U.S., Rice’s highly ranked sports medicine and sport analytics programs, we’re providing exceptional value to our portfolio of companies ... Sports tech is a vast and rapidly growing industry that represents a tremendous opportunity for diverse founders.”

Among the 10 companies selected for DivInc's current 12-week sports accelerator are a cash-back powered marketplace designed for the golf industry, a scouting automation software, an artificial intelligence company that collects real-time biometrics on athletes, and others.

Selected founders can receive up to $100,000 and access to curriculum, as well as mentorship from executives from the Houston Rockets, Houston Astros, San Antonio Spurs, Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, Mercury Fund, The Collectiv, HTX Sports Tech and more.

“We have strategically created one of the nation’s premier accelerator programs in Houston, Texas, dedicated to supporting BIPOC and women founders driving innovation in the sports industry by leveraging best practices and insights from stakeholders within the sports tech ecosystem,” Ashley DeWalt, DivInc’s managing director of startups and programs, said in a statement.

DivInc also launched its first DWeb for Social Impact Accelerator from the Ion last fall. The 12-week intensive hybrid program sponsored by Filecoin Foundation for the Decentralized Web, supported nine companies, all of whom integrate Web3 technologies into their impact entrepreneurship, and each of the companies selected were awarded a non-dilutive $10,000 grant to use during the course of the program.

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