Meet the 2017 Start-Up Finalists

After careful deliberation, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) selected five finalists for the second annual SFIA Start-Up Challenge. The following entrepreneurs were chosen because their companies strive to bring innovation to the sports & fitness industry.

At SFIA Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) on September 13 in Chicago, these finalists will will have 15 minutes to pitch their new product or service to a panel of senior executive judges. So with out further adieu let’s meet the minds behind these innovative brands:


A personal trainer who knows the users every move. With sensors throughout the clothing, she tracks posture and movement. She guides and monitors users practice, and provides feedback on form and progress, all delivered in real-time in the user’s ear.

Steven Webster
Steven Webster

In-between captaining, competing and coaching Edinburgh University Karate Club, Steven graduated in Computer Science and Electronics. A 4th degree black belt, he proceeded to coach for Edinburgh during the most successful period of the club’s history – coaching several hundred students, awarding over 20 black belts and winning 10 consecutive national championships. Winner of PWC Coach of the Year award, Steven funded his sport coaching as a full-time hardware and software engineer. Selling his first startup to Adobe in 2005, Steven built a global consulting team winning awards with clients including Nike, NFL and BBC. In 2012 Microsoft asked him to create a new innovation group working with products like Cortana and Kinect to craft new digital experiences for events including London 2012 Olympics and Rio World Cup. Convinced technology has evolved to enable a new category of sport coaching, Steven left Microsoft in 2014 to start asensei.


Locally and Heart-Stacked-White

An omni-channel shopping technology company that connects online shoppers to nearby, in-stock merchandise for premium brands. 


Mark Strella


Mark Strella is the Director of Business Development at Locally, a leading provider of omni-channel shopping technology for premium brands and retailers. At Locally, Mark leads the sales and client success teams and spearheads growth initiatives. Also a musician.



A cloud-based Smart Court sports video and analytics platform, integrating what happens on-court with an interactive and social online community.

Chen Shachar
Chen Shachar

Chen Shachar brings years of extensive experience in state-of-the-art 3D based simulation, visualization and training systems. Before establishing PlaySight Interactive, Chen was the CTO at Rontal Applications, a start-up in the homeland security market, head of Training & Simulation at Ness A.T. and R&D manager at Simtech Advanced Training & Simulation.

Chen holds an ME in System Engineering and a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering both from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology at Haifa.



The company’s newest technology, ShotTracker TEAM, automatically captures real-time practices and game stats for an entire basketball team. The technology utilizes sensors that communicate with each other to capture player and ball movement as well as court location.

Davyeon Ross

Davyeon Ross, the Co-Founder and COO of ShotTracker, Inc., is an innovative technology leader and widely recognized entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the technology space. Prior to co-founding ShotTracker, Davyeon was the founder and CEO of Digital Sports Ventures and served as lead technical and management consultant for eVergance Partners. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, Ross was a four-year letterman for Benedictine College’s basketball team. Ross earned a bachelor of science in Computer Science during his time at Benedictine and later earned his MBA from Mid-America Nazarene University.


VERT logo

Wearable athletic technology focused on creating a better experience for athletes, coaches and fans. Used in a variety of sports, including basketball, volleyball, running and other health and fitness activities.

Martin MATAK headshot
Martin Matak

Martin Matak is the founder and President of VERT a company focused on wearable technology with broadcast and social integrated experiences. Prior to founding VERT, Martin Matak spent over 16 years in the advertising and marketing profession with key positions at Zimmerman Advertising. He concluded his career as the Chief Client Officer for the automotive retail division prior to transitioning into the wearable technology industry. Mr. Matak received a B.S. degree in Advertising from the University of Florida with outside concentration in Astrophysics.

The winner will be announced during the Awards Ceremony during Day One of the 2017 Industry Leaders Summit and will receive a spotlight in the SFIA Insider Blog, a commemorative plaque, a free year long membership to SFIA, and a six-week public relations campaign from Uproar PR.

Register for the 2017 ILS, here. To attend the Start-Up Challenge, click ‘yes’ when registering for the 2017 ILS.


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