NFLPA Pitch Day Presented by Panini America Features Women- and Minority-Led Startups Contending for Funding, Mentorship and NFLPA Group Licensing Rights
NBA legend and business leader Earvin “Magic” Johnson to host; entrepreneur and former NFL Pro Bowler Justin Forsett will serve as moderator; Chats with Kathy Ireland, Magic Johnson & DeMaurice Smith
– New aspects include All-Athlete judges panel with Brian Orakpo, Nneka Ogwumike, Golden Tate & Sydney Colson; “Young Entrepreneur Award” via Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute; VIP Roundtables presented by Ureeka –
WASHINGTON D.C., January 28, 2021 – The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and OneTeam Partners are proud to announce the six women- and minority-run early-stage businesses that will present their products and services to athletes, industry experts and investors at the 5th annual NFLPA Pitch Day presented by Panini America, the exclusive trading card partner of the NFLPA. The event will be held virtually on Wednesday, February 3 as Just Women's Sports, round21, Armored Things Inc., Fangage, Naturade and Monarc present how their businesses connect with the sports industry as well as their plans for aligning with athletes. The startups will compete for access to funding, mentorship and the NFLPA’s unique assets, which may include group licensing rights. To register for the event, visit here.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2021 NFLPA PITCH DAY:
- Hosted by basketball legend and businessman Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, which provides products and services that focus primarily on ethnically diverse and underserved urban communities. Still a commanding presence in the sports world, Mr. Johnson co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Los Angeles Sparks, the Los Angeles Football Club, and the eSports franchise Team Liquid.
- Entrepreneur and retired NFL standout Justin Forsett will serve as moderator. He is founder and CEO of Hustle Clean, a mission-driven, Black-owned business committed to empowering the pursuit of greatness.
- Pitches will be judged by an all-star panel of athletes touting their own business acumen, featuring entrepreneur and retired NFL Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo, four-time WNBA All-Star and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike, investor and Pro Bowl receiver Golden Tate as well as WNBA veteran and member of the league's Social Justice Council Sydney Colson.
- The winning pitch will garner additional prizes including $25,000 in player marketing from the NFLPA, $25,000 in services from OneTeam, and strategic consultation from Allied, a full-service integrated global marketing agency that works with the world’s largest entertainment, lifestyle and sports brands including the NFLPA and OneTeam.
- Conversation with entrepreneur, philanthropist and NFL Players Inc. Board members, Kathy Ireland and venture capitalist Jenny Abramson as well as Shannon Allen, the founder and CEO of grown, the first 100% certified organic fast-food restaurant with a drive thru. Ms. Ireland is Chair, CEO and Chief Designer of kathy ireland Worldwide, listed as the 26th most powerful brand in the world by License Global. A human rights activist, Ireland and kiWW support many causes including human freedom and equality, as well as women and children’s health and education. Abramson is Founder & Managing Partner of Rethink Impact, the largest, US-based impact venture capital firm with a gender lens that invests in female leaders using technology to solve the world's biggest problems.
- Conversation with Earvin “Magic” Johnson and NFLPA Executive Director and OneTeam Board Member DeMaurice Smith.
- VIP roundtables with athletes and experts Melissa Bradley, Randy Komisar and Dave Jakubowski presented by Ureeka, a mentorship platform where entrepreneurs have access to the people, programs and connections they need to grow. NFL Players Inc. Advisory Committee members Isaiah Kacyvenski, Ryan Mundy and Marshall Newhouse will also provide insights on investment, innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity.
- The “Young Entrepreneur Award” recognizing an up-and-coming minority innovator, with candidates sourced through the Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING:
EARVIN “MAGIC” JOHNSON, Basketball Hall of Famer; Chairman & CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises: “Becoming a businessman was always my dream. I was blessed to be able to leverage my platform as an athlete to achieve that dream and my mission of helping the underserved communities. The minority- and women-owned businesses participating in NFLPA Pitch Day have a unique opportunity to share their vision with industry experts and incredible athletes for valuable feedback and growth.”
STEVE SCEBELO, President, NFL Players Inc.: “Pitch Day is one of many platforms the NFLPA is building to help close the gap for minorities and women as well as for athletes in business and investment. Combined with new aspects of our program, including perspectives from athletes and industry experts and an award to celebrate an up-and-coming minority entrepreneur, we are excited to hear from the pitch companies who are primed for business growth and collaboration.”
KATHY IRELAND, Chair, CEO, & Chief Designer, kiWW; NFL Players Inc. Board Member:“What the NFLPA is doing is truly powerful, in leading the way and inspiring other organizations to support the entrepreneurial aspirations and advancements of women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Knowledge is power, and by sharing it we can change the lives of many as well as our communities.”
RICKY MEDINA, Vice President of Business Development & Licensing, OneTeam: “Sports is both a unifier and a platform to bolster new business and innovation. OneTeam is happy to support these outstanding minority- and women-led businesses through the NFLPA and all the athletes we represent.”
JUSTIN FORSETT, former NFL Pro Bowl running back; founder & CEO of Hustle Clean: “As athletes, we have incredible opportunities to develop our social expertise and competitiveness to build success in business. Together with the NFLPA, our player members and partners, we’re going to use our own experiences to help many young minority- and women-owned businesses that deserve greater exposure, opportunity and investment.”
HORACE FLOURNOY, Founder & CEO, SwayBrand, a winning pitch from 2020 Pitch Day: “Pitch Day positioned us to gain valuable insights directly from NFL players which helped improve the SwayBrand user experience. Our partnership with the NFLPA has exceeded expectations, and we hope each of this year’s participants can experience the power of partnership that we’ve enjoyed for a startup in the earliest stages.” – .
NFLPA PITCH DAY COMPANY PROFILES:
Founder Haley Rosen – Only 4% of sports coverage is dedicated to women's sports. Just Women’s Sports is here to change that. They have teamed up with some of the best athletes in the world to change how women’s sports are covered. From highlights to podcasts, newsletters, and exclusive interviews, Just Women’s Sports is bringing everything fans need to see and know in women’s sports.
Founder Jasmine Maietta – As athletes increasingly want to express their individuality, the thing most core to their identity – what they play with – remains a blank canvas. round21 provides athletes a sense of who they are with what they play with by partnering with artists and creative talent to bring visual ideas to life on sports equipment.
Armored Things Inc.
Founder Julie Johnson Roberts – Armored Things is a software as a service solution that infuses data from existing video surveillance and Wi-Fi infrastructure to provide a heat map of people and movement across venue spaces in real-time, historically, and predictively. By combining cameras, Wi-Fi, and other integrations data, the service can provide an accurate count of occupancy and crowd flow at any point in time.
Founder Josh Bryant – Fangage connects influencers, brands, and fans. The company’s digital autograph system allows fans to upload photos to their favorite celebrities and receive an autographed copy in return. Celebrities can sign fan photos from any smart device.
Founders Claude Tellis and Kareem Cook – Naturade sells plant-based meal replacements and weight loss shakes. It is trying to eradicate pre-diabetes in underserved communities. Claude and Kareem believe everyone should have access to quality food regardless of income, location, and race.
Founders Bhargav Maganti and Igor Karlicic – Monarc is a sports robotics and software company developing the Seeker, the world’s first robotic quarterback system that allows receivers to train alone for the first time ever. The motorized robotic quarterback has a six-ball magazine that can fire out footballs to various body positions in just nine seconds. The speed is adjustable but can reach as high as 75 mph for punt and kickoff work.