Meet The 10 Startups In The Nike Techstars Accelerator

Techstars,Nike,Portland startups,accelerator,startup newsTechstars, the world renowned accelerator network has been beefing up there offerings with new locations, like Techstars Chicago and new vertical accelerators in conjunction with Microsoft and Nike.  When announced late last year, the startup space was on fire over the possibilities that would come from an accelerator driven by Nike and TechStars.

The Nike accelerator is buit around their NikeFuel digital platform and the Nike Fuel band.

“We are excited by the response to the Nike+ Accelerator and the high caliber of applicants to the program,” Stefan Olander, Nike’s vice president of digital sport, said in a news release. “We recently celebrated the first year of NikeFuel, and the Accelerator program is a natural next step to broaden and enhance the Nike+ ecosystem – allowing Nike to offer richer experiences to athletes of all levels.”

As with most TechStars branded accelerators, hundreds of teams applied. Here are the 10 that were chosen, as reported by the Portland Business Journal.


  • FitDeck (San Diego, Calif.) — Digital decks of exercise playing cards that deliver ever-changing workouts for fitness and sports. (
  • GoRecess (New York) — Helps users find, book and review fitness activities. (
  • — Indie game studio that creates virtual worlds tied to real-world activity. (
  • CoachBase — Provides a digital sports coaching platform. (
  • GoFitCause — Leverages fitness data as a means of raising money for charities. (
  • HighFive — Ad network for health and fitness apps that helps people achieve goals by rewarding them along their journey. (
  • Sprout At Work (Toronto) Provider of corporate wellness solutions using social and gamification tools to inspire employees and employers. (
  • GeoPalz (Boulder, Colo.) An interactive gaming and rewards platform for kids and families. (
  • Incomparable Things — Creates activity-driven fantasy sports leagues. (
  • RecBob (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Offers a platform that makes recreational sports easy by organizing play. (

Find out more about TechStars here.

Check out more accelerator stories at

Vancouver Startup Thinkingbox: touching consumers and corporations alike


Everywhere Else: Thinkingbox is Vancouver based startup with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles.  They bring touch to the advertising space.  As they state in their about page,  “As a true interactive house, our focus is to provide a 2-way communication for all brands.

[DISCLAIMER] I HATE ADVERTISING, I felt it was necessary to mention that prior to going into this article.   I believe it is a necessary evil as it provides us with great and useful information for “free” (ala Google) or provides an income for sites like ours (however modest, in our case extremely modest).  I tend to have ad blocking on most of the computers I use and on all my Android devices.  The reason is simple – very often ads get in the way of the experience.  Either through pop ups that have impossibly small close buttons or by being rudely smartly placed by those who run sites like ours.



I have to admit that a company such as thinkingbox could be what changes my view on some advertising.  One thing that has always been missing in most ads, I believe, is the actual ability to truly communicate with the companies.  I don’t know if thinkingbox can change that just yet.  What they have managed to do is make advertising campaigns more personal by adding interactive elements to in-store displays, billboards, and building full featured digital campaigns.  They explain what their focus is, “Serving the advertising industry we focus on alternative media such as Touch Screen Billboards, 2-Way Interactive Campaigns, Touch and Motion Storefronts, Mobile and Tablet Applications and everything digital.”

I have wondered how long until all the different forms of advertising would converge into a unified experience.  Thinkingbox is pushing towards that idea.  Once they can provide websites like ours with advertising that can really pull our readers in we hope that the (extremely modest) ad income might be able to become something better – like decent.

We will be following up with them and hope to have an interview with the founder Amir Sahba and/or Director of Interactivity Natalie Elbracht within the next couple of weeks. I’ve included videos to some of their recent work.  You can find their portfolio here 

Starbucks – My Starbucks Rewards Interactive Display :

Starbucks “My Starbucks Rewards” Interactive Display from thinkingbox on Vimeo.

Approach: Thinkingbox implemented a fun, whimsical and engaging interactive application which was prominently featured as a touch-interactive display window. Animated falling stars beckoned passer-byes to engage, touch and explore. Players can make the stars follow their finger, collapse into a gravity well or explode off the screen. Delightful animated details such as motion blur and bouncy spring motion enhanced the whimsical nature of the piece. The application was deployed and ran on both Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

Another example is from the Nike #KobeSystem brand.  In thinkingbox’s words,

Scope: This custom app was featured along side the Nike Kobe VII System basketball shoes at a downtown Toronto Nike retailer. Customers could try out Nike shoes and then watch funny commercials featuring Kobe Bryant himself, explaining the Kobe System to various celebrities. These videos were compressed and optimized into the app that would also capture metrics on how well the app was able to engage customers.

Approach: A rich multimedia experience was required to showcase the Kobe System brand. An iPad was chosen as the medium because of its portable multitouch capability, multimedia options and ease of development.

The Kobe video can be found below:



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