Skip to content

Talking sports tech and corporate-startup partnerships with Aviv Shapira

Fungai Alexander Mapondera
2 min read

Adventures in telepresence

In 2016, two-time Emmy Award winner Aviv Shapira and his partners sold sports tech startup Replay to Intel. It was the culmination of a remarkable journey that started with an idea in a London pub: how to watch a football match through the eyes of the player.

Ahead of our Day of Innovation 3.0, Infront caught up with keynote speaker Aviv to discover more about corporate/startup partnerships, the future of sports tech and his latest venture XTEND.

What are the ingredients for a successful startup?

Team is everything. All of my companies started with a team before we had an idea. I dont believe in a one man show. After team, product market fit is the second most important thing. You also have to understand that 99 percent of the reactions are going to be “Its not a good idea”. I dont believe in taking no for an answer.

How should startups and corporates approach partnerships? 

I believe in an ecosystem methodology - the startup needs the corporate and the corporate needs the startup (see Infront Lab). There has to be a win-win. For startups, be cautious and careful about intellectual property - and work gradually for both sides. For corporates, try to give startups their freedom to see how they operate before you do any changes because a startup is like a well-oiled machine - the successful ones - and any change could destroy it.

Why did you choose the sports market to launch a startup like Replay? 

Selecting the sports market was not a trivial decision. The sports technology market is very ‘early adopter’ - they can take technology that is not yet baked all the way and try it out to see if it works.

What is your vision for digital telepresence? 

With Replay, it was to allow someone to watch the game from any angle. With XTEND, we put a machine at a remote location and, using VR and 5G or 4G, you can control the machine and transfer most of the data from the machine to the man and allow that experience to be so amazing that you actually feel like you are there.

For XTEND, we have a very innovative solution by placing the cameraman inside the camera, allowing him to fly very easily and safely at crazy speeds of up to 100-150 miles per hour, and this way you can shoot all kinds of motor racing, skiing and surfing. We can create amazing content so I do see potential for us in sports, but we need a very good partner. We have talked to Infront - it’s a potential collaboration we can do.


What tech trends will shape the future of sports? 

Fan experience, personalisation, making sports consumption more efficient, and visualisation in story telling - getting connected to the game beyond the tactics and the points. I also see companies like WSC who allow you to watch, in ten minutes, three games. This is where the world is going - technology that allows you to consume sports without free time.