76ers play ball with start-ups

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Work takes place on the 125,000-square-foot basketball training and business operations complex in Camden.

With room to spare and community building in mind, the Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to drive more than just better performance on the court at its brand new, 125,000-square-foot basketball training and business operations complex in Camden.   

Starting April 15, startup companies with interests at the crossroads of sports and consumer products will be invited to apply then participate on site at a newly launching Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball. If selected by the project’s (76ers-exec-heavy) board of governors, startup teams will gain work space furnished by Kimball Office, access to industry experts and  business services plus opportunities to pitch potential  investors and venture capital  financiers.

“As the Philadelphia 76ers organization eagerly awaits our move into a state-of-the-art basketball complex, we thought it provided the perfect opportunity to include the Sixers Innovation Lab Crafted by Kimball, to drive the entrepreneurial spirit that is at the very foundation of this region,” said Philadelphia 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil. “We are fortunate to have assembled an unmatched roster of partners that have deep and seemingly unending material relationships in sports, media, technology and consumer-facing businesses that will serve the early stage companies housed under our roof and provide every advantage to help these aspiring leaders fulfill their dreams.”

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Social Impact Initiative is one of several high profile supporters of the Innovation Lab. “Developing the entrepreneurship ecosystem in underserved communities such as Camden is important for the city and for economic development in the Philadelphia region,” said Katherine Klein, a Wharton Vice Dean.

“The initiative addresses a unique opportunity to provide leadership and development in the entrepreneurial community using the depth of the Philadelphia 76ers organization,” said fellow cheerleader Terry Williams, managing Partner of Next Stage Capital and CEO of ORS Partners. 

DreamIt Ventures, Techstars, Touchdown Ventures, IBM Watson, Gabriel Investments, MentorTech Ventures, Stadia Ventures, 1871 and Sports Colab  will also hover courtside to help with core curriculum programs, including a speaker series and leadership training. Other coaches are still being sought  from  legal and accounting firms, technological infrastructure firms and consulting firms.

The window of opportunity for applicants opens Friday (through September 30) at http://www.sixersinnovationlab.com/.