NBA Launchpad: Inside the latest tech developments from the fan engagement entries


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Joe Lemire

By the time these companies presented at Demo Day on Monday evening — the first quartet of fan engagement entries to graduate from Launchpad — they had all built prototypes or launched test version of basketball-specific products. As NBA VP of Basketball Strategy Tom Ryan, who oversees technology initiatives, previously said, the goal of the program is selecting high-quality technology companies and “making sure they're building for basketball and not some other sport.”

In making their pitches to an audience of a couple hundred members of the league ecosystem, from players like Andre Iguodala to executives like Spurs GM RC Buford and owners Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards and Stephen Pagliuca of the Boston Celtics.

“The pilots are really the differentiator here — they actually rolled up their sleeves and did work with us,” Ryan said. “I think that allowed the NBA to get smarter in that category and really do due diligence on the product, and then decide, ‘Do we want to grow this partnership? Do we need more time?’”

Edge Sound Research installed its haptic and sonic feedback hardware at the Sacramento Kings’ Golden 1 Center, at NBA 2K League events and here at the Summer League. Edge Sound Research had completed the Minnesota Twins’ TechStars program, gaining a foothold in baseball through a franchise partnership, but Launchpad presented the opportunity to work at the league level “so we can learn insights that we never really had access to,” CEO Valtteri Salomaki said. “That really sped up our product development cycle to be ready for scaling our solutions to site venues.”