Sporting comebacks are often synonymous with overcoming the odds in the face of adversity. There are many great examples of this littered throughout history. 

Jason McCartney’s AFL comeback game in 2003 from life-threatening burns sustained in the 2002 Bali bombings or the Boston Redsocks overcoming a 0-3 deficit to beat their most bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, in the 2004 baseball American League Championships Series are examples of individuals and teams overcoming what would appear to be insurmountable challenges. 

Whilst there are memorable moments in the comeback itself, it’s in the journey that you’ll discover reasons for the destination.

On August 20th 2020, a destination for the 10 startups who have been on their own journey as part of Startupbootcamp’s Sports and EventTech program, is Demo Day which is aptly named “The Comeback”.

This is when the startups will pitch online to a virtual global audience, a culmination of a very intense 14-week journey to help them take their idea, product or company further, depending where they are up to. 

DiUS has been involved with Startupbootcamp (SBC) for three years now, as proud sponsors, mentors and intrepreneurs-in-residence on three of the Melbourne-based SBC accelerator programs—Energy, Fintech and now Sports and Event Tech. I was fortunate to be DiUS’ intrepreneur-in-residence for the 2020 Sports and EventTech program.

And as I reflect on the previous three months of the program at a time where the sporting industry, like many others, has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, the attributes shown by the 10 startups are not unlike those shown by examples of great sporting comebacks. 

Resilience, persistence, passion, belief and the drive to be successful are those qualities that can be often attributed to successful athletes and sporting teams, but can be equally applied to the fortunes of a startup. 

The global nature of this program also provided the additional challenge of having to adapt to the reality of remote working. An enormous credit goes to the unwavering leadership and direction from the program’s managing director Ollie Howard and the SBC team, the intrepreneurs-in-residence, mentors and other numerous industry experts who help steer the program.

SBC takes a unique approach to startup incubation. By grouping startups according to a domain or industry, the program provides tech startups with access to very focused and relevant mentoring and support, along with partnership and investment opportunities.

On the field, it was the startups that made it an additional privilege to be involved with such a diverse group of people, teams and  ideas who are looking to make their mark on an industry that is learning to adapt to the environment we all are coming to terms with. The numerous zoom meetings, slack conversations, pitch sessions, and phone calls were met with enthusiasm and intent that typifies the quality and professionalism of each of the startups. 

As I look ahead to Demo Day this Thursday August 20th, and admire the startups qualities that have been prevalent throughout the program, the words of the great Vince Lombardi seem as poignant today as it did 50 years ago, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”