The Sacramento Kings and Capital Region held the annual event at the world’s most sustainable and technologically-advanced arena.
By Alex Arechiga — Sacramento Kings
August 31, 2018 — This week, the Sacramento Kings hosted an AR/VR Pitch Fest at Golden 1 Center, kicking off their collaboration on the Capital Region AR VR Accelerator with McClatchy New Ventures Lab, Clark Pacific and Moneta Ventures. The competition welcomed up-and-coming startups who pitched their products to industry icons amid an event featuring panels and networking with leading augmented reality innovators and influencers.
Pitch-Fest platformed presentations from 12 AR/VR startups, serving as a space where the companies could receive feedback from industry leaders in a Q&A discussion. The top-scoring startup, Observer Analytics, took home a grand prize of placement in Capital Region AR VR’s 11-week accelerator program beginning in January that provides investment capital, custom-tailored mentoring, a mutually-aligned milestone plan, and an emphasis on growing industry relationships to ensure sustainable company success. Observer Analytics will also be showcased at the Kings’ opening game in October, exposing basketball fans to the latest in technology.
“These companies are the future of AR and VR technology,” said Jon Gregory, General Partner of the Capital Region AR VR Accelerator and Vice President and Venture Banking Manager at Five Star Bank. “While all the companies that presented offered interesting innovations, Observer Analytics blew us away. I’m looking forward to seeing how these companies are able to grow and improve throughout the Accelerator program and beyond. Sacramento is continuing to lead with cutting edge technology and innovations.”
The winner, Observer Analytics, presented their analytics platform for virtual and augmented reality experiences that enables developers to examine how users interact with their immersive experiences, revolutionizing how software innovators can enhance and edit their product. Their game-changing AR/VR analytic software impressed the judges, earning them $50,000 in seed investment capital and a spot in the Capital Region accelerator program.
“It was incredible to get to hear and learn from the other companies presenting in this competition, and I am looking forward to continuing to learn throughout these next steps,” said Pitch-Fest Winner and CEO of Observer Analytics Lucas Toohey. “Golden 1 Center, the most technologically advanced arena, was the perfect venue to encourage us to find new ways to innovate and keep moving forward.”
The NBA is the first sports league in the world to offer immersive fan experiences through virtual reality technology, including VR streaming and engaging arena activities. As leaders in implemented virtual reality experiences for their fans, Pitch-Fest continues the Kings commitment to cultivating the next generation of digital innovators to set the standard for immersive fan experiences in professional sports.
“Augmented and virtual reality are transforming the ways we are able to interact with our fans, both in Golden 1 Center and outside of it,” said Sacramento Kings Chief Technology Officer and Pitch-Fest judge Ryan Montoya. “While these companies are young, they are the future of this industry. At the Kings, we are always trying to find new ways to use technology to create a better experience for our fans and community. These companies taught me some new points about innovation in this space and I’m excited to continue to work with these businesses as they learn and grow right here in Downtown Commons.”