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Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright MP
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Jeremy Wright MP

Blog post -

AI, Tech for Good and the other key takeaways from London Tech Week 2019

London Tech Week returned to the capital for the sixth time last week and London Sport's Specialist Advisor for Technology for Participation, Alex Zurita, was in amongst the 300+ events taking place.

London Tech Week (LTW) returned to the capital from the 10-14 June, with figures estimating over 58,000 people attended, of which 35 per cent were international delegates.

With more than 300 events taking place across the five days, I went along to a number of events with the aim of understanding what is going on and checking out the latest trends.

I was seeking inspiration for how we can further grow and foster innovation that can tackle inactivity as well as scouting for potential startups that we could work with via our Sport Tech Hub.

My key takeaways were:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a hot topic!
  • The impact of tech on society is being lobbied and championed, with the raise of ‘Tech for Good’ – as Russ Shaw mentioned here
  • There's still work to do around inclusivity, accessibility and diversity in tech
  • With the right support and connections, SportTech can leverage a great deal from what is already being developed by other industries

CogX - The Festival of AI and Emerging Technology

Our LTW 2019 journey started at CogX, a three-day festival, celebrating emerging innovation and AI.

Within physical activity and sport, AI can support the personalisation of services and products for less active Londoners, but also enhance the experience of a consumer outside of physical contact with a volunteer, coach, service lead.

I spent my time on the health stage with the particular interest around the recent launch of NHSX, work around shareable data records, creating a single patient view point, the NHS App, and the aim of the NHS to be a world leader in AI and machine learning within the next five years.

Outside of this, we took in the key note from Jeremy Wright MP (the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), who talked about how ‘AI has a huge role to play in building better economies, and better societies too’.

Fun fact: There are more AI businesses in London than anywhere in Europe.

HealthTech Innovator Conference

This event was organised by the Tech London Advocates (TLA) HealthTech working group, which London Sport are proud members of. 

The role of the working group is to support tech entrepreneurs innovating in the digital health, medical device, diagnostics, life sciences, well-being and sports sectors.

The event provided an opportunities for start-ups and scale-ups to pitch and demo their innovations as well as taking in content provided by pharma agencies, corporates and charities.

Fun fact: One of the themes for the next Sport Tech Hub’s cohort is ‘Active Health’, where we will be looking for technology that can support social prescribing, active ageing, managing long term conditions and more.


TechXLR8 is huge. Over two days, this is home to seven of the biggest technology conferences within LTW, bringing together 15,000 attendees, 300+ exhibitors and 600+ speakers.

With so much on show via speakers and panels, a series of start-up battles and a huge amount of technology on exhibition, the event was a great opportunity to see how emerging technology is impacting lots of different sectors and exploring how this could be applied to the physical activity and sport sector.

Esports & Sports Tech Seminar - The Next Frontier of Innovation

Small but intimate, this event was organised by InterAxS Global with three excellent panels:

1. Founders and Companies in Sports Tech

The panel was made up of two entrepreneurs, Jon Carr-Harris, Founder & CEO of CRED (athletes’ crowdfunding start-up) and Simon Davies, Founder & CEO of Krowd9 (social media network in sports), who shared their insight in building and exiting successful businesses, their experience of ‘coming into’ sport, adding value to the end user and future stages for their products.

2. How to monetise within eSports

Five experts shared a huge amount of knowledge from within the industry, emphasising that you shouldn't think of eSports as a linear comparison to sport. Within eSports, there are many esports, e.g. Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota.

There were recommendations around investing in teams that are brands and how eSports became global before it was even regional. 

3. What are the best investment opportunities in Sports Tech?

Here, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel with Massimo Marinelli, CIO of Aser Group, Fabio La Franca, Investment Director, Station12 Ventures, Warwick Hill, Non-exec board member GA Partners and Andre Tegner, Managing Partner, UFP Aquilor Capital, Founder of Studio 54.

The panel shared their view on SportTech trends, how to best get their attention as an entrepreneur, what could the London ecosystem do to grow athlete investment and the role of incubators and accelerators within the ecosystem. 

Plus, yes, I did tease out their interest in technology that is making people active!

Fun fact: Almost £100m was invested in London based SportTech companies in 2018, however, there were significant less deals in comparison to 2017 - London SportsTech Report 2019.

Decathlon Innovation Awards

Our last stop albeit not directly a London Tech Week event, was an exclusive invite to The Decathlon Innovation Awards, an evening celebrating intrapreneurship and rewarding the most innovative products and services as created by staff within the organisation.

This intrapreneurship initiative within the organisation, has allowed any member of staff to create a mini-startup within the business, ultimately leading to their innovation and technology being rolled out across stores and brand.

Outside of this, it was a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Decathlon via Sport Tech Hub as well as how we could implement some of the intrapreneurship thinking within London Sport.

Sport Tech Hub is accepting written applications to join the third cohort of the programme until 7 July.

Successful applicants will be adaptable and must have an impactful and scalable tech-based product (hardware or software) that has been launched or planning to be launched by the end of 2019.

For more information, download the Application Pack here.




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