Forza Insider, Sodyo, Salsa Sound, and Versus Africa will all have the opportunity to pilot their concepts aimed at enhancing the fan experience for Arsenal supporters around the world. This is after Arsenal and Yolo Group decision-makers selected the teams for further collaboration and investment after an intensive seven-week online programme through The Arsenal Innovation Lab.
The Arsenal Innovation Lab powered by Yolo Group drew more than 500 applications from tech startups that could bring innovative concepts to enhance the fan experience. Eight teams were chosen to pitch their ideas from six countries — Sweden, Germany, Nigeria, Israel, Dubai, and the UK — highlighting the global reach of the programme.
“Arsenal Innovation Lab has delivered exceptional insight into the latest trends in fan experience. The applicant pool and the pitches we reviewed have been highly impressive and we’re looking forward to working with the teams to progress their concept. We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our hundreds of millions of fans around the world and we’re excited to see how our supporters will benefit from the teams’ ideas,” said Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer at Arsenal.
Arsenal Innovation Lab powered by Yolo Group offered open-access experience with top-calibre coaches from across Europe. The teams had opportunities to directly interact with decision-makers from Arsenal and managing partner, Yolo Group. Across the board, Arsenal and Yolo Group were committed to co-creating the opportunities the teams brought to the table.
“We were thrilled to guide the solution-building process for such a diverse group of teams. Having a partner that reflects our global mindset and commitment to innovation is pivotal and we certainly have that with Arsenal,” said Tim Heath, GP at Yolo Investments and the founder of Yolo Group.
While the Arsenal Innovation Lab ran remotely, Yolo Group seized the opportunity to organise the finale in London at Emirates Stadium where all eight teams pitched their solutions.The pitches led to Arsenal and Yolo Group choosing four teams to pilot solutions with the club.
Forza Insider, which took the top spot, will set out to create next-level digital experiences for Arsenal fans.
“We are proud to have been part of the programme. It was a unique experience that gave us incredible access to the Arsenal team. Now is when the hard work starts! We can't wait to deliver on our ambitious goals,” reflected Daniel Thorpe, Client Director at Forza Insider.
Runner-up Sodyo, which unlocks digital experiences and information through scanning technology, will pilot a solution to support Arsenal’s e-commerce operations.
“The collaborative spirit of interactions with Arsenal’s team of decision-makers enabled us to tailor our offering to best fit the club's business need. We look forward to working with the Arsenal team implementing frictionless e-commerce for the club’s retail operation. Together, we will show the world exactly what commercial innovation looks like in the sports sector," said Luke Kuhn from team Sodyo.
Salsa Sound, builder of AI-driven audio mixers to enrich experiences through sound, and Versus Africa, insights provider on a broad African consumer market, rounded out the winning group. The four teams shared the prize pool from Arsenal. Multiple teams are discussing further investment from the Yolo Group.
Yolo Group is the managing partner for the programme. The Group is a leader in the cross-section of gaming, fintech, and blockchain. Their innovative Sportsbet.io brand is an Official Betting Partner of Arsenal Football Club who, together with their partners FUSE and East City productions, introduced an augmented reality match day programme for fans.