Austin Houston Startups Texas

These 9 Startups Are Headed To The Superbowl

1st & Future Is The First NFL Sancationed Startup Competition

1standfuture These 9 Startups Are Headed To The Superbowl

Superbowl LI is Sunday night as the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots.

While most people are charged up over the upcoming big game, this weekend is even bigger for nine area startups. The startups are competing in the first ever, “1st and Future” startup competition.

While many organizations throw events throw non-sanctioned events around the hoopla of the Superbowl, this startup contest is backed by the NFL. The National Football league has teamed up with the Texas Medical Center Accelerator for the competition.

The 9 competing startups are making the trek to Houston Texas from the UK, Minnesota, Toronto, New Hampshire, Pittsburgh, Virginia and neighboring Austin Texas.

With the tie in to the football championship game, all of the startups are in the sports technology and athletic safety categories. The winning startup will receive $50,000 in prizes from the NFL to further their technology as well as acceptance into the Texas Medical Center’s accelerator program. Oh, and two highly sought after tickets to Sunday’s Superbowl game.

“The NFL will use its biggest stage — the Super Bowl — to continue to catalyze the development of technologies and other products that will help improve the game and promote the safety of athletes across all sports,” Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of health and safety policy, said in a statement.

This won’t be an easy competition. The judges include entrepreneurs, investors and former NFL players including Ed Egan, director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rice University; Rich Ellenbogen, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center and co-chairman of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee; Bernard Harris, CEO and managing partner of Vesalius Ventures; Mae Jemison, principal of 100 Year Starship; Chad Pennington, former NFL quarterback; Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures and healthymagination; and John Urschel, Baltimore Ravens guard and center.

The event will kick off with a conversation about innovation and entrepreneurship between NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt and Texas Medical Center CEO Boybby Robbins. Among the topics for the conversation will be innovations in the head health space, specifically related to concussions. GE has partnered with the NFL in a four year, $60 million dollar study to improve concussion diagnosis, reports the Houston Business Journal.