It took Ahron Cohen a few months to figure out his next move after leaving the Arizona Coyotes in May as President and CEO. All he knew was that he “wanted to do interesting things with interesting people,” he said.
Becoming a venture partner with ADvantage Sports Tech Fund, a fund focused on growing sports-centric tech companies, is just the ticket.
ADvantage is a joint venture between OurCrowd, considered Israel’s most active venture investor, and LeAD, a startup accelerator initiated by the grandchildren of Adidas’ founder Adi Dassler.
As a partner, Cohen hopes “to provide meaningful operational support to a growing portfolio of highly innovative technology companies alongside some of the industry’s leading investors,” he said via email.
Cohen also plans to use what he has learned from leading a professional ice hockey team to help shape the future of sports and fitness. The repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, which allowed states to legalize sports betting, and the devastating impact of the pandemic on sporting events have created a favorable environment for innovation in the industry, he said.
Cohen sees “new ways to connect with fans that go beyond the normal viewing experience.” Instead of just watching a game on TV for sports fans, he envisions different channels that offer fans different viewing experiences. Sports betting in the game or the ability to view the game from different camera angles, for example from the referee’s point of view, are innovative options.
“Fans always want to take a look behind this curtain,” he said. “They want to have the feeling of being in the locker room, on the sidelines or in a group with their favorite team. I think we are giving fans the opportunity to feel fully integrated into this team through social media, new technology, improved camera angles and 4K television. “
Regarding fitness investments, Cohen said he is looking for the nearest home fitness company. Peloton, known for its stationary bikes that cost between $ 1,895 and $ 2,345, is its model. The company announced its second quarter results in February, posting revenue growth of 128% and 1.67 million subscribers to its streaming fitness classes.
After last year, Cohen said the pandemic had opened up some new avenues in the fitness world.
“I can’t even start listing all of the negatives associated with this terrible pandemic. But I’m usually half a person, ”said Cohen. He likes that the pandemic has driven technological trends and made people reimagine what they thought they knew about exercise and fitness.
Jeremy Pressman, founding partner of ADvantage, said Cohen’s perspective as a team operator adds value to the fund. While at the Coyotes, Cohen helped drive TV ratings, merchandise, ticket sales, and corporate sponsorship for the franchise to record levels. Pressman believes he can bring this ability to ADvantage.
“Adding a seasoned operator of Ahron’s caliber to the team is an excellent addition for us and our portfolio companies who do business with many of the largest leagues and media operators around the world,” he said via email.
Cohen, winner of ADL Arizona’s 2019 Torch of Liberty Award Winner, was also delighted with the fund’s relationship with Israel.
He’s also on the lookout for local startups.
“It would be wonderful if there was the opportunity to invest in a company here in Phoenix and play a role in growing this community,” he said. JN