Adi Dassler’s grandchildren have entered into a cooperation with Adidas. It is about a partnership between the sports tech accelerator leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners, which is backed by two grandchildren of the Adidas founder, and the company from Herzogenaurach. The goal of the alliance is to drive innovations in the field of sports and health technologies, announced leAd on Thursday.
LeAD is an investment platform for early-stage start-ups that was founded in 2016. The main driving forces behind the accelerator are Horst and Klaus Bente, Adi Dassler’s oldest grandchildren. Personal-Financial.com had closely accompanied the preparations for the project since 2015 and reported extensively.
Since it was founded, leAD, which stands for “legacy of Adi Dassler”, has invested in almost 40 start-ups in the field of sports and health technology. These include a company that develops hardware and software with which data on tennis courts can be recorded and evaluated, and a digital yoga coaching system for men. Since it was founded, the accelerator has already carried out four start-up programs, three of which are in Berlin and one is currently in Lake Noona, Florida. The partners and network of leAD also include numerous companies, clubs and personalities from the world of sport. In addition, leAD maintains a fund that invests in young companies and is backed by top-class investors from the sports world.
The partnership with Adidas is something special for the leAD founders. The relationship between the grandchildren and the company, which was founded by their grandfather in 1949, was not always easy – for example on the issue of trademark rights. At the beginning of the project, the two sons of Adi Dassler’s eldest daughter Inge Bente contacted the management. However, during this phase the group did not participate in the accelerator or any other type of cooperation – despite a close connection to the Adidas brand, which can be seen in the founder’s descendants to this day.
With regard to the cooperation that has now been agreed, Horst Bente, one of the leAD initiators, said: “My grandfather would be very proud of our work at leAD and even more proud of this home-coming moment in which we are with the company he founded enter into a partnership. ”The cooperation is very important for the family. Specifically, at Allianz, for example, the aim is to identify and research promising areas in the industry and to invest together in start-up teams. In the future, the start-ups from the leAD program should also have the opportunity to work closely with Adidas – for example when it comes to further developing their own product in pilot projects.
The CEO of leAd, Christoph Sonnen, expects the cooperation with the global corporation, which, under CEO Kasper Rorsted, is investing heavily in digitization, therefore a great added value for the start-ups in the leAD program. “We want to strengthen and support the founders of tomorrow,” said Sonnen, who has accompanied the Dassler grandchildren’s project from the start. With Adidas, they now have a “heavyweight in the industry” by their side who “shares our vision, our DNA and our ambitions”.