Accelerators / Finance / Funding / Sports / Venture capital

Money Moves: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Innovation Works are investing (more) in startups

The new $50 million DSG Ventures is funding athlete-centric companies, while the early-stage firm wants to further support Pittsburgh companies with an extra $50,000.

A Dick's Sporting Goods store. (Photo by Flickr user Mike Mozart, used via a Creative Commons license)

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DSG Ventures launches with $50 million

Dick’s Sporting Goods is rolling out a whole new venture, and it (probably) has nothing to do with golf clubs or soccer cleats. The Coraopolis-based sporting retail company is launching DSG Ventures, a $50 million fund that will invest in early-stage companies that believe in the life-changing power of sports.

First in line for potential funding will be startups that serve athletes and the communities they come from.

“DSG Ventures will enable us to give back and help support entrepreneurs achieve their dreams through our connections, experience and support,” Executive Chairman Ed Stack said in a release. “We know that DSG Ventures (and our partners) will bring innovative products, services and experiences to athletes around the world.”

Some of the companies DSG Ventures has already invested in include New York-based Moolah Kicks, Tacoma, Washington-based El1 Sports, Denver-based Out&Back Outdoor, Boston-based SidelineSwap, and New York-based Courtside Ventures. They’re a women’s footwear brand, a youth sports company, an outdoor gear store, an online sporting goods store, and an entity that partners with early-stage founders to hone their brands, respectively.

DSG Ventures will fund companies at the pre-seed to Series B stages. Dick’s Sporting Goods didn’t reply to a request for comment about whether DSG Ventures would be investing in local companies or if any employees based in Pittsburgh would be working on the fund.

Innovation Works up its investment minimum

Another org making changes is Innovation Works, a North Side-based, early-stage venture firm. The firm announced it’ll be increasing the investment levels for its AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear accelerators from its previous $50,000 to $100,000. That includes a $50,000 via a convertible note when the companies set goals to accomplish during the accelerators, and another $50,000 convertible note when they meet those goals. (Here’s an explainer on what makes convertible notes unique as a funding method.)

IW already invested $100,000 in its AlphaLab Health companies.

According to an IW blog post, this change is to ensure companies will have everything they need to grow, from funding to knowledge. The firm also holds 2% common equity in the companies it funds, referring to the stock owned by the founders, employees and all other shareholders of a company.

“IW is providing more money, greater flexibility, and more resources for startups. The 2% equity remains the same as before which is another feature friendly to entrepreneurs,” Terri Gluek told via email. “Everything we do is to lower the barriers to entrepreneurship to make a tech startup accessible to more people and support the founders as they get their company to the next stage of growth.”

As a part of their agreements with AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear, the companies will have access to teams that will work with them to assist in meeting goals during the accelerator programs. Past investees include AdSkate, Make It Home Safe and AlgenAir.

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: AlphaLab Gear / Innovation Works (Pittsburgh)
Series: Money Moves

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