JUNE 22, 2021
Athletopia, the technology startup set to digitize the global running event industry, is excited to announce a successful pre-seed funding round of €120K, backed by the Hellenic Business Angels Network.
Athletopia was founded by Professor Dr. Nicholas Theodorakis and Swedish entrepreneur Petter Hederstedt. Based on years of sports management research at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which showed that running event organizers are lacking the right tools to be able to grow their events, Athletopia was launched in 2020 as a university spinoff to tackle this challenge.
There are approximately 1,000 endurance events taking place in Greece every year and over 60,000 events in Europe and the US. Nearly 55 Million Europeans and 60 Million Americans are participating. The running event industry is a global €30 Billion market.
Athletopia equips running event organizers with specialized digital tools that engage runners and empower sponsors, turning a one-day-event into a 100-day data-rich journey, maximizing value for everyone.
Nicholas Theodorakis, co-founder Athletopia:
“We are thrilled to have taken the first steps to convert years of research into the Athletopia platform. Coming out from two years of COVID-19 restrictions, the running event industry is being re-born and we are right here helping organizers to create more and better events than ever” says Nicholas Theodorakis, co-founder and Professor and the Director of the Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation Lab at Aristotle University. Nicholas is also an accomplished researcher and consultant specializing in Management of Sports and Events and Sport Entrepreneurship. The funding round was led by Ideas Forward, the technology venture studio based in Thessaloniki, with the participation of angel investors via the Hellenic Business Angels Network (HeBAN). The capital will be used to launch the platform on the market, equipping and inspiring organizers and sponsors to create more and better running events.
Petter Hederstedt, co-founder Athletopia:
“After having spent 10 years in the booming Swedish startup industry, I’m really excited to see the Greek start-up ecosystem gaining momentum. I’m thrilled to see this group of Greek business Angels sharing our vision of the global running industry. Running has such enormous benefits for people; for their physical but also mental health, so the timing couldn’t be better as we’re now exiting the global pandemic” says Petter Hederstedt, co-founder and Swedish online entrepreneur. He previously co-founded the company Velory, a Stockholm based start-up which to date has raised +$30M in funding.
Nikolaos Tsoniotis, co-founder of Ideas Forward:
“We are excited to partner with Nicholas and Petter and with a great group of business angels on Athletopia’s journey to digitize the operations of running events around the world, to make participation more enjoyable for runners and to drive engagement for sponsors”, says Nikolaos Tsoniotis, co-founder of Ideas Forward. “The demand from event organizers in Greece is already overwhelming, with over 30 events booked in a few weeks. Can’t wait to see what is next for Athletopia.”
So what is Athletopia? “Athletopia has created an app for sport event organizers which enables them to properly get their runners prepared and engaged before the event. The app uses both psychographics and demographics to personalize the event experience for the runners, and as they are preparing for the event we enable both organizers and sponsors to optimize their interaction with the runners. This is a completely different approach to the industry compared to what exists today”, Petter Hederstedt explains.
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