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January 26, 2016    


Well, it seems like lots of crazy things are happening, so why not? There is no alternative fact: 2017 is here!! Hard to believe but this is the beginning of SDSI’s 9th year of supporting entrepreneurship in the Sport and Active Lifestyle (SAL) space. In fact, SDSI used to be ASI, Action Sport Innovators, but it was too limiting, hence SD Sport Innovators and our SAL acronym. And of course, with the expansion of our name, came the growth to include what are basically companies active in the "San Diego Lifestyle". We have grown in membership to nearly 100 companies. So, Happy New Year!


Ever try to start a business? I think there is universal agreement among Founders that starting one business is about the hardest thing an individual can attempt. SDSI’ Springboard program has helped jump-start 61 companies…think of what that number means in terms of dreams, jobs and the benefit to San Diego. Think of it in terms of mentorship hours given freely…over 7,000 hours since 2009…approximately 3.5 working years of free guidance, advice and encouragement! It’s an amazing number, all courtesy of a group of amazing San Diegans who give so willingly of their time and expertise. Let’s start 2017 with a BIG Thank You to them, our Springboard Mentors!


The SDSI Springboard Class 9 Application period is now open. We will have approximately 10 slots available. Typically, we receive at least twice as many applicants. If you have a company that can benefit from the SDSI Springboard curriculum, by all means contact Renne and get the process going now.


Our 2017 calendar of events is extensive. Special thanks to K2 Insurance Services for the title sponsorship of Springboard 2017, to Voit Real Estate Services for sponsorship of the Founder’s Skill Set Series and Procopio for their continuing support of our Community Leadership Dinners.

SDSI welcomes new member Speedminton, Clickit Golf California, VULCAM and welcomes back renewing member ZBoards!
Speedminton combines the best of Tennis, Squash and Badminton into a game that you can play anywhere, anytime! Whether in the backyard, beach or park, with no net and minimum set up, Speedminton is the game for all. Speedminton in the United States established itself in early 2013 following significant growth in their core market of continental Europe, notably, the origin country of Germany, which founded itself in 2002. The US entity is headquartered on the iconic 101 in beautiful Encinitas, CA. Speedminton have used their location to establish themselves locally and, at the same time, work with nationwide retail chains to bring the high-quality, fun game to the masses. Learn more at

Clickit Golf California is excited to be the newest member of SDSI. Clickit Golf California is an online marketplace for golfers to find local golf specials. We help golf courses sell tee-times during their low demand times. We help golfers find great deals (up to 70% off) on golf. We also help local businesses advertise online to local golfers. Our owner/president, Cam Stephens, has been a volunteer with the SDSI Springboard program and is proud to now be an official SDSI member. Check out more at


VULCAM by Vulcan Vision is excited to become a member of SDSI. We provide a coaching solution that has proven to be the most powerful communication tool between coaches and athletes: 360 video from the outside in. Our powerful, easy-to-use, and portable solution captures the hidden elements in physical movement, helping to see the unseen. Captured by smartphones placed at desired angles, VULCAM’s wirelessly transferred time-synced 360 video is available for slow motion viewing on your tablet in just a matter of seconds. VULCAM is quick to set up and intuitive to use, providing an unprecedented tool for optimizing performance, rehabilitation and preventing injuries. Find out more and contact us at


ZBoard. The ZBoard Team is super stoked to be back to its Southern California roots after two years in Northern California. Unlike any other motorized skateboard, the ZBoard features weight-sensing controls: simply lean forward to go and lean back to stop. With a top speed of 20 mph and a range of 20 miles per charge, there’s no better way to get around. Learn more at


Seeking Mentors and Companies for SDSI Springboard Class 9

SDSI’s Springboard is for new and existing businesses in the sports and active lifestyle (SAL) space that want to set themselves on a path for future success and scalability. This 20-week mentor-led business accelerator program has a proven track record of success; our 61 graduates have raised nearly $47.5M in capital, have created 390 jobs and have an 89% success rate! That’s the exact opposite of the 10% success rate of the larger startup community. We encourage you to get involved; apply as a company, make an impact as a mentor, or refer a friend or business you think would be a good fit. Learn more at


Why become a Mentor?
• Join the innovation and entrepreneur community in making an impact on San Diego’s next generation of SAL businesses
• Develop Mentor-Mentee relationships that ultimately become 2-way. Learn from the young entrepreneurs coming behind you.
• Become part of our Mentor family – a immediately network of fellow executives and experienced entrepreneurs looking to collaborate and build relationships

“SDSI set me on my current path of where I am today in regards to investment deals, friendships, business deals…It’s a super meaningful group of people doing the right thing for others and I am blessed to be a part or it.” ~SDSI Springboard Mentor, Jeran Fraser

Whats in is for participating Companies?
• Access to 40+ experienced Mentors dedicated to helping you learn the lessons that they learned the hard way
• 3 individual, hands-on Mentors to guide you through the program and make a real and meaningful impact on you and your business
• Access to the SDSI Springboard curriculum to improve your business strategy
• Lasting and lifelong relationships
• Access to the SDSI membership network of nearly 100 companies
• Over 250 hours of mentoring over the course of your 20-week experiende

• Graduate with a polished business presentation suitable for investors, strategic partner or implementing internally

“SDSI Springboard was an amazing experience for us. We got incredibly deep and useful insights from qualified mentors that contributed to a strong growth strategy that will help us scale the business for years to come.” ~Scott Tilton, Co-Founder, 2015 Graduate


SDSI’s Bill Walton, Bob Rief, John Sarkisian, Steve Stoloff, named among San Diego’s most influential 500 Business Leaders

San Diego Business Journal’s newest annual publication SD 500: The Book of Influential Business Leaders is considered an essential pairing with SDBJ’s Book of Lists. Together they provide a complete resource of the companies and the people you need to know, in order to do business in San Diego. SDSI is super proud to have four of SD’s most influential business leaders among the SDSI Board of Directors leading our organization:

· Bill Walton, SDSI Executive Chairman of the Board
· Bob Rief, SDSI Executive Director

· John Sarkisian, Vice Chairman SKLZ, Owner Encantro, SDSI Industry Chairman of the Board

· Steve Stoloff, CEO VAVi Sport + Social, SDSI Board of Director

As well as seven most influential business leaders among five of our member companies

· Moss Adams, Carisa Wisniewski, Office Managing Partner

· Barney & Barney, Paul Hering, CEO & Trindle Reeves, Principal

· Procopio, William Eigner, Partner

· California State University San Marcos, Karen Haynes, President

· Banner Bank, Jackie Nash, VP

· UC Sand Diego Health, Patty Maysent, CEO

SDSI Springboard graduates four companies from Class 8

Join us in congratulating our latest SDSI Springboard Graduates: Kilomodo, Reactive Training, PODLife and Race Guards! After 20 weeks of relentless refinement, hard work, dedication and nearly 1,000 of hours of mentoring, these companies have tight business models, a keen ability to articulate their business value, the confidence to take a meeting with any potential investor or strategic partner, and a new understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing their business. We encourage you to reach out to these graduates to learn more or explore potential collaboration opportunities. A big thank you to all the SDSI Springboard Mentors who made this graduation possible!

Kilomodo - Is the next generation workout tracking platform with an initial focusing on CrossFit. Steffen Beach, Founder,

Core-Tex by Reactive TrainingThe Core-Tex is a completely unique approach to 3-dimensional, functional movement and fitness training. The Core-Tex combines dynamic strength, razor sharp reaction, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and balance into ONE design, creating the optimal training environment. Anthony Carey, Founder,

PODLife – Introduces Protein Pods, the most convenient way to consume protein powders on the go. 100% all natural, Whey Protein or vegan friendly protein pods are environmental friendly and provide 80% more protein efficacy then other ready to drink options. Ben Acott, Founder,

Race Guards – Is setting the new "standard of care" for running, cycling, triathlon and endurance events by providing in-race certified CPR first-responders who run the course alongside the participants, ensuring a safe experience from start to finish. Andy Voggenthaler, Founder,


SDSI to bring together cycling industry professionals at first ever Cycling SIG

Bill Walton invites local cycling industry professionals to his home for a breakfast meeting to catch up with industry peers and hear form Michael Marckx on The Belgian Waffle Ride’s origins and its unique marketing approach. If your doing business in they cycling industry you won't want to miss SDSI's first Cycling Special Interest Group (SIG). Details can be found here, RSVP to Nick Roth at


SDSI & Padres Sports and Cycling Showcase

Join SDSI, Padres Pedal the Cause and SD Tour of California for a free, family-fun day celebrating Sports and Cycling in San Diego. Enjoy food and entertainment, grand opening of RIDE Cyclery's Downtown location, a Sports Fashion Show, Product Showcase and more. The event is Saturday, February 4, 10am – 2pm. Details here.


Introducing ZONE Defense: one day conference on sports and fitness technology

Designed for sports, fitness, and high-tech companies, this one-day sports and fitness seminar, brings together regulatory, legal, risk, and business professionals for an intimate and confidential discussion of the issues that are important to companies that design, manufacture, distribute, or use sports and fitness products. SDSI’s Renne Catalano Gussman and Founders of SDSI Springboard Graduates Aculief and Slyde Handboards will participate on a panel “Sports Technology and Innovation”. Conference details can be found here. Contact with questions.

Slyde Handboards and Tower Paddle Boards among Mark Cuban’s top 5 “Shark Tank” investments On Cuban’s investment in Slyde Handboards he shared, "I liked the spirit of the entrepreneurs. I saw they had bootstrapped the company, and I think that people are always looking for new and inexpensive ways to have fun."

On Cuban’s investment in Tower he shared, "I invested because Stephan (Founder) had an SEO business that he had previously been very successful with and sold. I thought that he could take over the paddle board niche and leverage his SEO experience to do it."

Read more about Cubans favorite investments and about these successful SDSI companies at


100% partners with world champion cyclist Peter Sagan

The 2017 cycling season has brought an extensive partnership with World Champion Peter Sagan. With a shared vision and synergy, the partnership extends further than a typical endorsement; 100% and Sagan will collaborate on the product development of the Speedcraft Performance Sunglasses, bringing new insights into the racer's performance needs. Read the full press release.


Digital Operative & transcosmos acquisition

Digital Operative (DO) joined the transcosmos family as a subsidiary in December 2016. This partnership is a natural progression of the year long relationship that helped DO build up its clients base in the US market through the transcosmos ecommerce channels. BJ Cook, DO CEO, will continue to run DO from their San Diego and Denver locations, now with additional resources helpinh him take DO to the next level. Read the full press release and Cook’s blog post on the transaction.


ElliptiGO reports record year in 2016

2016 was a huge year for ElliptiGO with record sales and revenue! Unit sales were up 30% and revenue increased 15% over 2015. ElliptiGO CEO, Bryan Pate, attributed the great success to the launch of the affordable ElliptiGO Arc and the continued momentum in the market for elliptical bikes. With more than 19,000 bikes on the road, ElliptiGO is looking forward to a strong and successful 2017. Read the full press release.


Hookit’s Carl Thomas among industry experts to share sports tech trends and innovations for 2017

To close out 2016, asked more than 80 sports technology industry experts to share their predictions and trends for 2017. Read what Carl Thomas, Chief Revenue/Business Development Officer at Hookit, had to say about the future of social and digital media at

Surftech to launch new surf collection 
Surftech is making big announcements at the 2017 Surf Expo including the launch of 20 new models, the resurrection of the Tuflite technology in a new modern form, the Dual Core technology that combines the best attributes of PU and EPS foam, as well as new graphics and colors. Read more.

RinseKit on Shark Tank Friday, Feb. 3

Eric Fagan and Chris Crawford will take RinseKit to SharkTank on 9pm February 3! Don’t miss the airing to see if the “sharks” bite on this portable shower. Read the full wind up at


Race Guards partners with High Five Events in Austin

High Five Events, one of the largest privately owned event production companies in the United States has signed on Race Guards to be their in-race medical support for the 2017 Austin Marathon. “Participant safety is one of our top priorities,” said Jack Murray, co-owner of High Five Events. “We will have stationary medical personnel at every aid station, but Race Guards will be the individuals who can handle certain situations between aid stations and notify medical personnel as needed.” Read the full press release.


UC San Diego moves forward on path towards Division I

UC San Diego is one step closer to the reclassification as a non-football NCAA Division I university. The campus’s Academic Senate recently announced by vote of its membership that it has endorsed moving forward to Division I. Next step will be an invitation from the Big West Conference to become a conference member. The conference is comprised of nine institutions including four other UC schools—UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UC Riverside. More information on UC San Diego Athletics move to Division I at UCSDNews.




3 Keys To a Successful Influencer Marketing Strategy from Founders of Slyde Handboards

By Andrew Medal, abridged from

An influencer marketing strategy has become a crucial element for companies and brands. Essentially, an effective influencer marketing strategy is about pinpointing which influencers are dominating your niche and then finding organic ways to collaborate and effectively present your product or services to their audiences.


The most difficult part of executing an influencer marketing strategy comes down to one thing: it has to feel organic. Influencers in any industry have followings because of the content they share, for free, on a regular basis.


Steve and Angela Watts, founder of Slyde Handboards, know the value of marketing to gen Z and millennial consumers through social media influencers. In fact, it’s a core part of their marketing strategy for the company as a whole. Below they share three keys to deploying and executing a successful influencer marking strategy


1. Identify the influencers that align with your brand mission.

Where many brands and companies go wrong when reaching out to potential influencers is having tunnel-vision on things such as follower count.

The Slyde Handboards team reached out to some Instagram influencers within their market whom they viewed as perfect matches for the brand.

“We would rather partner with someone with 200 followers, 50 comments per post and 150 likes per post, since that means they have the ear of 150 close friends, than someone with 20,000 followers and 70 likes per post,” the founders say.

2. Ensure that the deals you structure with influencers will be profitable in the long run.

The biggest challenge brands and companies face with marketing always comes down to return on investment. They need to know that for every dollar they spend on marketing, they will see back that same dollar plus a percentage more. Otherwise, their marketing budget will be operating at a loss.

“We look at each influencer relationship as a worthwhile investment, and never offer more than we’re willing to potentially lose,” the Watts explain. “The deals we structure can include gear and specialty discounts, and most recently we’ve sent a few of our top influencers to Tahiti to take part in a competition called the Waterman’s Tour, which we’ve sponsored with products.”

To keep each relationship profitable, it’s crucial that the lines of communication are always open so that everyone remains on the same page. Expectations must be properly set from the beginning.

3. Take deliberate steps to ensure the success of each influencer collaboration or campaign.

The wrong way to run an influencer marketing strategy is to leave everything up to the influencers. While you do want to give them creative freedom, you need to establish some sort of game plan as to the content, frequency and messaging. Again, let the influencers use their own voices, but help guide them toward the clearly established end goal you wish to see as a company.

“We have a written contract that our ambassadors and influencers sign, with clear and concise expectations,” the Watts say. “We then review progress and performance on a monthly basis, and also spend a considerable amount of time on our end, thinking of better ways we can work with our team of influencers. It’s our job to put them in a position to succeed.”

Read the full article on


The Daily Transcript to honor top San Diego startups and small businesses

The Daily Transcript is looking for top startups and small businesses in San Diego County! If you are or know of any companies that are the next big thing, please send in the nomination form by February 3. More information and nomination form here.

TurningPoint ExecTurning Point Tip
Whether you engage an external recruiting expert like TurningPoint, or use your own in-house hiring manager, filling an open position can be very expensive. In addition, as companies become more collaborative and roles less autonomous, bringing on new staff members is not as seamless as it once was. With the increasing cost and difficulty of hiring, ‘retention’ has become a hot topic among management. To fully understand how to retain its staff a company must look closely at why they are leaving: #1 Poor Management, #2 Lack of Growth, #3 Better Job, #4 Lack of Recognition, #5 Other staff members, #6 Overworked, #7 Work/life imbalance. Check out our full article.

Job Openings
BD Account Manager, Online marketing - Orange County
BD Manager, SaaS Reporting - SoCal and Texas
Director of Marketing, Retail - San Diego
Sales Executive, Industria Products - SoCal
Brand Manager, Innovation, Consumer Packaged Goods - San Diego
Director Marketing Content & Communications, Real Estate - San Diego
Sales Executive, Building Products - SoCal
Sr Sales Executive, Biotech/cell therapy – San Diego 
VP Sales, FinTech – San Diego 
Director of Key Accounts, Healthcare, FinTech – San Diego 
Director of Sales, East, Financial Services – Northeast 

Challenged Athletes Foundation - Director of Marketing click for info

Digital Operative - Multiple positions available click for info

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa - Multiple positions available click for info

J!NX - Multiple positions available click for info 

KPMG - Multiple positions available click for info

RSM - Multiple positions available click for info 

Red Door Interactive - Multiple positions available click for info

SKLZ - Multiple positions available click for info

TurningPoint Executive Search, ranked #33 on SDBJ "2016 Fast Growing Private Company", is SDSI's resident expert for hiring, retention and job search. A San Diego native with more than 16 years of recruiting experience, President and Founder, Ken Schmitt is available as a sounding board who can share industry “best practices” with SDSI members.  


Jan. 3 SDSI Springboard Class 9 Applications Open click for info

Jan. 31 SDSI Board of Directors Meeting

Feb. 4 SDSI and Padres Sport & Cycling Showcase click for info

Feb. 13 SDSI Springboard Class 9 Applications Close click for info

Feb. 13 SDSI Cycling Special Interest Group Meeting click for info

Feb. 15 SDSI Advisory Board Meeting at Mesa Rim

Jan. 26-28 Surf Expo, Orlando, FL click for info

Feb. 7 ZONE Defense: one day conference on sports and fitness technology, Las Vegas, NV, click for info

Feb. 20-22 Agenda Las Vegas click for info

Mar. 12-15 ROTH Capital Conference, Orange County, CA click for info

Mar. 13-17 Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve 1st International Surfing Symposium, Queensland, AU click for info

May 11-14 Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race click for info

May 14-20 Amgen Tour of California click for info

May 21 Belgian Waffle Ride, San Marcos, CA click for info

Sep. 20-22 Interbike, Las Vegas, NV click for info

This email was sent by SD Sport Innovators at 253 S. Highway 101, Suite C, Solana Beach, CA 92075.

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