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August 31, 2017    

Are you doing your part to help Build, Start or Support Small Businesses?

You know, in these uncertain times, when facts are conflated with opinion, not much is “for sure.”  But one thing is: small businesses drive the economy.  It’s particularly relevant when you look at our Sport and Active Lifestyle space. It’s true we have some relatively large businesses in the group like Vans or GoPro, but we also have ping pong companies, small golf brands, nutrition companies and many others. In fact, our Springboard program itself has accelerated or helped birth over 70 companies in our space, and created almost 500 new jobs. We are in the process of development of an industry census of sorts, but our 3 year old research pegs the local SAL economy at 37,000 jobs, over $2 Billion in revenue… and growing.  Our local cycling industry measured out at $547 Million annually; most all are small businesses with less than 30 employees.

Our friend Sully Sullivan points out that our space in the local economy is one of the few that connects with San Diegans every day…Mom’s buying soccer shoes, wetsuits, athletic balls…you name it. So we count in the local economy.

You can help. Pass the word along about the amazing Springboard program. It’s easy to do, just direct people to the website… it’s all there. If you would like to really lend your experience and time, we welcome experienced people into the Springboard mentoring program. There are not many things you can do in your business life that can bring the pleasure of helping a young entrepreneur succeed.  This year our Mentors will donate over 1600 hours to help others succeed. How awesome is that!

Renne had a Baby Girl!!

Congratulations to Renne Catalano Gussman and her husband, Daniel, on the newest addition to thier family (and our family here at SDSI!) Pietrina Mae Gussman was born on Friday, August 25th at 5:22 PM weighing 6 lbs 6 ounces.  Mom, baby, Dad, and dog are all doing great at home! We look forward to meeting Pietrina as well as her first springboard application for Class 49 in 2037.


SDSI Springboard Graduates 6 companies from Class 9

Springboard Class 9 just finished with 6 very impressive graduates.  Over the past 20 weeks, these companies have worked hard with our exceptional pool of SDSI mentors to dial in their business model, tighten up their investment pitch, and prepare themselves for the next step in growing their companies.  As Bob always says, “If Shark Tank called and said ‘can you come on-air today?’ these graduates would all deliver an excellent pitch.” Thanks to the countless hours of mentoring, we are confident these companies will only increase our excellent SDSI springboard statistics.  Congrats to the following SDSI Springboard Graduates from Class 9! Please reach out to them if you have any questions about their businesses


BLDG Active – Skin repair for the modern athlete.  Scientifically advanced, all natural skin & wound repair for the treatment of cuts, scrapes, rashes, sunburns and other skin irritations.  Justin Gardner, CEO,


Cirque-it Fitness – Circus infused circuit workout that provides strength, flexibility and cardio training.  Fit, fun and done in just 45 minutes with a personal training feel in a small group-training environment.  Elizabeth Skwiot, Founder,


Core360 Belt – Move, breathe and perform better with this first-of-its-kind training belt designed by a physical therapist to give you the feedback you need to activate your core consistently and correctly.  Erin McGuire, CEO,


Elite Athlete Products – Parent company of the SpeedMaker - a wearable, portable resistance training harness engineered to provide an athlete with resistance to the muscle groups most responsible for speed production while allowing an athlete to sprint with full range of motion.  Benga Adeeko, Co-Founder,


Virtue Cycles Pedalist – A unique design that blends the best elements from an Electric Bicycle, Cargo Bike, Tadpole Tricycle, and Velomobile to create a pedal and electric powered mode of transportation for the eco and health conscious future.  William Mulyadi, Founder,  View the SDSI demo session here


Starfysh Wetsuits – One suit. Your way. Just add water.  Starfysh makes modular and reversible wetsuits for women with bold prints and stylish cuts that perform for waterwomen everywhere.  Alyx Tortorice, Founder,


Vulcam – Bringing a whole new view to professional sports coaching with completely portable, multi-angle, instant video feedback for athletes.  View the performance from any angle, and examine the details from all perspectives. Asko Roine, Founder,

Walton’s World
SDSI’s own Executive Chairman, Bill Walton, made a cameo in Katy Perry’s newest music video playing himself alongside fellow sports media personality, Rich Eisen.  Rich Eisen spoke about the behind the scenes on his show the following day in a 10 minute segment – Eisen’s experience with Bill is worth listening to if you have time.  Eisen later followed it up with a shorter follow up 2 minute follow up piece.
Additionally, Bill was the keynote speaker at the inaugural SD Festival of Books.  The UT’s Bryce Miller interviewed Bill on Facebook Live and followed it up with a written piece in the Union Tribune. Here is a recap of the event that drew in nearly 10,000 San Diegans.

SDSI Advisory Board Meeting at Airborne Recap
The brand new Airborne SD hosted the SDSI board for a tour of their magnificent facility capped with the opportunity for board members to fly in their indoor skydiving tubes.  For those that haven’t had a chance to try it yet, all of us HIGHLY recommend it for corporate teambuilding with sharing a common experience that takes people out of their comfort zones... Here are the links to all the fun: Airborne Photos, SDSI Photos, Airborne Video…send it on to friends. Read Bob's full meeting recap

Hookit Completes $16M Capital Raise and featured on Cover of Sports Business Journal
SDSI Springboard grad and Advisory Board member, Hookit, announced that it has raised $16M in growth capital led by Arrowroot Capital. “The additional funding will help Hookit continue to push the boundaries of new technologies in machine learning and predictive analytics to support and empower the sports industry.” Read the full press release.
Hookit also landed the cover page of Sports Business Journal’s July 17-23rd issue with their study on what sports properties are engaging fans the most on social media.  Top 3 leagues/federations were: NBA, English Premier League, NFL and the top 3 teams were: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United.  Click here for the print story or here for the online story.

Digital Operative Magento Meetup LAUNCH Party
Digital Operative is sponsoring a Magento Meetup LAUNCH Party here in San Diego on Thursday, Sept 28th from 7PM to 9PM. We will be discussing the future of ecommerce and hosting a LIVE edition of MageTalk (a zMagento Podcast). For more info and to RSVP, go  here.

Surf Soccer Athlete, Melanie Barcenas, on Cover of Time Magazine
9 year old Surf Soccer superstar is highlighted in Time Magazine’s article on the $15B youth sports industry.  This article offers great insight to the rapid growth of the world of youth sports which is currently a $15.3 Billion market and has grown by 55% since 2010.  One needs to look no further than a Surf Cup Sports tournament to see that the Surf organization is an integral part of this explosive market  View the cover image here and read the article.

ElliptiGO HS and College Coaches Contest
“More than 150 high school and college programs are already experiencing the benefits of the ElliptiGO, including University of Arizona, UC Berkeley, University of Colorado, Dartmouth College, Michigan State University, North Carolina State University, Stanford University, University of Tennessee, Texas A&M University, and University of Virginia, as well as National Champions Great Oak High School.” Read more here.

BLDG Active featured on TGR
SDSI Springboard Grad, BLDG Active, was featured on the Teton Gravity Research’s “gear and tech” section as they told their story of how they realized there was great demand for their active skin repair product and its natural connection to the sport and active lifestyle category.  Read more about their story here.

SDBJ Best Places to Work
Congratulations to SDSI companies that have been selected as the SDBJ’s best places to work including: CBRE, Moss Adams, and Red Door Interactive.  The companies will be awarded on September 14, 2017 at the 19th Annual Best Places to Work Awards.  More info from the event flyer from SDBJ.


SDSI Springboard companies join forces to raise funds for CAF
Three of our Springboard participants, Erin McGuire founder of CORE 360 Belts, Alyx Tortorice, founder of Starfysh Wetsuits and Elizabeth Swoitsky founder of Cirque-it, have joined forces to become the S.A.S.S.iest (Star Athletes of SDSI Springboard) team in the Challenged Athletes Foundation Triathlon. Help these fabulous female founders raise funds for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Team S.A.S.S. has already surpassed their fundraising goal of $1,500 but they are not stopping there. Help fund Challenged Athletes' adaptive equipment, coaching, training, competition expenses and mentoring. Learn more and donate here.


Local Alibaba Vice Chairman Bringing Professional Lacrosse to San Diego
La Jolla resident, Joe Tsai, has purchased an expansion National Lacrosse League team to bring to San Diego, “I have a strong passion for lacrosse, and look forward to bringing the NLL to San Diego,” Tsai said in a statement. “Our team is committed to creating a fan-first experience and to being an integral part of the local community.”  Valley View Casino will be the home of the San Diego team-to-be-named beginning in November of 2018. Read more about it from the Union Tribune article or on Bloomberg.

San Diego Inks Long Term US Soccer Development Academy Commitment
“We chose San Diego for a simple reason: We want a world-class environment for our players,” Development Academy director Jared Micklos said. “Everything about San Diego fits our criteria, from the amazing soccer venue, the temperate climate, to the impressive soccer support in the region.” It is also a great win for SD tourism with an estimated 32,000 visitors and 23,000+ hotel room nights for 2018 alone. Read more here.

CAF 24th Annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge
Make Someday, Today. Join Team CAF for a weekend of community, connection and empowerment at the 24th annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge (SDTC).  Choose your challenge and compete in the 1-mile swim, 44-mile bike and 10-mile run as an individual or on a relay team.  Or you can sign up for the YMCA of San Diego County “Tiki” Tour de Cove stationary cycling challenge or the Kaiser Permanente Thrive 5K Fitness Walk presented by Hanger Clinic. Watch your fundraising dollars in play as challenged and able bodied athletes compete side by side to prove that anything is possible. Register today here.

TurningPoint ExecYour customers expect more! Over the last 3 weeks, I have dealt with 4 different companies whose customer service stood out – 3 bad and 1 good! In each of the 3 bad situations, my team and I were told different things by different "customer service" professionals within the same company. It was confusing, they didn't resolve our issue, it was frustrating and in the end, they couldn't care less about helping me. It got me thinking about the type of talent companies are hiring to sit in the most important seat of all! When hiring customer service reps, inside sales reps or customer success professionals (there are many titles being used these days), be sure you are screening and interviewing for the right skills. Specifically, the ability to think on their feet; their ability to maintain a calm & professional demeanor regardless of the situation; tone of voice and clear communication skills; and most important, empathy. The best way to test for these is to put your prospective new hire through a live role play on the phone with one of your staff. It is a little extra work but if your new hire lacks these skills, your current customers will never become repeat buyers. Even worse, they will share their negative stories, decreasing your new customer base along the way.

Job Openings
Purchasing Manager - Commerce, CA 

Traditional Marketing Manager – San Diego
Business Development Manager, Financial Services – San Diego


Advntur - CEO click for info, contact


BLDG Active – Internship Opportunity click for info


Challenged Athletes Foundation – Digital Marketing Manager click for info 

Competitor Group 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

Red Door Interactive - Internship Opportunities click for info

SKLZ - Multiple positions available click for info

TurningPoint Executive Search 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.  

​​ Oct. 24 – SDSI Board of Directors Meeting at Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, 4-6pm

Nov. TBD – General Membership Meeting

Nov. 14 – SDSI AdvisorBoard Meeting 

Dec. 12 – SDSI Holiday Party

Sep 13-15 - SFIA Industry Leaders Summit, Chicago, IL click for info 

Sept 18 – Surfing Heritage & Culture Center Golf Surfari, Orange County, CA click for info

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

Sep 28 – Magento Meetup Launch Party by Digital Operative, San Diego, CA click for info

Sep 30 - Vans x Sun Diego Boardshops AM SLAM Surf Contest Series Event 4, San Clemente click for info

Oct 4 – TurningPoint Executive Search: Sales & Marketing Leader Award, Del Mar, CA click for info 

Oct 2 Challenged Athletes Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge, La Jolla, CA click for more info

Oct 24 David Wells’ Golf Tournament for The Perfect 33 Foundation, Del Mar, CA 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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