PORTLAND: Nike, the sports giant, has taken a major step forward in developing its digital strategy by partnering with ten innovative young companies for its Nike+ Accelerator programme.
This scheme offers third-party developers $20,000 in funding, and mentoring from leading executives at Nike, as they seek to build products to enhance its Nike+ and NikeFuel platforms.
"We've been excited for quite some time to open up our ecosystem and invite more talent in," said Stefan Olander, VP of Nike's Digital Sport group.
Referring to the chosen ten enterprises, he added: "I think we picked a good balance in terms of things that are close to our core and some companies that are pushing a little further out."
These include businesses focused on health and fitness, in line with the Accelerator's goal of helping people lead more active lives. Less obvious partners are looking at gamification, corporate wellness and a fantasy sports league.
"You have the whole Nike+ portfolio at your disposal basically: GPS data, distance, pace, Fuel, all the running data," stated Olander.
"We provide the APIs," he went on, "and it's pretty much up to them whether they want to create web applications or downloadable apps, though my suspicion is that these services are predominantly going to be manifesting themselves as apps."
The three-month programme will culminate in a demo day, scheduled for mid-June
The Nike+ Accelerator programme is typical of an approach that many brands have latched onto, and which was highlighted in a Warc Trends Snapshot last year.
Brands & Incubators – Why brands are seeking new innovation partnerships outlined how brands are looking to harness grassroots digital innovation, particularly in mobile, by linking directly with some of the brightest minds in the business.
Data sourced from Fast Company; additional content by Warc staff