Sport-Social is now eligible for $100,000 in seed funding and support following its win in a state-sponsored contest to find the next unique Nevada business.
The Las Vegas-based startup business, founded in 2011 by 22-year-old therapist Andrew Devitt for $15,000, helps children with autism and other special needs. The business was one of 12 finalists in the competition, called Project Vesto, administered by the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization.
Over the past 20 months, Sport-Social has grown to employ 20 people and it serves 225 children a week using action sports, team sports and the arts to provide an environment for social interaction.
Sport-Social will receive a $25,000 check to start. The company will need to reach different milestones to obtain up to $100,000.
“For startup companies like Sport-Social, it is extremely important to couple hands-on mentorship with seed capital to help ensure their success,” NIREC Chairman Ian Rogoff said.
Through Project Vesto, Sport-Social will also gain access to a network of angel investors, experienced entrepreneurs and consultants who will help the company grow.
Rogoff said he looks forward to working with Sport-Social to help it “become an even bigger success story for Nevada than it already is.”
The contest attracted 232 entrants. Of the 12 finalists, seven were from Northern Nevada. People had to log into the Project Vesto website to vote for their favorite startup.
“Startups are an important component of Nevada’s economic development plan,” said Steve Hill, director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
The Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization, a nonprofit, fosters collaboration between academics, investors and entrepreneurs to bolster innovation and economic activity.
Other finalists from Southern Nevada were Arsilica Inc., a specialty glassware maker; Jadon Foods, a gluten-free bakery; Fitronix Inc., which provides real-time performance monitoring; and ListSanity, a social media tool to create lists to share with friends.
The Reno finalists were Mobile Welding and Repair; Hotlap, an app to monitor training and racing performance; Loogla, an online language site; Marie Gibson Management and Consulting LLC; NTI Products; Reno Public Market; and Trust Your Journey LLC, which sells inspirational products online.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at email@example.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.