Sodexo Live!, a hospitality and concessions partner for sports and entertainment venues, has launched a new innovation lab in North America to work with startups developing products to improve venue operations and fan experience at live events. Startups can apply for the new Sodexo Live! until September 12. The program is organized in partnership with global innovation specialist L Marks.
The accelerator is looking for startups whose solutions address themes such as:
- Recruit employee talent
- Added AR and VR fan experiences to sites
- Frictionless fan inlet
- Points of contact at the point of sale
- Predictive analytics to optimize site space and internal operations
Selected startups will work with mentors on a ten-week program to test their products in a live event environment.
Sodexo live! Recently signed an agreement until 2026 to become the hotel partner of the French Open at Roland Garros. The company manages hospitality, food and beverage services for US venues such as the Nashville Superspeedway, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Earlier this MLB season, Sodexo Live! opened an Amazon Just Walk Out store at T-Mobile Park for fans during Mariners games.
Among the competitors of Sodexo Live! in the reception area of the rooms is Levy, which earlier this year launched its innovation branch DBK Studio which operates in the same way as Sodexo’s new accelerator. DBK Studio partners with tech startups to roll out new services across Levy’s 250 locations, such as adding Mantis XR QR codes to the St. Louis Blues arena to power a new platform for buying virtual dressing room merchandise online for fans.
“We literally get a hundred inbound ideas a month from companies who believe they’ve created the magic elixir to achieve fan and guest nirvana,” Levy President and CEO Andy Lansing told The Daily Mail. Sports Business Journal. “What DBK Studio does is, through a team of experts in all areas of our business, formalize the process by which we bring new technologies to market.”
Levy’s DBK studio has also worked with drone delivery startup Valqari to add drone deliveries to fans ordering food at Purdue University’s baseball field. American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks, collaborated with DBK Studio to launch two self-contained cashless food and beverage outlets in April, powered by Standard AI’s computer vision cameras.
Another hospitality provider and sports venue concessionaire alongside Sodexo Live! and Levy is Aramark, who partnered with TendedBar to add its facial-recognition cocktail ordering machine to Empower Field in Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos. Aramark also launched mobile robot food delivery for Capital One Arena fans during NHL playoff games in May through its partnership with delivery robot startup Tortoise.