News Releases

SpeedBuild To Unite Professional Athletes, Industry Titans and Venture Capitalists in Austin March 14
One-day startup building program and pitch competition launched by BLVCKOPS, Techstars and Twitter Sports convenes during SXSW

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- When athletes retire from professional sports, either through injury, circumstance or choice, they might have made enough money for retirement, but are typically not prepared for what comes next. They face a future without a coach, identity, team or purpose, often for the first time in their lives. Fortunately, athletes have a number of transferable skills including discipline, determination, grit and the zeal to push through failure or adversity to reach success.

Today, BLVCKOPS, Techstars and Twitter Sports are announcing SpeedBuild, an athlete-only startup competition where current and former athletes are challenged to build a company from the ground up in a single day. SpeedBuild will take place during SXSW in Austin on March 14. The competition is designed to give participants a perspective into starting a company and a career as an entrepreneur. The program will apply immersive learning to introduce fundamental skills required for challenges in the business world, while providing a framework for evaluating future business opportunities, both as an investor or as a member of a founding team.

With the support of Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and Twitter Sports, SpeedBuild will include startup founders, venture capitalists and industry experts to help guide participants through the one-day competition. Limited to 50 participants, the private event and will take place on an exclusive ranch in Austin with entertainment by MICK, DJ.

Notable industry executives and ventures capitalists participating as speakers, Coaches and judges include John Hill, VP of Network at Techstars, TJ Adeshola of Twitter Sports, Jon Cropper of Aston Martin and athlete speedbuild coaches Justin Forsett, Dhani Jones, Spencer Paysinger and Marshall Newhouse. Sponsors include flyExclusive and Kroger.

"What we see is that with the right attitude and through discipline and repetition, professional athletes have developed a set of skills that translate well into business. The fortitude and focus is already there - we help activate what is already inside them and provide direction and resources needed to launch their second career," states Vince Czepukaitis, President of BLVCKOPS, the proven athlete business accelerator responsible for launching this event.

SpeedBuild will kick off with a keynote address after which point athletes will immediately participate in a "draft" to build teams for the competition. Each team will be supported by a group of coaches and product designers to help build out the business concepts. Over the course of the day, each team will build a brand, logo, business plan and product prototype. At the conclusion of the event, the teams will present their business concepts in a Shark Tank-style format to a panel of esteemed judges.

"Professional athletes are the best at what they do. And when they complete their professional sports career, they want to be the best at what they do next. We are honored to partner with BLVCKOPS and Twitter Sports to host the inaugural SpeedBuild event, to provide this exciting, content-enriched and mentorship-driven challenge to athletes looking to make a shift in their career paths," said John Hill, VP of Network at Techstars. "At Techstars we believe in a #GiveFirst mentality. Participating in SpeedBuild will help us further our mission in supporting entrepreneurs across the globe, and helping them to succeed. We look forward to March 14 and working with these athletes in support of their journeys as new entrepreneurs."

For more information, visit

For sponsorships, partnerships or athletes, contact BLVCKOPS COO Genine Fallon,

About Techstars:
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,900 companies with a market cap of more than $25 Billion.

BLVCKOPS is the training ground and innovation engine for pro athletes committed to accelerating their impact and earning potential off the field or court. Together we focus intensely on cultivating and leveraging the skills, resources, and connections necessary to thrive during and after one's playing days.

Natalie Hastings
Communications Strategist