Valencia teams up with Demium to launch matchday innovation fund

Spanish LaLiga football club Valencia has partnered with Demium to launch a matchday innovation fund to promote start-up companies with ideas in the field of sport.

The fund will support the existing VCF innovation Hub and will involve the creation of a new sports technology specialisation vertical. The new strand will join the four existing verticals of the VCF Innovation Hub: fan engagement, medicine and sports science, smart stadiums, and academy.

Valencia said the fund will be the first of its kind to work with a football club’s innovation hub and will invest in both national and international companies.

Demium invests in innovative projects with a view to support their growth. The company will work with Valencia on the matchday innovation fund, which has been backed with €5m (£4.3m/$5.3m) from external investors.

Demium launched in June 2020 and has invested €9.96m in a total of 98 start-ups through its hubs in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ukraine and Poland.

Franco Segarra, director of innovation at Valencia, said: “The matchday innovation fund merges the know-how of our innovation programme with the investment experience of Demium, and will be a strategic alliance to become leaders in the field of sports tech.”

Jaime Guillot, chief operating officer at Demium, added: “This agreement with the VCF Innovation Hub will allow us to promote projects capable of going one step further in the world of sports innovation, and position ourselves as a standout in a sector in flourishing development and with a lot to contribute to the economy.”

In other news, Anil Murthy has been sacked as president of Valencia after he criticised owner Peter Lim.

Audio files published by the Superdeporte newspaper feature Murthy describing Lim as “senile” and “amateur”. Murthy also described Liverpool and Newcastle as “s**t” cities.

In a statement released yesterday (Monday), Valencia said that its board would like to clarify that the conversations represent the personal views of Murthy and not those of the club.

Valencia’s statement added: “The board values the importance of a close relationship between the club, the community, fans, government authorities, media and other stakeholders.

“The board hold the view that a change in leadership is required, in order to regain the trust of the fans and the community and put Valencia CF in a position for success. Effective immediately, Anil Murthy will cease to be both president and an employee of Valencia CF.”

Sean Bai has been appointed director general of the club on an interim basis. Bai has been with the club since 2018 and currently serves as director of the VCF Academy.

Valencia has also reiterated its commitment to completing the construction of a new stadium.

In March, the club presented what is expected to be the definitive plan to restart the dormant Nuevo Mestalla project. Murthy had previously said the club would not deliver a “low-cost stadium”.

Construction work on the Nuevo Mestalla was suspended in February 2009 and the venue has since become one of the world’s most notorious stadium projects

Image: Valencia CF