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Yesterday, I mentioned the intersection of technology and sport as an area of intense focus and interest for me.  Today, Nike and TechStars launched a new accelerator program, offering 10 companies $20,000 and 3 months of mentoring, to build applications upon the Nike+ SDK, Nike Mobile SDK and Nike Fuel SDK.

You promised me Mars colonies, and all I got was Facebook – Buzz Aldrin

Inspiring and encouraging people to lead a more active lifestyle, enabled and encouraged by digital technology and trends, is an incredible area of growth.  Consequently, we’re seeing an increasing focus on health related incubators and accelerators, and the associated ecosystem of companies.

For instance RockHealth, of which Nike are also a partner, is a seed accelerator for digital health startups.  Entry into the RockHealth incubator yields $100k of investment from Aberdare, Kleiner Perkins, the Mayo Clinic and Mohr Davidow.  Companies are given medical support from Kaiser Permanente, Harvard Medical School and UCSF, as well as Design mentoring from Cooper Design.  It’s a great example of an intersection of health and wellness, technology and design.

As Buzz Aldrin was recently quoted as saying in MIT Technology Review, “you promised me Mars colonies, and all I got was Facebook”, not unlike Peter Thiel’s lament that “we wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters”.

It is heartening to see Valley investment, Valley talent and Bay Area Design expertise intersecting in a meaningful manner, towards something that impacts us all much more fundamentally. Now with companies like Nike opening up their digital platforms, things could get pretty innovative and interesting.