Tennibot wins TIA Innovation Challenge

March 28, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Tennis Industry Association (TIA) staged its own version of “March Madness” recently and even crowned a champion—in less than one hour. The TIA’s “March Madness” event was the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, a “Shark Tank”-like competition to identify the most innovative and creative product or service in the tennis industry.

The Innovation Challenge took place on March 27 during key tennis industry meetings at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando. Six companies, which had been selected from 37 overall applicants for the Innovation Challenge, each gave a five-minute presentation on what makes their tennis product or service special, unique and important to the growth of the sport.

In the final analysis, the panel of judges picked Tennibot, which is based in Auburn, Ala., as the winner of the inaugural Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge. Tennibot ( is a robotic tennis ball collector that detects tennis balls on the court using cameras, sensors and complex algorithms. The Tennibot unit also comes with an app that allows the user to choose where to pick up balls and keeps track of how many balls it picks up.

“I am thrilled to win,” says Tennibot Founder Haitham Eletrabi. “At first, I was worried because there was so much that I wanted to tell the judges in just five minutes. And, the other finalists had great ideas. Our product helps people maximize their time on the tennis court and improves their overall tennis experience.” (Eletrabi can be reached at [email protected] or 334-444-8968.)

The other five finalists in the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge were:

“We were thrilled with both the quantity and quality of our Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge applicants and finalists,” says TIA Executive Director Jolyn de Boer. “Many thanks to all those who took the time to apply and to tell us about their innovative product or service which is helping to grow tennis and industry businesses. The TIA was pleased to offer this unique platform to entrepreneurs, with an eye toward increasing tennis participation and enjoyment for all consumers.”

“With so many strong applicants, it was difficult for the judges to choose among them to identify the finalists,” adds international performance strategist Carlos Salum, president of Salum International Resources and a member of the SportsCouncil Silicon Valley, who was the moderator for the Innovation Challenge. “All of our finalists had high-quality innovative products and services, which bodes well for the future of the tennis industry.”

As the winner of the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge, Tennibot received $1,000; a national news release to about 2,000 media outlets with a potential audience of 30 million consumers; coverage in Tennis Industry Magazine; a commemorative trophy; a membership in the TIA; and other benefits.

Judges for the Tennis Industry Innovation Challenge were:

The Innovation Challenge competition took place during the Future of Tennis Forum, which was presented by the Tennis Industry Association. Following the challenge, the TIA’s Tennis Owners & Managers Conference began. Both conferences brought together leading experts in facility management, programming, technology, sales and marketing, staffing and other key areas to provide vital information that address the needs of all types of tennis facilities—public, commercial, private, country clubs, resorts, etc.

About the TIA

The Tennis Industry Association, the not-for-profit trade association for tennis, is THE unifying force in the tennis industry whose mission is to promote the growth and economic vitality of the business of tennis by working closely with its industry partners and in support of the USTA in their development of initiatives to increase tennis participation. Core TIA activities include producing more than 70 U.S. and global research reports annually on participation and consumer/trade research, managing the largest relational database, along with hosting annual TIA Tennis Forum, Leadership meetings and the TOM Conference at major tournaments and events. Visit or call 866-686-3036.