Launching leAD, the legacy of Adi Dassler Sports Accelerator

Interview with Horst Bente, grandson of Adi Dassler, on launching the leAD Sports Accelerator

Horst Bente is the oldest grandson of Adi Dassler and Co-Founder of the leAD Sports Accelerator.
leAD – legacy of Adi Dassler – is a seed accelerator for startups with outstanding products, services and business models in the realm of sports. It was founded by Adi Dassler’s grandchildren alongside a unique group of investors and will take place for the first time from September 12th until December 8th 2017 in Berlin. Applications are open until May 31, 2017 via

1. What is the most significant memory of your grandfather as an innovator and entrepreneur?

He was also very creative and persistent when it came to developing his products. And he always found ways to implement new ideas and make good products even better. He believed in his innovations and was a man of action. For him, products were never really finished – even when an athlete achieved success with his shoes, he was already thinking of ways to improve them.


(Image: Adi Dassler and grandchildren)

2. Why have you decided to start the leAD Accelerator and support young founders and startups?

Our grandfather, Adi Dassler, was always driven by the idea of making great sports ideas even greater and putting them into action. Today, he would be supporting start-ups in the same way we are doing in his honor.

3. Where do you see leAD in 5 years?

In 5 years from now, leAD will be globally established as an institution that drives innovation and new business in sports. We’ll take care of a growing portfolio of emerging companies, the accelerator program will have at least a second home in the U.S and we have established a great network of mentors and partners from around the world. But next to successful business, for me it's equally important that we will have a very close relationship with all the entrepreneurs and their teams, just as Adi Dassler always treated the athletes and partners he worked with as a part of our family.

4. Is this the return of your family into sports business?

We do this for the next generation and I would love to see our children and grand children creating the next great sport legacy under the wings of leAD!

leAD Sports Accelerator - The legacy. from leAD Sports Accelerator on Vimeo.

Ignore Gravity is responsible for the concept, development, marketing and execution of the leAD Sports Accelerator.

Link to the project:

Steffen Kellner

After a decade in different management positions around the globe at Red Bull, he focusses on marketing strategy & innovation at IG.