San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI) announced that tech firms Hookit and VerifiR were the winners of the inaugural SDSI Star Brand Award. Each received a $5,000 cash prize.

The award, presented by KPMG and Saltus Capital Consultants, recognizes entrepreneurs who take the risk of bringing new products, services and ideas into the Sports and Active Lifestyle (SAL) market. It provides a platform for the SAL investment community to see and evaluate emerging SAL businesses.

Six up-and-coming SAL companies presented their business opportunities to a panel of celebrity investor judges and investors: Aculief, Advntur, Hookit, LALO, SkateXS and VerifiR.

The judges were Bill Walton, basketball legend and SDSI chairman; Tony Finn, “Godfather of Wakeboarding” and founder of Liquid Force; Beaver Theodosakis, founder of prAna; and Robert Reynolds, director at Park Lane sports investment bank.

“All six of the presenting companies were over-the-top exemplary,” Walton said. “They made it overwhelmingly difficult to select just one winner – so we selected two.”