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Sportsdigita CEO named to Forbes list

In 2011, Angelina Lawton took a risk. This year, it landed her on Forbes' list of the most powerful women in U.S. sports.

MINNEAPOLIS - The most powerful women in U.S. sports, according to Forbes: Serena Williams, Condoleezza Rice, and Angelina Lawton.

"It's fantastic for women in sports, women in tech. So, the recognition is incredible for myself, but more importantly the company," said Angelina Lawton, the CEO of Sportsdigita in Minneapolis.

It started with an idea about 10 years ago, when Lawton worked for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning.

"They were pitching six- and seven-figure deals with PowerPoint and it was archaic," said Lawton.

So Lawton - who's from Edina - moved back home to Minnesota and started Sportsdigita in 2011. Her idea: a customizable digital presentation tool called "Digideck."

"PowerPoint on steroids, that's what we call it," said Lawton. "What we're helping teams do is we're helping them develop revenue for sponsorship and for ticketing."

Digideck's also full of analytics, helping teams with scouting and fan engagement, and the teams started pouring in. Today, Sportsdigita has more than 300 clients, including the Twins, Wild, and Timberwolves, but also the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Yankees.

"The first client that we did it for was the Minnesota Twins and they did a great job with their deck, and other teams saw what that was and wanted to have the same thing," said Lawton. "They were all so hungry for something different than PowerPoint. And, they have such cool stuff to show that it just wasn't doing it justice on a piece of paper."

The company, Sportsdigita, started in 2011 with three employees, including Lawton. It's grown to 30 employees with plans to hire 20 more by the end of the year, and add a new office in London.

"What I didn't think, or underestimated, was that whole enterprise side," said Lawton, pointing to Sportsdigita's new, non-sports business like Delta, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Caribou Coffee.

So, how difficult was it for Lawton to take that leap of faith in 2011, giving up her job?

"It was really difficult because there was not a lot of women running in the sports circles or the tech circle. So, for myself to have started double whammy into two industries that are pretty male-dominated - it was a risk," said Lawton.

A risk that landed Angelina Lawton on a Forbes list.

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