Sapphire Ventures Plays Ball With New Sports Tech Fund

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Venture capital firm Sapphire Ventures sees potential in sports technology, so its getting into the field in a big way.

Credit: Sapphire Ventures

The Silicon Valley based firm announced that it launched Sapphire Sport, a sports and entertainment focused fund that already has more than $115 million in funds in the bank to invest in Series A and B startups specializing on sports, entertainment and media.

The new fund seeks to bring to those fields the philosophy applied to the main Sapphire Ventures fund: “multi-faceted approach to venture capital investing seeks to leverage our insights, expertise, deal flow and global network across the entire technology VC landscape, not only enterprise (software).”

The fund acknowledges that the return on investment is often based on fast, successful outcomes, which is hard to achieve in sports. However, Sapphire Sport hopes to boost its chances in three ways : Value add limited partners from the broader sports field, use Sapphire Venture’s vast war chest, and put industry professionals in-place to manage the entity.

Michael Spirto, a media veteran previously from 21st Century Fox, has been tapped to lead Sapphire Sport. Several big investors have contributed to the fund including Anschultz Entertainment Group, Major League Baseball, The New York Jets, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and owners of the San Francisco 49ers and the Indiana Pacers.

“As I start my 12th year as a partner with Sapphire Ventures, I couldn’t be more excited about the evolution of our venture platform and our newest initiative, Sapphire Sport,” said Doug Higgins, Managing Director of Sapphire Ventures, in a statement. “We at Sapphire Ventures have always challenged ourselves to stay innovative as investors and create new strategies that we believe create long-term value.”

The new sports oriented VC has already created some new investments: Tonal, a digitally connected home fitness system, mycujoo, a streaming sports platform, Fevo, a live events focused payment platform, Overtime, a new sports network, and Phoenix Labs, a new gaming studio.


Image credits: Sapphire Ventures