Looking for a way to make sure you don’t miss out on the most exciting moments in sports in real time?
Startup Buzzer has an app for that – and it just made $ 20 million from an investor list that includes a host of sports and entertainment industry heavyweights.
Buzzer’s $ 20 million Series A funding was led by existing investor Sapphire Sport and new investor Canaan Partners. The company said “substantial new investments” came from individuals in sports, business and entertainment. The list of donors includes: LaMelo Ball, Devin Booker, J. Cole, Wayne Gretzky, DeAndre Hopkins, Sabrina Ionescu, Michael Jordan, Patrick Mahomes, Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid, Renee Montgomery, Naomi Osaka and Bobby Wagner. Early investors, including venture capital firm Lerer Hippeau, and SoFi CEO Anthony Noto (former Twitter CFO) also participated in the round.
The New York-based company was founded last year by Bo Han, who previously worked at Twitter for seven years, most recently leading live sports rights acquisitions. Note: Twitter’s app has the ability to alert users to live events they have chosen to follow.
According to Buzzer, its app provides “a seamless user and viewing experience” by aggregating live sports broadcast rights and allowing users to set up personalized alerts based on their preferences. Buzzer’s current league partners include NBA League Pass, PGA Tour, and NHL, and the company says it has other deals in the works.
“There is nothing more exciting than a close game or a buzzer – these are the times we live in as players,” said Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl LIV champion, in a press release provided by the company. “Buzzer ensures that fans never miss these real-time moments and helps us to strengthen our bond with them, especially with young, predominantly mobile sports fans. I believe Buzzer represents the future of live sports and I am delighted to join them on their journey.
Buzzer is currently in an early access phase, available for download on iOS in the Apple App Store and on Android in the Google Play Store. For now, users who download can create profiles by selecting the preferences of their favorite players, teams and leagues; they are then added to a waiting list before they have full access to the app, at which point they can consume live content. The platform will be officially launched later this year.
“We envision Buzzer to become the discovery and curation tool that brings Gen Z fans back to live sports with simple access to fleeting moments,” Han, founder and CEO of Buzzer, said in a statement. He touted his company’s “partner first approach”, which he says will give leagues and other sports rights holders new opportunities to reach new fans and generate new sources of revenue.
Other investors in Buzzer include athletes Pat Connaughton, Madison Hammond, Scotty James, Christian McCaffrey and Apolo Ohno; team owners David Blitzer (New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia 76ers), GSW Sports Ventures (a subsidiary of the Golden State Warriors), Steve Kaplan (DC United, Swansea City), Steve Koonin (Atlanta Hawks), Lerner Enterprises (Washington Nationals), Stephen Pagliuca (Boston Celtics), Michael Jordan and Curtis Polk (Charlotte Hornets, 23XI Racing), Steve Simon (Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever), Jeffrey Vinik (Tampa Bay Lightning) and WISE Ventures (shared property of the Minnesota Vikings, Orlando City SC, Orlando Pride).
And there are more Buzzer investors: Ros Gold-Onwude, Ibrahim Hamad, Devin Johnson, Estee Portnoy and Taylor Rooks, and investment firms Black Capital, Chetrit Ventures, JDS Sports, Jump Capital, LionTree Partners, OneTeam Partners , Targa Partners and Micromanagement Ventures (the late David Stern fund).
Buzzer’s Series A comes after raising $ 4 million in seed funding last year.
Co-lead investor Sapphire Sport, a Sapphire Ventures fund, said its sponsors include City Football Group (owners of Manchester City), owners and investors of the NFL, MLB, NBA, from the WNBA, NHL and MLS, as well as entertainment organizations, family offices and institutional investors. Canaan is a early stage venture capital firm with over $ 5 billion under management.
With the funding, Michael Spirito, partner of Sapphire Sport, joins the board of directors of Buzzer. “Buzzer is tackling the biggest challenge facing the global sports industry – how to make live media rights more accessible and ultimately more valuable,” commented Spirito.