Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, CA-based technology venture capital firm, launched a $115m funds platform to invest in early-stage startups at the intersection of sports, media, and entertainment sectors.
Led by Doug Higgins, co-founder and managing director, and Michael Spirito, managing director, Sapphire Sport combines the experience of Sapphire Ventures’ investment team with the capital and industry experience of premier global sporting, media and lifestyle brands, including anchor investor City Football Group, other owners, investors and family offices from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL) and Major League Soccer (MLS), adidas; Anschutz Entertainment Group; Bank of Montreal; City Football Group; Intersect Ventures; Jeremy Jacobs, Major League Baseball; New York Jets; the funds affiliated with the owners of the San Francisco 49ers; San Jose Sharks; SAP; Sinclair Broadcast Group; Jeff Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning; and WISE Ventures.
The fund is focusing on investing in Series A and B financing rounds working to close a funding gap that is growing between seed investors and private equity. It is launching with a portfolio of five startups, including:
– Tonal, a digitally connected home fitness system;
– mycujoo, a live football (soccer) streaming platform;
– Overtime, a next-generation digital sports network;
– Fevo, a social commerce solution company; and
– Phoenix Labs, an independent gaming studio launched by the creators of Dauntless.
With more than $2.5 billion under management via direct early-stage and growth investments and early-stage fund investments, Sapphire Ventures is a venture capital firm providing capital, resources and expertise to enable its portfolio companies to scale rapidly.