Looking for a way to make sure you don’t miss the most exciting moments in real-time sports?
start Buzzer has an app for it — and it just raised $20 million from an investor list that includes a slew 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 investment” came from people in sports, business and entertainment. The long list of backers 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 CFO of Twitter), 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 acquisitions of live sports rights. Note: Twitter’s application 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 bundling live sports streaming 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’s nothing more exciting than a close game or a buzzer – those are the times we live for as players,” said Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super champion Patrick Mahomes. Bowl LIV, in a statement provided by the company. “Buzzer ensures fans never miss those real-time moments and helps us to strengthen our connection with them, especially with younger mobile sports fans. I believe Buzzer is the future of live sports and I’m delighted to join them on their journey.
Buzzer is currently in the “early access” release phase, available for download on iOS in the Apple App Store and on Android in the Google Play store. For now, downloading users can create profiles by selecting preferences for their favorite players, teams, and leagues; they are then added to a waiting list before gaining full access to the app, in which case they can consume live content. The platform will officially launch later this year.
“We envision Buzzer becoming the discovery and curation tool that brings Gen Z fans back to live sports with easy access to fleeting moments,” Buzzer Founder and CEO Han said in a statement. He touted his company’s “partner-first approach”, which he said will give leagues and other sports rights holders new opportunities to reach new fans and generate new revenue streams.
Other Buzzer investors 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 (an affiliate 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 ownership of 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’s fund).
Buzzer’s Series A comes after raising $4 million in seed funding last year.
Co-lead investor Sapphire Sport, a fund of Sapphire Ventures, says its limited partners include City Football Group (owners of Manchester City), owners and investors of the NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL and MLS, and entertainment organizations, family offices and institutional investors. Canaan is a start-up venture capital firm with over $5 billion under management.
With this funding, Sapphire Sport partner Michael Spirito joins Buzzer’s board of directors. “Buzzer addresses the biggest challenge facing the global sports industry, which is how to make live media rights more accessible and ultimately more valuable,” commented Spirito.