NEW YORK, June 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Buzzer, the new mobile platform for personalization and discovery of live sports, today announced the successful close of a $20M Series A financing. The round was led by existing investor Sapphire Sport and new investor Canaan Partners. Substantial new investments came from a diverse group of industry leaders spanning sports, business and entertainment, including 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, among others. Early investors Lerer Hippeau and Anthony Noto [SoFi, Army West Point] also supported the round.
The new financing will allow Buzzer to further democratize frictionless access to live sports and scale its first-of-a-kind product, specifically designed to meet the needs of the next generation of sports fans. Through customized and curated alerts, mobile-first fans never miss out on the most exciting moments in sports, defining a new era in sports media. Financing will help the Buzzer team build new product features that lean into the social aspect of sports, develop new partnership opportunities, as well as grow with key hires.
«With the proliferation of new distribution platforms, fans are finding it harder to know when and where live sports are happening, creating an experience that is not optimized for their expansive interests based on how they consume. We envision Buzzer becoming the discovery and curation tool that brings Gen Z fans back to live sports with simple access to ephemeral moments,» says Bo Han, founder and CEO of Buzzer. «We’re grateful to have so many influential industry leaders as partners who have a shared vision of creating a platform and community built to close the generational gap in live sports consumption. We’ll continue to build Buzzer with fans’ interests in mind and with a partner-first approach that presents new opportunities for them to reach net new audiences, define new revenue streams, and offer added value to their existing subscribers.»
Other notable investors include more than 20 current and former athletes including 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 [D.C. 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]; influential leaders in the sports and entertainment community including 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 fund of the late David Stern.
«Buzzer is addressing the biggest challenge facing the global sports industry, which is how to make live media rights more accessible and ultimately more valuable. Bo and the Buzzer team’s partner-first, industry-advancing approach centered on personalization, data and mobility serves leagues, teams, RSNs, national networks and OTT / DTC products equally,» says Sapphire Sport partner Michael Spirito who also joins the company’s board. «We are thrilled to continue to help Buzzer bring this vision to life and to welcome so many diverse and influential investors to this round as we build on the momentum we have with the NBA, NHL and PGA deals.»
Founded by Bo Han in 2020, Buzzer simplifies the discovery and viewing experience of live sports on mobile in a short-form live format. The platform offers a seamless user and viewing experience by aggregating and organizing live sports streaming rights into one cohesive and accessible mobile platform, and allowing its users to set up customized alerts based on their preferences. Current league partners include NBA League Pass, PGA TOUR and NHL with additional partnerships slated to announce in the coming months as Buzzer continues to expand as a multi-sport, aggregated platform.
«There’s nothing more exciting than a close game or buzzer beater – those are the moments we live for as players,» says Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and Super Bowl champion. «Buzzer ensures fans never miss these moments in real-time and helps us make our connections with them stronger, especially with younger, mobile-first sports fans. I believe Buzzer represents the future of live sports and I’m thrilled to join them on their journey.»
As a company committed to building community and with strong culture top of mind, Buzzer will continue to invest in its Strive initiative, which creates access for talent in underrepresented communities through a three-pronged strategy to prioritize growth and reinvestment in underserved communities.
«Buzzer is uniquely suited to bring together the massive market of live sports and a new generation of fans who prefer mobile content. With viewership down across many league’s telecasts, sports media is experiencing an existential challenge,» says Maha Ibrahim, General Partner at Canaan. «Buzzer presents a novel approach to reclaiming value in the $75B U.S. live sports market, making it painless for fans to drop into games right on their phones – sending them hyper-personalized notifications at exactly the moment when their favorite player, team, or sport is live.»
Buzzer is currently in Early Access and available for download on iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play Store. Users can download the app and build profiles by selecting preferences for their favorite players, teams and leagues. Users are then added to a waitlist, until they receive full access to the app at which point they are able to consume live content. The platform will officially launch later this year.
Buzzer is a new notification-driven mobile platform for short-form live sports personalized for fans. Bo Han founded Buzzer in 2020 after leading Live Sports Rights Acquisition at Twitter for over seven years. In 2021, Buzzer was recognized on Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Companies and SportsPro’s list of emerging sports tech startups to invest in now. The platform will officially launch later this year.
Headquartered in New York, Buzzer believes in hiring the best talent and is committed to fairness and inclusion. Buzzer administers a mentorship program focused on cultivating a community of industry leaders across sport, technology, and media paired with mentees from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as part of its broader Strive Initiative. To learn more, download Buzzer on iOS in the App Store and Android in the Google Play Store, visit www.buzzer.com, and follow @Buzzer on Twitter and Instagram.
About Sapphire Sport
Sapphire Sport is a first-of-its-kind venture capital platform bringing together the capital and industry experience of premier global sporting, media and lifestyle brands, including City Football Group, AEG, Sinclair, MLB, adidas, principal owners and investors from franchises in all five major U.S. sports leagues as well as strategic family offices and institutional investors. https://sapphiresport.vc.
About Canaan Partners
Canaan is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs with visionary ideas. With over $5 billion under management, a diversified fund, and hundreds of exits to date, we partner with entrepreneurs building the next generation of technology and healthcare companies that will transform how we live, work, and thrive. To learn more about our people and our portfolio, please visit http://www.canaan.com.
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