Courtside Ventures, the leading early-stage VC firm investing in category-defining companies across sports, gaming and lifestyle has announced its $100M Fund III.
Fund III investors include a globally diverse group of industry leaders across professional sports team owners, athletes and industry executives. Team owners include Tony Ressler (Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Ares Management and Majority Owner of Atlanta Hawks), Dan Gilbert (Founder & Chairman of Rocket Mortgage and Chairman of Cleveland Cavaliers), David Blitzer (Co-Owner of Philadelphia 76ers, NJ Devils, Cleveland Guardians and Crystal Palace), Dee and Jimmy Haslam (CEO, Chairman and Managing Partners at Haslam Sports Group), Whitney Haslam Johnson and JW Johnson (Partners at Haslam Sports Group), Tisch Family (Lowes Corporation and Co-owners of New York Giants), Lerner Family (Lerner Enterprises and Majority Owners of Washington Nationals), Idan Ofer (Principal of Quantum Pacific Group and Co-Owner Atletico Madrid), Alec Litowitz (Founder of Magnetar Capital and Minority Owner of D.C. United), John Burbank (Founder of Passport Capital and Executive Board Member of Golden State Warriors), Dan Sundheim (Founder & CIO at D1 Capital Partners and Minority Owner of Charlotte Hornets), among several others.
Corporations and other strategic investors in Fund III include Dicks Sporting Goods, Superbet, Arctos Partners, Wellness Holding (family office of TechnoGym founder) and Gametime Capital (family office of Richard Fairbank, Founder and CEO of Capital One, which specializes in sports and sports technology investments). Athletes who have invested include Larry Fitzgerald, Shaquille O’Neal and Jacob Trouba, among others. The large majority of Fund III investors returned from prior Courtside funds, joined by more than 50 new relationships. The announcement brings Courtside Ventures’ total committed capital to over $200M AUM.
Since its launch in 2016, Courtside has continuously proven the success of their investment strategy, with investments in more than 80 thematically-focused companies across 8 countries. Fund I has already returned 1.61X in net DPI proceeds to LPs, ranking it in the top 10% of all venture funds in their vintage. Notable investments since inception include The Athletic (acquired by The New York Times), Beam (acquired by Microsoft), StockX, 100Thieves, WinZO, VEO, Religion of Sports, Rei do Pitaco, Freeletics, FanCraze, and Paceline, among several others.
Courtside Ventures has already begun deployment of Fund III, partnering with early-stage founders with bold visions for the future of sports, gaming, and lifestyle applications globally. Early Fund III investments include Hypothetic, Matchday, Mojo, Xpoint, Jackpot.com, Venly, Planet Mojo, Bezel, Fliff, Fermat and Fello.
“Courtside Ventures has a track record of successfully backing and accelerating culture-shaping companies that are driving innovation, and with Fund III we will continue to invest with conviction in great founders and disruptive ideas in our key verticals of sports, fitness, collectibles and gaming,” says Deepen Parikh, partner at Courtside Ventures.
“We will also continue to put a strong emphasis on global investment opportunities as our vertical focus and learnings from the US market are applicable to larger and higher growth regions. We remain heavily committed to our portfolio companies, all of which are well positioned to maintain resilience in a market where calculated execution is key.”
“From the moment they led our seed round through our exit to The New York Times, Courtside Ventures was an instrumental partner and board member for The Athletic. They took an early bet on our vision to redefine sports journalism when most other VC firms had passed, and continued to support us at every phase of our growth, setting them apart from many others in the industry,” says The Athletic’s co-founder and CEO Alex Mather.
“The Courtside Ventures team has been invaluable to the early success of our business,” says Jackpot.com co-founder and CEO Akshay Khanna. “Their hands-on approach ensures companies like ours with bold ambitions together have access to the resources, tools and partners we need to scale, navigate times of market uncertainty, and ultimately advance our respective industries. We are humbled to call them an early investor, one who believes in our vision with conviction, and we are proud to be included in this new fund, which has so many thought leaders as investors.”