Courtside Ventures unveils initial investment portfolio

Courtside Ventures, the sports focused early-stage venture capital fund that invests in media and technology companies, has unveiled its portfolio of inaugural investments.

The investments include leading the $2.3m (€2.2m) seed financing for subscription sports media company The Athletic and an early investment in the interactive live-streaming platform Beam, which was acquired by software giant Microsoft in August.

The Athletic focuses on providing local fans with premium coverage and a superior user experience. It launched last year and is currently live in Chicago and Toronto with more cities on the way.

Beam offers streamers and viewers the ability to actively engage within gameplay. Courtside was among only a handful of investors to invest in the company prior to Beam being acquired by Microsoft.

Courtside Ventures’ other investments include the Drone Racing League and LiveLike VR. The latter virtual reality company has already broadcast games in partnership with US sports broadcaster Fox Sports for college American football’s Big 10 Championship game, UK pay-television broadcaster Sky Sports for its coverage of the English Premier League and Roland Garros for the French Open tennis grand slam.

Courtside Ventures was established as a $35m fund last year. It was formed as a strategic partnership between Bruin Sports Capital, the media, sports, marketing and branded lifestyle venture launched by George Pyne; anchor investor Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Rock Ventures, Quicken Loans and majority owner of NBA basketball franchise the Cleveland Cavaliers; and communication services company WPP.