Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments Acquires Minority Stake in U.S. Startup FloSports
- New investment round totals $21.2 million
- Bertelsmann investment fund to support further business development of sports-themed online video network
Gütersloh/New York, August 16, 2016 – Bertelsmann is investing in FloSports, an online sports media network specializing in live events. Through its Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) fund, the international media, services and education company is participating in a $21.2 million financing round for the U.S. startup. BDMI and Silicon Valley fund DCM Ventures led the investment round, with participation from media companies Discovery Communications and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) plus existing investor Causeway Media Partners.
FloSports focuses on live sports and currently operates a direct-to-consumer subscription-based network of 14 dedicated verticals in sports including wrestling, grappling, boxing and volleyball. In recent months, FloSports has live-streamed events such as Europe’s Strongest Man, the European Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship and the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship.
Urs Cete, Managing Partner of BDMI, said: “Media companies understand the ability of live events to attract and engage large audiences. The sports category is particularly powerful in live programming and FloSports captures the passion of athletes and fans by providing them with original content and real-time event coverage to create a single, separate online destination for each sport that offers news, results, commentary and every live match from the first round to the finals. As part of a global media company, BDMI understands the importance of monetizing online video and FloSports’ success in attracting paying subscribers from over 100 countries to their growing number of sports sites convinced us that this would be an attractive and highly relevant investment.”
“We want to partner with world-class investors who share our vision to transform sports media,” said FloSports co-founder and CEO Martin Floreani. “We are the best direct-to-consumer solution for leagues, governing bodies and independent rights holders to monetize their events. In turn, this allows our company to serve millions of sports fans and supports our mission to grow the sports, the athletes, the events and the fans.”
Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments is Bertelsmann’s strategic investment platform in the U.S. and Europe. The fund currently has stakes in almost 50 digital startups focused on online video, ad tech, software as a service (SaaS) and publishing. Together with Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Bertelsmann Brazil Investments (BBI), BDMI was grouped into the new division Bertelsmann Investments and forms Bertelsmann’s global network of investment platforms.
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 117,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.1 billion in the 2015 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.
About Bertelsmann Investments
Bertelsmann Investments unites Bertelsmann’s start-up investments around the world. The focus of its activities are the strategic growth regions of Brazil, China and India, as well as the United States and Europe. Shareholdings are acquired through the strategic investment vehicles Bertelsmann Brazil Investments (BBI), Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI). Bertelsmann owns stakes in more than 100 innovative companies via these funds.
FloSports is a direct-to-consumer, subscription-based sports media company located in Austin, Texas. Through live streaming of premier events, original video programming, and weekly studio shows, FloSports is unlocking a world of sports coverage that true fans have been waiting for. Current verticals under the FloSports header are Wrestling, Track, Grappling, MMA, Elite Fitness, Boxing, Softball, Gymnastics, Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, eSports, and Cheerleading.