Buzzer, a mobile platform for live sports personalized for fans and authenticated through existing subscriptions or micropayments, today announced the close of a $4 million seed funding round. The funding was led by Lerer Hippeau, the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York, and Sapphire Sport, a first-of-its-kind venture fund investing in the future of consumer experiences through personalization, connectivity and digital commerce. The Company also raised capital from investors, including R&R Venture Partners and Imagination Capital, as well as leaders across the sports, media and technology industries, such as Sofi CEO Anthony Noto, former Chairman and CEO of TimeWarner and interim CEO of the LA Clippers Richard Parsons, and former Twitter Head of Design & Research Grace Kim.
Buzzer’s mobile platform will provide a seamless user and viewing experience by aggregating sports rights and content and allowing its users to set up customized notifications. Fans have the option to either authenticate an existing subscription through Buzzer or instantaneously make a secure micropayment to buy only and exactly what they want to watch. Through this unique and innovative technology, Buzzer’s technology identifies ‘lightning in a bottle’ moments in live sports so fans never again have to miss the sports moments that matter most to them as they’re happening.
“Sports is the ultimate unifier – it brings together people from all backgrounds through moments of triumph and unforgettable experiences – that’s why our foundation is built upon a true sense of community,” said Bo Han, Founder and CEO of Buzzer. “Our mission is to provide all sports fans, from the casual observer to the avid season ticket holder, unmatched access to personalized live sports action anytime, anywhere. With this investment, we are well-positioned to introduce an innovative way for fans to engage with the teams and athletes they love, and to mindfully build a product that creates complementary value for the industry by establishing a third category of sports rights — short-form live on mobile. The creation of this category, which sits in-between live long-form on TV and short-form near live clips on social and digital platforms, advances the existing ecosystem by creating awareness of these live games and enhances the value for existing media rightsholders.”
Ken Lerer, Managing Partner at Lerer Hippeau, said, “Across leagues, over-the-top subscriptions and multichannel video programming distributors, we see more than a dozen different platforms for fans to stream sports and it’s nearly impossible for a sports fan to keep track of when, where and how to watch. Today’s consumers expect content to be immediately accessible, consumable, personalized for their interests, and tailored for their devices. Given consumers’ demand and appetite for aggregated sports content, we couldn’t be more excited about Buzzer and its position to be a go-to aggregated live sports streaming platform for fans everywhere.”
“We are living in a world where the local, national and global media rights are still the norm, and in some cases are the only thing holding the global sport economic ecosystem together,” said Michael Spirito, Managing Director at Sapphire Sport. “The sports industry – now more than ever before – is in need of unique technology solutions like Buzzer. Buzzer’s platform creates strong partnerships with networks, leagues, teams and athletes alike in order to increase the overall value proposition for all stakeholders and make programs accessible to new consumers and demographics.”
According to Anthony Noto, CEO of Sofi, previous COO of Twitter, and previous CFO of NFL, “The one constant in the world of media content and distribution is innovation. Buzzer is the tip of the spear on the next frontier of media innovation. Buzzer will uniquely capture the attention of Millennials and Gen Z that are not subscribed to pay-TV or can’t access their subscription away from home. It will unlock a new form of innovation for rights owners as this is an entirely new type of window and content that will give birth to new creativity.”
In addition to closing the gap between live sports and modern consumption habits, Buzzer also has a mission to build a community for the sports world – this starts with its own company. In alignment with its purpose-driven mission, Buzzer created and spearheads a mentorship program that pairs industry leaders across sports, technology, and media with student mentees from across Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to cultivate and invest in the next generation of industry leaders. In its inaugural year, the team paired over 1,000 mentors and mentees across the U.S. In addition to the mentorship program, Buzzer has committed to an initiative its calling ‘Strive,’ defined by a 1x1x1 model: 1% of company equity, 1% of net profits, and 1% of customer-elected transactions will be dedicated to investing in equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.