Sportable, a South African sports data company for teams and audiences has raised $15 million Series A investment to further expand its successful partnerships with leading international tournaments, including the Six Nations Rugby Championship, as well as global ball manufacturers, media companies, and sporting leagues.
The round was led by Cape Town-based Venture Capital (VC) firm HAVAÍC which contributed US$1 million. Other investors included renowned US-based sports investor Ryan Sports Ventures and Australian fund XV Capital led by Stirling Mortlock and James Godfrey.
According to Ian Lessem, Managing Partner at HAVAÍC, “The team’s reach into the big leagues and brands across rugby, American football, and soccer is very impressive. Sportable has a potent combination of exceptional experience and far-reaching connections, not to mention a very robust product with exhilarating potential to scale. As champions of African tech innovation with global prospects, Sportable 100% hits the mark for HAVAÍC.”
Founded by two South Africans in 2016, Sportable uses Micro-Tracking (MT) technology to enhance data collection and analysis in ball and contact sports, particularly rugby, soccer, and American football. MT modules fitted in balls and on players are plotted by Radio Frequency (RF) beacons around the field to accurately capture and process data. The wireless hardware and cloud-based platform can be set up and broadcast-ready within 90 minutes to analyse games with near-zero latency. Partners use the insights delivered via APIs and event streams to produce actionable real-time data.
The company has a growing global footprint with offices in London, Melbourne, and Cape Town under the leadership of CEO Dugald Macdonald and CTO Peter Husemeyer. Formerly an investment analyst, Macdonald is a casual rugby player with two Master’s degrees from Oxford University. Husemeyer is a former NASA engineer with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge.
Sportable joins a growing cohort of African-born technology companies that operate globally and reinvest in Africa by creating skilled employment and bolstering local economies. The team is currently on a recruitment drive to grow its Cape Town-based team.
“We look forward to tapping into HAVAÍC’s unique insights, networks, investing approach, and impressive experience. They are a steady partner and guiding light to help navigate the opportunities and challenges of scaling technology across borders,” said Macdonald.
Sportable empowers industry players, including sporting leagues, teams, players, media, sponsors, betting companies, and fan applications, to improve performance at every segment of the value chain. The firm will use this $15 million Series A investment to further expand its successful partnerships with leading international tournaments, including the Six Nations Rugby Championship, as well as global ball manufacturers, media companies, and sporting leagues.
Last year, the fund announced the third and final close of the HAVAÍC Universum Core African Fund, a US$20 million fund that will invest in early-stage technology companies in South, East, and West Africa. The HAVAC Universum Core African Fund is the company’s second pan-African investment fund, with a third and final closing of US$20 million in partnership with Universum Wealth, as well as institutional investors from South Africa and the United States, including Fireball Capital.
The $20 million was to be invested in startups born in Africa that use technology to solve real-world local, regional, and international challenges, and make an impact in the markets they serve. The fund invests in and supports early-stage, post-revenue seed investments up to later-stage growth Series A investments.
“The fund’s institutional investors bring new international relationships and capital. Coupled with our experience in investing in Africa, this makes for a winning combination of local expertise, networks, and follow-on funding internationally. These are all necessary ingredients when scaling businesses,” said Ian Lessem, managing partner at HAVAÍC.
The fund has invested in various South African, Kenyan, and Nigerian technology startups since its launch in 2020 as a joint venture with Universum Wealth. Recently HAVAÍC invested in RapidDeploy, RNR, FinAccess, ShopEx, and Talk360.