Sports Business Journal, by Terry Lefton — Monday, November 4 2019
SponsorUnited has closed on funding from Miami-based venture capital firm Volta Global. The funding is in the form of a convertible note that will translate into equity based on results from the next round of financing. Volta’s other investments include a position in Sirius XM.
SponsorUnited, a sponsorship database firm, was founded less than two years ago and helps marketing professionals track the often-byzantine world of sports sponsorship (see story in SNJ’s July 2019 issue). Founder Bob Lynch said SponsorUnited has close to 200 properties as clients, encompassing 2,000 active users — which equates to a growth rate in excess of 500% from Year 1 to Year 2. Overall, SponsorUnited indexes more than 5.9 million sponsor assets across 37,000 separate sponsorships, 24,000 brands and more than 3,000 properties across sports.
Lynch said his company will use the funding to further its technology and continue to expand its customer base from one that’s been largely on the sell side (85% of all domestic pro teams have the service, he said), to a move into the buy side of the sponsorship equations: agencies, brands, potential media clients, and possibly smaller properties and events.
Some of that new funding has already been put to use. SponsorUnited has hired Rajiv Khanna at its first senior vice president, partnerships. Khanna, who will build out a business development teams, starts this week. Most recently, Khanna was vice president, teams, at Nielsen Sports. He’s also hel marketing positions at Yahoo Sports, Defy Media and Vicaom.
Early SponsorUnited investors include Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, while retired ESPN sales chief Ed Erhardt is on the company’s advisory board. SponsorUnited had previously raised $1.3 million in seed funding and another round is anticipated next year.