Veo Technologies, which makes cameras that use AI to record and analyze football and other team sports, raises €20M Series B, source says at a $100M+ valuation — Sports have been among some of the most popular and lucrative media plays in the world, luring broadcasters
There is no doubt that sports is one of the most popular and lucrative media plays in the world, attracting broadcasters, advertisers and consumers alike to pay a huge sum of money to secure the chance of watching (and sponsoring) their favorite athletes and teams.
A large portion of that content, as it is always the case, also costs a ton of money to produce, thus further narrowing the production and distribution funnels. However, today, a startup that claims to have cracked the code to this model by providing an autonomous, AI-based camera that any team can use to record, edit and distribute the results of all their games, announced a round of funding to build out its business and focus on the long tail of gaming teams and events.
As part of a Series B round of funding, Veo Technologies, a Copenhagen startup that has developed a video camera and cloud-based subscription service, has been able to record a game and then select highlights, which then is then hosted on a platform for its customers to access and share, has received €20 million (about $24.5 million) in a Series B round of funding.
The funding is being led by Danish investor Chr. In addition to Augustinus Fabrikker, there are several other investors including U.S.-based Courtside VC, French vendor Ventech and Danish seed capital firm SEED Capital. A source close to funding told Reuters that Veo’s valuation is around $100 million, but the company has been co-founded by an electronic magazine executive for whom he is the CEO and co-founder.
Teisbæk told reporters that the company has been planning to use the funds to develop its business on two levels in order to continue to expand. There are several things that Veo will be doing in the near future, beginning with expanding its U.S. operations.
The key to the setup of the cameras is the fact that they can be set up and left to run without any human interaction. After getting them in place, they can then record using wide-angle cameras the majority of a soccer field (or any other playing area that is being used) and then zoom and edit down based on what was recorded.
Currently, Veo is developing the computer vision algorithms that will enable it to expand its offering to a wide variety of team-based sports including rugby, basketball, hockey, and a variety of other team-based sports, and is now expanding the types of analytics it can offer based on the clips generated by the system, as well as the match as a whole.
It is important to note that despite the slowdown in some sports activities due to COVID – in the U.K., we are currently experiencing a lockdown where all team sports below professional leagues, except for teams for persons with disabilities, are prohibited – Veo has seen a great deal of growth.
It is estimated that the startup works with about 5,000 clubs worldwide, ranging from professional teams to amateur clubs for children. Since opening for business in 2018, the startup has recorded and tracked more than 200,000 games, with a significant portion of that number being recorded in the past year in the U.S.
I also want to point out that in 2019, when we reported on Veo’s $6 million round, the startup had racked up 1,000 clubs and 25,000 games, which means that between that time and now the startup has grown its customer base by 400%.
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic in the past year has altered the playing field for sports, both literally and metaphorically. If you are a spectator, an athlete or a member of the supporting staff, you need to be as mindful as they are when it comes to spreading Coronavirus to others.
As a result, not only have fewer games been played, but attendance has also changed as a result. For example, the NBA went to great lengths last year to create an extensive isolation bubble in Orlando, Florida, to play out the season, in which no physical fans were in attendance to watch the games, but the games and fans could be virtually streamed into the events as they happened, even though there were no actual fans sitting in the physical seats.