SoftBank leads $35m investment in Israeli sports engagement startup HEED

Sports engagement startup HEED has raised a $35 million funding round led by SoftBank Group International, the company recently announced.

Headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Israel, HEED plans to use the fresh funding to bolster its expansion plans.

The company says it uses artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT to identify a game’s most exciting moments, generate new insights and automatically deliver them in near real-time to fans’ mobile devices.

“The platform we’ve built provides league and team partners with an innovative way to grow their fanbases across different geographies, demographics and sports categories and engage with them in a different way,” said HEED chief executive Danna Rabin.

The company was co-founded by Zurich-based IoT firm AGT International and Israeli American-owned entertainment and media agency Endeavor.

“HEED is taking a traditionally static experience and providing fans with deeper insights into the physical and emotional aspects of the sporting event by gathering and analyzing large, complex data in real time,” said SoftBank Group International president and CFO Alok Sama.

This is not the first time SoftBank has backed an Israeli sports startup. In April, the Japanese group invested in sports analytics company PlaySight’s Series C financing round.

A surge in deals involving sports startups has seen Nike make a $10-million acquisition of Invertex, a startup developing a 3D foot measurement technology, and Intel buying sports imaging firm Replay Technologies, among other deals.

Meanwhile, Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank has been seen increasingly interested in Israel-connected companies. In addition to a $3-billion funding in Adam Neumann’s WeWork, SoftBank has also put $100 million in Cybereason and $120 million in Lemonade Insurance.

The Japanese giant is also building R&D labs in Israel in partnership with local telecom network technology company Telco Systems.

Also read:

SoftBank Korea leads $9m funding in sports analytics startup Bepro11

SoftBank Korea, HK’s CE Ventures back sports tech firm PlaySight’s Series C round

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.