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.