A social app which helps people find sporting opponents has raised £15m investment.
SportsTech specialist Sportside, which will release the app this autumn, has been backed by impact investor Fortunis Capital Group.
The ‘connect and play’ app allows people to find a sporting match by age, ability or geography and gives clubs and coaches the resource to manage their business and attract new clients.
Driven by free sign-ups, Oxford-based Sportside aims to build an engaged community of millions of players, coaches and clubs which, in turn, will open up commercial opportunities for advertisers, partners and sponsors.
Bob Frost, Director of London-based Fortunis, confirmed an initial £2 million of funding, with further phased funding to £15m over the course of the next two years.
He said: “This investment in Sportside comes at a time when sport and exercise has never been so important to the lives of so many people in the UK. The pandemic lockdown saw millions disconnected and isolated from their daily personal sporting interactions and we see Sportside as key to helping people reconnect.
“Sportside is a perfect fit for our investment criteria – tech-driven, sustainable and with global potential. Critically, by connecting more people through sport it tackles today’s mental and physical health challenges.”
Newly-appointed Sportside CEO Jeremy Bourke, who has recently been at the forefront of several sports tech ventures as well as being the Commercial Director at the Sports Technology Awards Group, says: “The investment by Fortunis Capital will support our programme of investment in talent, tech and marketing as we accelerate towards a consumer launch in autumn.
“We have been building an audience on social media prior to launch, using a mix of PR campaigns integrating with our influencer marketing teams. GB athlete Vicky Williamson, for example, has highlighted the disparities between male and female sporting opportunities during the recent Sportside Gender Play Gap campaign.
“It’s a paradox that in the ‘always on’ connected social world of Instagram and Facebook many people still struggle with loneliness and isolation through difficulties in making personal, real connections. This has been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 which has seen many people cut off from their normal social sporting connections.
“With the support of Fortunis, we can use technology to connect all types of people with all types of ability to their perfect sporting partners and allow clubs and organisations to flourish and grow their memberships once again.”