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Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments acquires minority stake in US startup FloSports

MUMBAI: Bertelsmann is investing in FloSports, an online sports media network specialising in live events. Through its Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) fund, the international media, services and education company is participating in a $21.2 million financing round for the US startup.

BDMI and Silicon Valley fund DCM Ventures led the investment round, with participation from media companies Discovery Communications and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) plus existing investor Causeway Media Partners.

FloSports focuses on live sports and currently operates a direct-to-consumer subscription-based network of 14 dedicated verticals in sports including wrestling, grappling, boxing and volleyball. In recent months, FloSports has live-streamed events such as Europe’s Strongest Man, the European Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship and the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship.

BDMI managing partner Urs Cete said, “Media companies understand the ability of live events to attract and engage large audiences. The sports category is particularly powerful in live programming and FloSports captures the passion of athletes and fans by providing them with original content and real-time event coverage to create a single, separate online destination for each sport that offers news, results, commentary and every live match from the first round to the finals. As part of a global media company, BDMI understands the importance of monetizing online video and FloSports’ success in attracting paying subscribers from over 100 countries to their growing number of sports sites convinced us that this would be an attractive and highly relevant investment.”

“We want to partner with world-class investors who share our vision to transform sports media. We are the best direct-to-consumer solution for leagues, governing bodies and independent rights holders to monetise their events. In turn, this allows our company to serve millions of sports fans and supports our mission to grow the sports, the athletes, the events and the fans,” said FloSports co-founder, CEO Martin Floreani.

Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments is Bertelsmann’s strategic investment platform in the US and Europe. The fund currently has stakes in almost 50 digital startups focused on online video, ad tech, software as a service (SaaS) and publishing. Together with Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) and Bertelsmann Brazil Investments (BBI), BDMI was grouped into the new division Bertelsmann Investments and forms Bertelsmann’s global network of investment platforms.