WSC Sports, a Tel Aviv-based startup developing an AI-powered video creation tool for sports content, today revealed that it recently closed a $23 million series C round led by Ofer Global’s O.G. Tech Ventures, along with NTT DOCOMO Ventures and HBSE Ventures. A raft of other investors including Intel Capital, Dan Gilbert’s Detroit Venture Partners, Elysian Park Ventures, WISE Ventures (Wilf Innovative Sports & Entertainment Ventures, the investment firm founded by Minnesota Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf), 2BAngels, and iAngels also participated, bringing the company’s total raised to $39 million.
The newfound funds follow on the heels of a $12 million series B in September 2016, after a three-year period in which WSC doubled its customer base and revenue year-over-year. More recently, the company expanded its headcount over 100 people globally and hired on advisors David Stern, commissioner emeritus of the NBA, and John Kosner, former vice president of digital media at ESPN.
“I am thrilled that such strategic investors have joined WSC Sports and am incredibly appreciative that our existing investors believe in the company and continue to support us,” said cofounder and CEO Daniel Shichman, who added that the infusion will enable WSC to expand into new sports and geographic regions. “I am proud of what we have built so far with our amazing team and unique culture, and confident this new round of funding will help us to continue to grow and impact the way sports media rights owners provide the best experience to their fans.”
WSC Sports was cofounded by Shichman, VP of business development Aviv Arnon, CTO Shmuel Yoffe, and COO Hy Gal in 2011, who pioneered a platform that taps machine learning algorithms to craft short-form clips from sports broadcasts in near-real time. It’s able to piece together highlight reels of every player, team, and moment autonomously, and to lend a hand in distributing the finished products at scale.
The idea is to save clients labor and capital by repurposing existing video content, paving the way for new monetization opportunities. But WSC also asserts that it affords human editors more time to invest in storytelling and creative content delivery.
The company competes directly with Minute.ly, which raised $8 million in July for a solution that generates attention-grabbing clips from live or recorded video. But WSC certainly hasn’t had trouble attracting clients. Last year alone, the startup says it analyzed more than 17,000 sporting events and produced more than 850,000 videos for the NBA, Bundesliga, PGA Tour, US Open, Bleacher Report, Discovery, MLS, FIBA, Cricket Australia, WarnerMedia, and countless other providers and sports organizations.
“We are proud to be a part of WSC Sports’ journey as it leads the way in revolutionizing the way in which people consume sports around the world,” said Ofer Global chairman Eyal Ofer. “O.G. Tech’s lead role is consistent with our strategic ambition of focusing on unique growth opportunities led by exceptional founders. We are delighted that this funding will help the company with its global expansion across new sports, products and countries.”
WSC has offices in Sydney and New York in addition to Tel Aviv. As part of this latest round, O.G. Tech managing director Roy Oron will join the company’s board of directors.