citybiz+ Sports Startup StatusPro Raises $20 Million from Google, Wise Ventures and Others

New York-based Wise Ventures, owned by Minnesota Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, has joined a $20 million funding round for Miami, Fla.-based StatusPro, a high-profile sports technology and gaming company backed by NBA star LeBron James, rapper Drake and Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.

Google Ventures led the Series A round. New investors included Dream Sports, JDS Sports (Rye, N.Y.) and New Hampshire-based Alumni Ventures, while prior investors James, Drake, and Maverick Carter also participated in the latest round. Minority-owned StatusPro has raised a total of $25.2 million.

Ex-Football Players at Helm

Other new investors include a diverse group of athletes, entertainers, firms and industry leaders. They include Myles Garrett, David Grutman, Bobby Wagner, Jeff Stibel, Peter Delgrosso, Cameron Jordan, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Crystal Hayslett, Devale Ellis, TitletownTech, Black Angel Group, Life Line Family Heritage Fund, Sun Technology Investors, Andre Gaines of Cinemation Studios, and the Fuller Brothers of 6408 Ventures. Prior backers include Main Street Advisors and Haslam Sports Group.

Founded by former football players Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins and Troy Jones, StatusPro develops augmented and virtual reality games and experiences for sports fans, and training programs for athletes. Its first product, NFL Pro Era — an NFL and NFLPA-licensed virtual reality simulation — helps fans simulate the feeling of playing as a quarterback for their favorite NFL team.

‘Creating Experiences’

NFL Pro Era has acquired over a million users, with players spending an average of 41 minutes in game. StatusPro calls NFL Pro Era the “fastest-selling sports title in VR history.” It is available on Meta Quest, Official PlayStation, Pico and Steam Store.

“No matter if it’s virtual reality or spatial computing, our vision at StatusPro is to define first-person sports and deliver experiences that truly embody the emotion, competition and sense of community that comes with being a professional athlete,” said Jones, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who serves as the company’s CEO.

Hawkins, who is president and chief business officer at StatusPro, said he and his co-founder know what it takes to compete and win.

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“We believe that VR is the innovative answer to help allow fans globally to see and experience what it’s like to be a pro,” he added.

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Google Ventures’ M.G. Siegler hailed StatusPro’s technology-driven approach and the co-founders’ “impressive team and track record of execution in a short time.”

The global VR gaming market is projected to grow from $7.9 billion in 2021 to $53.4 billion in 2028, reflecting a CAGR of 31.4%.