A sports technology company backed by star athletes has reached a historic milestone.
As previously reported by AFROTECH, co-founders and former athletes Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins and Troy Jones’ StatusPRO secured LeBron James, Drake, Naomi Osaka, Maverick Carter, and more as strategic investors in 2021.
At the time, it was shared that StatusPRO would use the funding and further support to expand its proprietary XR (augmented and virtual reality) technology to benefit athletes and represent for Black founders in gaming.
“Our hope is for StatusPRO to be one of the companies that set the stage for Black founders in tech and in gaming because there’s not a lot of us,” Hawkins told AFROTECH in 2021. “Hopefully it will be one of those places where we’ve created opportunities and have shown the benefit of having that in the technology space.”
Now, the company has received new capital to take its technology and mission to the next level.
On Feb. 5, StatusPRO announced that it has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round — making it “one of the largest Series A of any VR gaming company to date” — according to a press release shared with AFROTECH.
The round was led by Google Ventures (GV). However, James, Drake, and Carter returned as investors. What’s more, Main Street Advisors and Haslam Sports Group, which are existing investors, participated in the round, along with others. New investors included Dream Sports, Wise Ventures, JDS Sports, and Alumni Ventures.
“No matter if its 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,” Jones shared in a statement. “The investment from GV, Dream, and all other syndicates in the round, further validates the opportunity to leverage emerging technology to innovate the way fans interact with their favorite sports and define a new form of engagement that brings current and future fans closer to the game.”
The press release details that after launching NFL PRO ERA, the first-ever NFL and NFLPA-licensed VR simulation gaming franchise, it hit more than one million users and players and created the fastest-selling sports title in VR-history.
“StatusPRO is building the next generation of sports and gaming entertainment through cutting-edge virtual reality. The company’s unique technology-driven approach and meaningful partnerships have resulted in strong early growth and product traction,” said GV Venture Partner M.G Siegler. “Troy Jones and Andrew Hawkins have built an impressive team and track record of execution in a short time, and we’re thrilled to support StatusPRO as they move the VR gaming industry forward.”
According to the press release, StatusPRO is set to use the new funding to venture into new sports titles, enhance its modes and features, and improve its technology.