Northeast Minneapolis-based TST Media closed a $3.5m series B funding late last week in a transaction that fills their coffer to over $4m since starting in 2005. The round was lead by El Dorado Ventures and included original investors as well, according to co founder and CEO Justin Kaufenberg (who signaled last December).
“This fundraising is a transformational event for TST Media as it provides us with the resources needed to execute a calculated and explosive growth plan,” Kaufenberg said regarding the milestone — noting that the firm recently became both cash flow positive and profitable.
Over time, TST has positioned itself at the convergence of amateur sports and web-based technologies by pioneering the SPORT NGIN & EVENT NGIN (pronounced “Engine”) Platforms — a suite of software tools that meet a variety of industry needs, from statistics/ standings to league management, online registration and e-commerce.
In conjunction with the recent capital injection comes the deployment a new web application for real-time scoring called SPORT NGIN LIVE, a product “painstakingly optimized for smart phone and tablet use.”
The initial release is a football specific version, and while the app has been built to “pro-caliber specifications,” it’s designed for coaches, players and fans to collectively document the action. It features an intuitive play-by-play documentation workflow that enables quick notation of high-level play actions that are submitted to the server as the play on the field unfolds. After the structure of a play has been recorded, the scorekeeper has the ability to flesh out each play with as many, or as few, details as desired.
Team and player statistics are calculated on the fly to produce stat category leaders, stat graphs and visualization as well as custom stat mashups. “Teams at every level of play have access to powerful statistic processing and display once reserved for the pros.” From the development side of things, the underlying statistics engine has been built to accommodate large amounts of data calculation and aggregation which works across all team and individual sports.
“Since inception, we have concentrated on building a true technology platform that is scalable, abstract and powerful. Football is just the beginning, as we anticipate the full roster of sports specific SPORT NGIN LIVE applications to be launched within the coming months,” he envisions.
The Sand Hill Road VC firm (with a satellite office in Minnetonka) and lead investor El Dorado Ventures has “backed more than 100 startups since ’86,” according to their website, which highlights a most recent success story between Compellent and Dell.
“At El Dorado Ventures, we believe that the sports technology market presents a significant opportunity,” said Jeff Hinck, General Partner. “In TST Media, we found a company with a best-in-class technology platform and believe that we’ve invested in the company that is on its way to owning this space.”
“We couldn’t be more excited about joining forces with El Dorado Ventures, as my respect for their organization has only grown throughout the process. Jeff Hinck will bring a tremendous amount of value to our board of directors and together we will revolutionize the sports and event technology market,” Kaufenberg said in praise.
“TST Media has grown more then 100% year over year for 3 consecutive years,” he tells me, adding that “we recently topped 2000 clients in all 50 states and 6 different countries.” With the cash fresh in hand, the company intends to hire more than 20 new positions by the end of this year, including: Software Engineers, UI/UX Designers, Development Operations, Project Managers, Technical Support and Sales. In preparation, expansion has already started TST’s headquarters located at the historic Van Buren Building in NE Minneapolis’ Arts District.
“We are looking forward to continuing our growth here in the Twin Cities,” Kaufenberg reiterates in closing, “… and are ecstatic to have partnered with a firm that is aligned with our desire to keep TST Media operations in NE Minneapolis.”