Sportsdigita CEO Angelina Lawton On The PEAK 6 Fundraise

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In another nod to Minnesota’s burgeoning sportstech scene, Minneapolis-headquartered Sportsdigita received an undisclosed multi-million dollar investment last month from Chicago investor PEAK 6 Sports.  We connected with the founder and CEO of Sportsdigita, Angelina Lawton, to learn more about the deal and where her firm is headed from here:

Why did you start Sportsdigita back in 2010/2011?

Back in the day, I was working with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the head of communications…everything around the brand would through my department and there was a big focus on sponsorship dollars. We were using a lot of power points and other type of collateral when I realized that there was a better way with technology to assist in some of these six and seven figure type of situations.

So I started doing just that with the Lightning and that’s what gave me the confidence to go out and do it on my own with what became known as Sportsdigita.

And that product is called DigiDeck?

Yes, DigiDeck is a sales enablement storytelling tool for sales and marketing, bridging the gap between the two. It’s a master deck concept that takes the messaging, story, sales pitch, analytics and combines all that with a lot of customization options.

How many customers use DigiDeck?

We have about 300 teams – professional and collegiate – using the platform, big brands and many well known teams. More lately, we’ve been starting to grow on the enterprise side into other verticals such as food and beverage, airline, automotive, etc.

Hence the fundraise?

Yes, we’ll be growing our own sales and marketing in 2018 to go deeper into more verticals like those above, in addition to travel, leisure, entertainment, and finance. The salesforce ecosystem is where we’re targeting a lot of our enterprise efforts going forward…by marrying our platform with the CRM we’re seeing great potential to expand our customer base beyond sports.

Does that sort of expansion keep your company name & product the same or does that change?

That’s a good question…I’m not sure yet?

Regarding PEAK 6 Sports as your new partner, would you like to disclose the size of the round or the terms?

I will say that it was $3m+

Do you want to speak to how much you previously raised for Sportsdigita?

We’ve raised friends and family money from a small group of investors.

Why did you choose PEAK 6 as your new partner?

Good question…we get approached a lot from investors…but my husband has known Matt Hulsizer, the co-founder of PEAK6 Sports, for some time now. He is smart and aggressive in business, so we both think very highly of him and that’s made things very easy as far as our partnership decision.

Have you made any prior acquisitions or is that on the roadmap now?

None yet, but I do see some tuck-in acquisitions for Sportsdigita in 2018 forsure and on the B2B side, I do think there’s the potential for product match. We’re also being approached by others as a potential purchase, which is validating for our employees who have and those who will have equity.

How many employees do you have and where are they?

26 employees with one in Dallas, two in New York, and the rest are here in Minneapolis

What are your hiring objectives going forward?

We are aggressively hiring in sales, marketing, and developers.

As an entrepreneur and business leader, what is your operating philosophy?

Surrounding myself with the right people, which means admitting what I don’t know with a willingness to be humble and hire people smarter than me.

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Comments

  • http://www.robertspeer.com/ Robert Speer

    “We are aggressively hiring…”

    If I recall correctly SportsDigita is always hiring because folks are usually aggressively running for the doors.
    https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Sportsdigita-Reviews-E650501.htm

    I know some of these folks, I’ve heard these stories from folks I respect. While Minnesota nice is one thing, bad actors in a community need to be asked to change and held accountable for their actions.

    Some highlights:

    “Really bad experiences here. Suffice it to say the ownership was unprofessional and the leadership was lacking. There was consistently inappropriate behavior from ownership.”

    “Total ignorance of labor laws. Knee jerk irrational responses to issues. Disorganized, mismanaged, stressful, insanity. Received multiple threats, even after employment ended. Had to fight to receive payment. CEO does not respect others, the business, or money. Have yet to meet another person who’s worked with this company that has had a positive experience.”

    “Upper management will often scold account managers, sometimes even personally attacking them.”

    • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

      FOLK this FOLK that…the more I read/hear this word the more I realize how much it makes Minnesotans sound like a bunch of country bumpkins…

      • http://www.robertspeer.com/ Robert Speer

        I resemble that remark, although technically I’m an Arky with Kansan leanings and roots in Georgia and West Texas.

        So Minnesota should get a pass on my bumpkin nature.

    • Cory Factor

      Hey Andrew, I think this may be an outdated observation. I have been with the company about 2 years now. We have been building out our technology team during that time. Our senior tech leaders and I have worked together for over 12 years at different companies. I am not posting to debate the past, but I can assure you this isn’t the current environment. I’d love to connect sometime and have you check out all that we are up to.

      • http://www.robertspeer.com/ Robert Speer

        Could be, that would be a great blog post especially if it contained verifiable details, like who is Andrew?

        But seriously transformative change is a tough trick and sharing your experiences warts and all would be something worth sharing, and be an important part of recruiting.

        • Cory Factor

          Thanks Robert. I have my share of warts(such as typo on comments, sorry about that) a blog post is a great suggestion. I’ll work on that.

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