On the heels of last week’s news that SportsEngine co-founder and CEO Justin Kaufenberg would be leaving the company comes an announcement that he’ll be joining early-stage, tech-focused venture capital firm, Rally Ventures, as a partner.
In his new role, Kaufenberg will tap his expertise in SaaS, payments and network effect businesses to source and execute new investments, serve on portfolio company boards and assist existing portfolio companies with key go-to-market and operational decisions.
He’s well positioned to help other Rally Ventures portfolio companies grow to scale. Under his leadership, SportsEngine defined the SRM (Sport Relationship Management) category and grew to provide its CRM and payments platform to more than 36,000 paying customers, more than 35 million monthly unique platform users and created nearly 500 new tech jobs in Minnesota. The company was acquired by Comcast/NBCUniversal in 2016.
Kaufenberg has had a long relationship with Rally Ventures. The venture capital firm led SportsEngine’s series A and B funding rounds, and the firm’s co-founder and general partner, Jeff Hinck, served as a board member from 2011 through the exit in 2016.
As the lead investor in SportsEngine, Rally Ventures’ team worked with Kaufenberg for nearly 10 years, not only as the co-founder and CEO of SportsEngine, but also as a Rally Ventures Tech Partner. As a Tech Partner, Kaufenberg, along with more than 100 tech executives, technologists and luminaries, was an extension to the Rally Ventures team and provided operating leverage for portfolio companies to help broaden the firm’s capabilities.
“We are proud and honored to have Justin join us at Rally,” said Jeff Hinck, co-founder and general partner, Rally Ventures. “Adding Justin to our team is a testament to how deeply we respect the entrepreneurs we work with. He’s proven himself to be an innovative leader and an unparalleled community builder.”
Rally Ventures is currently investing from its latest fund, Rally Ventures III (2018 vintage), which closed above its fundraising target. The firm remains committed to its focused strategy of supporting early-stage startups and entrepreneurs with technology solutions that change how businesses get things done. Since its inception in 2012, Rally Ventures has invested in 43 companies and has had 12 successful exits.
“Jeff and Charles, along with their venture partners, are some of the finest early-stage enterprise investors in the country, and the Rally Tech Partner program is second-to-none,” noted Kaufenberg. “I’ve witnessed first-hand their incredible commitment to the entrepreneur in good times and bad. When you find a firm of their caliber and spirit, you can’t help but want to join the team.”
Kaufenberg currently serves on the boards of Rally Ventures’ portfolio companies, Total Expert and Anyroad.