How sports clubs are investing into tech start-ups
In recent years, athletes have increasingly been using their cash and kudos to invest in, and help promote, start-up companies. Interestingly, clubs are now increasingly becoming investors too, with a particular focus on the tech industry. Barcelona recently announced that they are looking to raise €100m to launch their own investment fund for new sports technologies and many others are exploring similar opportunities to diversify their income1.
Fledgling businesses are coming up with more and more innovative sports tech products and solutions that enhance participation in, and viewing of, sports. They might range from "get fit" apps and data analytical tools to wearable gadgets and virtual/augmented reality solutions. There are natural synergies between these products and a club’s business, and as a result these tech start-ups are becoming increasingly attractive to clubs looking for investment opportunities and/or to get an advantage over their competitors, whether on or off the pitch.
So, if you’re in-house at a club and your CEO needs you to support an investment, or if you're a sports tech entrepreneur looking for investment, where do you start? This article takes a high-level look at the different stages of equity investment in private UK companies and the key considerations and documents involved.
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About the Author
Senior Associate, Lewis Silkin
I am Senior Associate in the Corporate, Commercial and Partnerships Legal Practice Groups.
I studied International Management and French at the University of Bath, spending the placement year of my degree working for an international company based in the south of France. I then completed my GDL and LPC before joining Lewis Silkin in 2011 to complete my training contract.
In my spare time I enjoy travelling, playing various sports and supporting the Welsh rugby team and Arsenal FC.
I advise both companies and individuals on a variety of corporate matters, including:
- company incorporations and corporate governance issues
- group reorganisations
- share and asset sales and acquisitions
- refinancing exercises
- Advertising & Marketing
I have particular experience of working with clients in the advertising, marketing and PR sectors and since qualification I have acted on a number of transactions for clients in this sphere, including a large group reorganisation for a high-profile creative agency and a number of UK and international acquisitions and disposals.
Throughout my time with the firm, both as a trainee and since qualification, I have worked with a variety of sports clients, including rugby and football clubs, players and agents. My work in this sector includes providing corporate, finance and regulatory advice. Most recently I have been involved with providing ongoing assistance to a football club with their financing arrangements and corporate governance.
I have always had a keen interest in sport and having played football for a number of years, including for Wales at junior level, I now head up the Lewis Silkin 5-a-side team.