Investors think they are backing a winner in LiveClips
Published 4:47 pm, Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Millions of sports fans around the world want information about their favorite teams as close to real time as they can get it, and Lewis Bakes and Jack Loop think they have the technology to satisfy them.
The New Canaan residents are officers in Stamford-based LiveClips, which provides fans using hand-held devices with video clips of sports action seconds after it occurs and has the potential to provide coverage wherever there is a televised contest.
Investors also see potential in the technology, investing $2.15 million over the past two months. LiveClips received $1.15 million in late December from two funds managed by Advantage Capital Partners and Ironwood Capital Connecticut of Avon. Two private investors also participated.
Advantage/Ironwood funds and Connecticut Innovations of Rocky Hill, the state's quasi-public authority responsible for technology-based economic development, each invested $500,000 in February.
Last summer, CI supplemented an initial $1 million investment made by Amazing Grace Media LLC of New Canaan, a private firm led by Bakes, by investing $1 million in the company.
Bakes, CEO, and Loop, vice president of sales and marketing, joined LiveClips in 2011 after Amazing Grace's investment.
Founded in 2008 in New York City by Douglas Vunic, LiveClips' president and chief technology officer, the business takes NCAA football clips from Bristol-based ESPN broadcasts.
"We invested in the company because of the technology. We have two patents and three in the pipeline," said Bakes, who co-founded International Telecommunication Data Systems Inc. in 1990 and sold it 10 years later for a post-lockup valuation of $590 million. "Everything now is speed and delivery. It's a computer that's doing it. We clip every play in a game. A college football game has 150 plays."
LiveClips created 83,000 different video clips, and distributed more than 6,000 of them to fans who viewed them about 65 million times during the 2011 college football season. Its proprietary video clipping technology ingests live feeds from games and creates, digitizes and delivers video clips of every play and replay to Web-enabled or mobile devices within 10 seconds of live action.
"LiveClips is currently working to finalize contracts to deliver our service offering for soccer, golf, football, baseball and basketball in 2012 and 2013," said Bakes, who heads a growing 20-person staff.
The company garners income through advertising revenue sharing agreements with broadcasters, as well as end-user fees. Loop and Bakes see the technology appealing to fans who play fantasy football.
"There are 30 to 35 million people who do fantasy football," Loop said, adding that he and Bakes are pitching the service to the NFL.
LiveClips' technology, with its speed and ease of access, impressed Ironwood President Marc Reich.
"LiveClips is demonstrating its technological prowess in delivering more sports clips faster than its competition," he said in prepared comments. "Our investment in LiveClips will help the company extend its team of experts and its infrastructure in Connecticut, as well as its marketing reach."
With its two investments in LiveClips, CI is showing its confidence in the company's potential, said Peter Longo, president and executive director.
"Since LiveClips relocated to Connecticut last year, LiveClips has expanded and fortified its team and gained further customer traction," he said. "This is game-changing technology."