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Green Bay Packers and Microsoft raise US$70m for TitletownTech VC fund

Fund will target sports tech startups and firms helping address local challenges.

25 July 2023 Steve McCaskill
Jordan Love Green Bay Packers NFL

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  • More than half of TitletownTech firms have raised additional capital
  • Green Bay’s investment fund lost US$20.5m in 2022

TitletownTech, the venture capital fund backed by Microsoft and the National Football League’s (NFL) Green Bay Packers, has closed out a second fund of US$70 million to invest in technology startups.

As many as 27 new and existing investors contributed to the raise, which more than trebles the capital under TitletownTech’s control. The fund has now raised US$95 million in capital since it launched in 2019, focusing on early stage companies innovating in sport or solving challenges in industries key to the US Midwest.

These include agriculture, utilities, manufacturing, construction, logistics and other cross-industry technologies.

Previous investments include challenger sports league operator Overtime, StatusPro, the developer of the officially licensed NFL Pro Era virtual reality (VR) video game, Wisconsin-based computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) startup Synthetaic, and agritech firm Fork Farms.

More than half of the companies invested in the first round have since gone on to raise additional capital.

“When we teamed up with the Packers five years ago to bring more entrepreneurship and opportunity to Green Bay, we were tapping into a long legacy of innovation in Wisconsin and across the Midwest,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft president.

“Today, this winning formula is gaining momentum with the new startups, new talent, and another round of funding.”

“Through TitletownTech, we’ve learned that entrepreneurship is a team sport, which is why we’re pleased to continue supporting entrepreneurs and inspiring others to embrace innovation,” added Green Bay Packers president and chief executive Mark Murphy.

“We think TitletownTech has the potential to be one of the most impactful things we do for the organisation, community, and beyond.”

SportsPro says…

The Packers are unique in the US sports landscape for several reasons. Green Bay, nicknamed Titletown thanks to its record 13 NFL championships, is by far the smallest media market in any of the major leagues. Indeed, it is the only fan-owned franchise in the NFL, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL) or Major League Baseball (MLB).

The team are no paupers, having reported a record US$610 million in revenue during the 2022 season.

In lieu of a wealthy owner, the Packers have complemented commercial, gameday and broadcast revenue by issuing stock. No single individual can own more than 200,000 shares, which have no voting rights, cannot be traded and do not command dividends. Yet, the team has more than half a million shareholders.

As a non-profit organisation, the Packers are completely devoted to developing a successful football team and helping the community. Significant investment has gone into redeveloping its Lambeau Field stadium, creating jobs and facilities for the city, and creating the entertainment and leisure-focused Titletown District in the immediate vicinity.

Headquartered in the same district, TitletownTech can be seen as part of this wider remit – generating revenue that can be used to improve the Packers’ facilities and fortunes on the pitch, while also aiding to develop technology that can benefit the city of Green Bay and state of Wisconsin.

This separates it from other team-backed sports tech funds where profit is the sole purpose. Just as well, given the team’s investment fund reported a loss of US$20.5 million last year.

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