Shamrock Capital Advisors led a $30 million investment round in artificial intelligence and sports video production firm Pixellot, providing the Westwood-based investor a front-row seat on what could be a whole new ballgame for high school sports.
Pixellot uses artificial intelligence algorithms in a software package intended to help sports organizations produce and distribute game film – complete with automatic highlights, graphics and commentary – without need for an onsite camera crew.
Tel Aviv, Israel-based Pixellot, which was founded in 2013, said the investment gives it $40 million in total funding. Both existing and new venture capital investors participated in the round, including Israel-based Firsttime Ventures and its subsidiary TheTime.
The company has made inroads in the amateur sports market, including high schools, where broadcast coverage is less frequent. Pixellot reports more than 20 installations in high schools in L.A. County, including Sherman Oaks-based Notre Dame High School and Campbell Hall High School; St. Anthony High School in Long Beach; and Viewpoint High School in Calabasas.
The company said in a statement that it “has sold more than 2,500 systems worldwide and produces more than 20,000 hours of sports content every month.”
Shamrock Capital partner Alan Resnikoff said in a statement that the firm felt it could help Pixellot expand further.
“Pixellot’s unparalleled technology is not only compelling for broadcasters but is also already being utilized by 1,000 U.S. high schools and youth sports organizations as a new revenue stream and a value-added service for their parents and players,” he said. “We are excited to partner with Pixellot’s top-notch executive team to support their continued growth,” Resnikoff added.
This deal marks Shamrock’s first prominent investment in AI technology, according to a Shamrock spokeswoman Jaimee Pavia. Shamrock was No. 20 on the Business Journal’s 2018 list of largest private equity firms in Los Angeles with $1.9 billion in assets under management.
Snap Loses Khan, Gains Accelerator Class
Five Los Angeles startups are among nine total companies vying for funding in Snap Inc.’s new accelerator, called Yellow, according to a Sept. 10 announcement.
Yellow is billed as a “launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies.” It plans to incubate nine companies over three weeks at its headquarters in Venice. $150,000 will be awarded to each startup at the program’s conclusion, though the accelerator website notes funding “may change depending on the project and other exceptional cases.”
Local participants among the nine companies selected for Yellow include Space Oddity Inc.’s Space Oddity Films, a Baldwin Hills-based studio producing multi-platform content with a focus on tech horror movies and VR games; Echo Park-based plus-sized online fashion retailer Premme; downtown-based social media popup organizer SelfieCircus; and social media-focused animation studio Toonstar, headquartered in the Arts District.
The announcement follows Imran Khan’s decision to step down as Snap’s chief operating officer.
Khan’s departure is the latest in a string of high profile exits: Vice President of Product Tom Conrad left the in January; Vice President of Sales Jeff Lucas left February; and the head Snap’s Spectacles camera eyeglass product Mark Randall left the company July 24. In March, the company laid off nearly 120 engineers. Snap called the shifts typical of a startup seeking its stride.
Shares of Snap slid nearly 2 percent to $9.74 per share following Khan’s September 10 announcement via a regulatory filing.
Snap reported a 2 percent decline in active users for the second quarter during an earnings call on Aug. 7. It was the first dip in active users since the company started in 2011. Snap trimmed its losses by roughly $10 million in the second quarter from the prior period, with $353 million still in red ink.
Khan’s reported accomplishments during his four years at Snap included expanding operations to a total 3,000 people in 13 countries and helping to secure $200 million in Snap investments from Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group Holdings.
Staff reporter Samson Amore can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 556-8335.