Michigan sports venture fund invests in youth-league platform

Opportunity Seed, a Wolverine Lake-based fund that targets sports and tech companies, has invested $150,000 in a youth-league growth platform.

The Michigan fund aims to support organizations with social-impact goals in sports. Its investment in Newark, N.J.-based League Network represents about 10 percent of the $1.55 million total the platform has garnered so far, CEO and co-founder Jay Whitehead said.

The Wolverine Lake fund is an investment arm of Bryan Finnerty, a former member of the Detroit Rockers indoor soccer team owned by Mike Ilitch in the 1990s. He also co-founded and then sold tech company ProtectCell. The entrepreneur was a Crain’s 40 Under 40 honoree in 2006.

Finnerty will also be on the League Network board of directors, Whitehead said.

“There are not that many successful dedicated sports venture capitalists in the country,” he said. “We wanted investors who really understood the youth sports scene, how fast it’s growing.”

Finnerty didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Opportunity Seed umbrella houses three entities: Opportunity Seed Capital, its investment arm; Opportunity Seed Sports, a consultant for sports facilities and sports goods manufacturers; and Opportunity Seed Foundation, which supports youth sports communities with funds from the previous two arms, according to its website.

League Network offers an online fundraising platform, as well as publications with best practices and directories aimed at youth sports organization leaders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *