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VR disrupting sports: Former footballers’ brainchild StatusPRO scores $20M from Google Ventures and more

StatusPRO founders
Picture credits: StatusPRO

VR gaming continues to grow and the global is projected to grow from $7.92 billion in 2021 to $53.44 billion in 2028. There is an uptick in usage around gamers and Meta’s headset lineup. Next-generation devices, including augmented reality smart glasses and Apple’s Vision Pro spatial computer, have generated optimism in the VR gaming industry. 

At this point, Miami-based StatusPRO, a sports tech and gaming company using real-time player data to create authentic extended reality experiences, has snapped $20 million in new funding. This marks one of the largest Series A rounds in a VR gaming company to date. 

Stellar lineup of investors

The investment round was led by Google Ventures, which invested in Nimbus Therapeutics and Midi Health. Additional funding came from India’s renowned sports tech giant Dream Sports, Minnesota Vikings Owners Mark & Zygi Wilf’s Wise Ventures, JDS Sports, and Alumni Ventures, with participation from existing investors, including LeBron James, Drake, Maverick Carter, Main Street Advisors, Haslam Sports Group and more.

It also saw investments from a diverse group of athletes, entertainers, firms, and industry leaders, including Myles Garrett, David Grutman, Bobby Wagner, Jeff Stibel, Peter Delgrosso, Cameron Jordan, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Crystal Hayslett, Devale Ellis, TitletownTech, Black Angel Group, Life Line Family Heritage Fund, Sun Technology Investors, Andre Gaines of Cinemation Studios, and the Fuller Brothers of 6408 Ventures, among others.

StatusPRO will use the capital to broaden development into new sports titles while continuing to enhance its modes and features and further improve its cutting-edge technology. 

“StatusPRO is building the next generation of sports and gaming entertainment through cutting-edge virtual reality. The company’s unique technology-driven approach and meaningful partnerships have resulted in strong early growth and product traction,” said M.G Siegler, Venture Partner at GV. “Troy Jones and Andrew Hawkins have built an impressive team and track record of execution in a short time, and we’re thrilled to support StatusPRO as they move the VR gaming industry forward.”

“No matter if its virtual reality or spatial computing, our vision at StatusPRO is to define first-person sports and deliver experiences that truly embody the emotion, competition and sense of community that comes with being a professional athlete,” said Troy Jones, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of StatusPRO. “The investment from GV, Dream, and all other syndicates in the round, further validates the opportunity to leverage emerging technology to innovate the way fans interact with their favorite sports and define a new form of engagement that brings current and future fans closer to the game.”

Former football players’ brainchild

Founded in 2020, StatusPro was founded by former football players – Troy Jones and Andrew Hawkins. The company combines data with augmented, mixed, and virtual reality to provide a suite of training and gaming products that revolutionise the way coaches, players, and fans experience their favourite sport.

In September, the company released NFL Pro Era II, a video game that enables players to don a VR headset and step into the pocket as an NFL quarterback. NFL Pro Era II is available across the major VR platforms, including Meta Quest, Official PlayStation, Pico, and Steam Store. 

Launched in 2022, Pro Era has enticed more than 1 million users to date, according to the company, becoming the fastest-selling VR sports title on Meta’s Quest platform. The game uses real-time player data to simulate NFL action, with recently added multiplayer contest modes.

As per the company, NFL PRO ERA is one of the most successful sports franchises in VR history. Since its launch, StatusPRO has garnered over 1,000,000 users and players have spent an average of 41 minutes in the game, estimated to be 2x longer compared to VR industry averages.

“As a former professional athlete, working with a dedicated team of people who have all participated in sports and worked for years across the sports business industry at a high level, we understand what it takes to compete and win,” said Andrew Hawkins, co-founder and President of StatusPRO. “We believe that VR is the innovative answer to help allow fans globally to see and experience what it’s like to be a Pro. This is just the beginning for StatusPRO and paves the way for us to enter additional sectors of sports VR, opening doors for us to explore other professional sports avenues and teams.”

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