Early-stage venture capital fund Sixers Innovation Lab is starting a second fund to invest primarily in business-to-business startups working in sports, media and consumer packaged goods, among other sectors. The fund will be run by managing director Seth Berger with director of operations Rhyan Truett, and backed primarily by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.
“Since 2017, HBSE, Rhyan and I have been investing in a diverse group of founders, and really supporting them, having an impact in their journey,” Berger said in a phone call. “Our goal is to continue to do more of the same, potentially on a bigger scale. With HBSE you have expertise, resources, connections and capital, and they help speed a company’s growth in so many ways.”
The new fund will have $25 million in assets, and include funding from investors besides Harris Blitzer, according to a person familiar with the fund who asked not to be named because the asset level isn’t being disclosed. “We’re not fully committed [in target funding] so there is a little bit of opportunity if people want to partner with HBSE and us,” Berger said.
Additional focuses of the new fund will be esports and gaming, direct-to-consumer products and business-to-business-to-consumer companies. The latter describes situations where consumers buy one business’ product through an intermediary business—Apple’s App Store and Ebay are two examples.
“Seth has a long-standing track record not only as a successful entrepreneur and business-builder, but in having a keen eye for emerging, diverse and high-potential talent,” said Josh Harris, co-founder of HBSE and managing partner of the Philadelphia 76ers, in a press release today.
The first Sixer Innovation Lab fund has backed 17 startups, including BettorView, which offers bars and restaurants specialized sports betting programming; Shappi, through which foreign shoppers get U.S. goods delivered by international travelers; and Lowkey, an esports highlights app that was bought by Niantic Labs. The fund is also notable for its strong level of diversity: 65% of investments had at least one minority founder at time of investment, and 40% had at least one women founders.
“Our entrepreneurs have had such a great track record of success, we’ve had a bunch of them really crush it the past couple of years,” added Berger. “Rhyan and I, as partners, really love to be involved in our companies’ day-to-day missions.”