Aktivate announced the closing of a $7 million seed financing round, led by Will Ventures, that will help the development of the startup’s administration platform for the scholastic sports community.
Aktivate, whose platform aims to help athletic directors of 35,000 U.S. middle and high schools with everything from scheduling to registration to compliance to healthcare, aims to transform how scholastic sports are managed and funded.
The company was co-founded by Hesky Kutscher and Dhruv Singh—who have collectively launched seven technology companies in healthcare, wellness, educational technology and digital media sectors. They are joined by fellow co-founder and chairman Jon Miller, the former CEO of AOL, Hulu and digital media at News Corp, and GM of NBA Entertainment. The company hopes it can reduce the financial barriers that prevent more students from experiencing the positive benefits of participating in sports through the integration of private sector partners that will help drive new sources of revenue for schools, while reducing the cost for students to participate.
“Many states now require students and their families to pay athletic fees to participate at the middle and high school level. These fees are collected to cover budget shortfalls. Our model includes sharing revenues with the schools that are generated from corporate partnerships,” said Brian Cooley, Aktivate’s new chief commercial officer, in a phone interview. “We expect to bring on healthcare systems, college and career readiness providers, college recruiting organizations, health and wellness brands, endemic sports equipment and apparel brands as partners.”
Aktivate already has over 1,300 schools and a community of about a million students and families. With the funding, the company will roll out an evolved platform at the beginning of 2022 and will focus on bringing new talent to the team.
“Our system, not only does it make life easier, but it also actually helps the schools make it easy to communicate with parents, engage them and bring in more revenue for the schools,” Kutscher said in a video interview. “It kind of sounds too good to be true. But it’s fairly simple. We are raising the bar, bringing them to the 21st century, which is really what they deserve.”
In addition to Will Ventures, the funding round includes participation from Tal Ventures, Village Global—the venture firm backed by Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Diane Greene and Reid Hoffman—as well as TechAviv, Benson Oak Ventures and angel investors Zeke Emanuel and Howard Morgan.
“We have a very high bar and a lot of discipline around investing in venture profiles and venture profile companies,” Isaiah Kacyvenski, the co-founder and managing partner of Will Ventures, said in a video interview. “Aktivate fits into a highly fragmented market that could be substantially larger than what we know to be a $35 billion market. This is a massive market potential.”
Aktivate is currently in use across 30 states, predominantly in the western U.S., including Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Texas and Idaho.