First round: Deucey deal

First Round has to hand it to UK-based early-stage investor D5 Capital. Generally speaking, this magazine intro section doesn’t get out of bed for $3.5m Series B funding rounds. But it’s a different story when they involve one of the world’s most famous sports stars.

For D5’s latest investment, in sports technology company PlaySight, it has managed to persuade none other than Novak Djokovic, until very recently the world’s number one tennis player, to come in as a co-investor. And just for some added kudos, the investor group also includes tennis legend Billie Jean King, winner of a ludicrous 39 Grand Slam titles during her glittering career. A couple of ‘gets’ that Djoko himself would be proud of.

The relevance is that PlaySight makes something called SmartCourt, an “affordable” camera-based system that be can be installed in amateur tennis clubs and schools to give recreational players access to the sort of whizzy analytics the pros have (it even does line calls and counts calories). This funding round is intended to finance expansion into new geographies and possibly even other sports.

OK, so this is probably more of a marketing exercise than the start of a beautiful investment relationship (though given how much money the top tennis players earn, they can afford to be doing a lot more deals like this). But just imagine how much fun it would be to turn up to your next LP meeting with two sporting legends. Can only help with re-ups…