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Blitzer, Wie West and EP Golf Close $5.5M Round for Sports AI Startup

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Sportsbox AIa company that uses motion capture technology to enhance sports performance has closed a $5.5 million seed round from a group that includes professional golfer Michelle Vee West and David Blitzerco-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

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The round was led by EP Golf Ventures, a new investment partnership between PGA of America and Elysian Park, a firm backed by the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Announced in July, EP Golf intends to invest in sports innovation companies, especially in coaching, training, healthcare, hospitality and agriculture.

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sports box AI first product golf oriented. It allows you to convert 2D video taken from your smartphone into a 3D version that can be viewed from six different angles. This technology helps golfers and instructors analyze their strokes and view important biometric data without the need for expensive cameras or motion capture sensors.

Sportsbox AI will initially use the money to expand its golf business, CEO and co-founder Jihae Lee said in an interview. So far, the product has been aimed at coaches and professionals, but the real scale requires acceptance by the average golf consumer. The group is also looking for opportunities to integrate with broadcasters and equip clubs.

The Sportsbox AI score has not been disclosed. Other members include golf coaches Sean Foley and David Leadbetter; Randy Zuckerberg, entrepreneur and sister of Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg; golf broadcasters Amanda Balionis and Kira K. Dixon; and LPGA golfers Marina Alex and Mel Reid.

“I want to highlight that we have these incredible women on the cap table — it’s pretty rare for a golf, sports, and technology company,” Lee, a former LPGA pro, said in an interview. “I can call them for advice and they play an important role in how we make decisions about the future of the company.”

Sportsbox AI was founded by Lee in 2020; Sam Menaker, former head of Voicebox Technologies; and Stephanie Way, golf reporter. In addition to 2D-to-3D technology, the company’s golf product includes a coaching and guided golf training platform. The company plans to eventually expand into other sports as well.

Vee West, a golf celebrity since qualifying for the USGA amateur championship at age 10, is an investor in exercise company Tonal, golf equipment maker LA Golf, and Oxigen, a water brand co-owned by Steph Curry. Blitzer’s sports portfolio includes franchise shares in all five major US leagues: the NFL’s 76ers, Devils, Pittsburgh Steelers, MLB’s Cleveland Guardians, and MLS’s Real Salt Lake.

EP Golf was originally funded by Elysian Park and PGA of America (an entity separate from the PGA Tour). The group is looking for additional investors.

“I think this is the first time that the PGA of America has been involved in any way in supporting golf technology — they generally prefer to remain neutral,” Lee said. “The fact that they have invested, invested their own capital to support the growth of our company, I think that is very important.”

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Source: sports.yahoo.com

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