Veteran sports investors David Abrams and Arne Rees announced Tuesday the launch of their new investment firm, Velocity Capital Management. The business will collaborate with “visionary founders and executive teams” to build “best-in-class global businesses at the intersection of sports, media, and entertainment,” they explained.
In the announcement, the executives explained that Velocity “targets businesses that accelerate innovation through disruptive technologies and improve the ways people consume content, play and experience sports, and interact with each other.”
As a partner for growth-stage companies, Velocity targets control and non-control equity investments up to $50 million, in companies with enterprise values up to $2 billion. “The firm seeks to provide strategic capital, operational expertise, and a global network of trusted, long-standing relationships,” the company explained in a press release.
Abrams, Co-Founder of Velocity Capital Management, said: “Today’s capital raising and operating environments for growth-stage companies are challenging, and it is becoming increasingly important for management teams to have access to experienced partners they can rely on to help them scale their businesses.”
“Our expertise as investors, owners, and operators in the industries in which we specialize enable us to serve as both a capital provider and strategic business partner focused on driving long-term value creation for all stakeholders,” he added.
Abrams, who chairs Velocity’s Investment Committees and leads the underwriting for the firm’s investments, was previously the Chief Investment Officer of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, where he managed four verticals: a consumer brand incubator, two sports technology venture funds, equity investments in high-growth companies, and entertainment-focused real estate projects.
Abrams also has institutional investing experience as the Founder and Managing Partner of the Apollo European Principal Finance Funds and distressing experience from his time at Credit Suisse, where he was the former Head of its Specialty Finance Investment business and the Co-Head of its Global Distressed Sales and Trading Group.
Abrams has additional industry and domain expertise from previous roles as the Co-Owner and Managing Partner of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (AAA-Affiliate of the New York Yankees), controlling owner of Keemotion (Synergy Sports), and Chairman of New Meta Entertainment, which owns esports franchise Dignitas. He is also a Co-Owner of Crystal Palace of the English Premier League.
For his part, Arne Rees, Co-Founder of Velocity, commented: “Velocity’s platform is supported by a strong leadership team with specialized expertise in our core industry verticals at the intersection of sports, media, and entertainment.”
“We believe pricing in the private markets will continue to recalibrate and I believe that Velocity has the strategy and expertise to maximize upside potential for both its investors and business partners. I am excited about the firm’s future and what we will be able to achieve as a team,” Rees further said.
Rees was previously the U.S. CEO of Sportradar. Currently, he serves as an advisor on Sportradar’s U.S. Board. He led the company’s strategy and successfully navigated the business through its 2021 IPO.
Rees has investing experience from prior roles as a Partner at MSP Sports Capital and RSE Ventures/Vayner RSE, which invested in technology-enabled companies. He previously held leadership positions within ESPN as the Vice President of International Business Development and Digital Strategy and as the Head of Strategy and Business Development for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Rees is also currently the Chairman of the Bundesliga America League.
Velocity already closed one investment and believes it will close two additional investments in Q4 2022. Velocity’s first investment, Camp NYC, Inc., is an experiential retail business that leverages intellectual property to create “a unique shop/play, interactive experience for young families.”
“The team applies private equity-style, bottom-up due diligence to growth-stage companies and seeks to minimize risk through structural enhancements and active governance. Velocity has already received significant support from highly respected individuals and organizations across its core investment verticals,” the founders added.
Velocity has received investment capital from industry firms including Delaware North, mobile and casino-based retail sports betting operations in several states; and ownership of the Boston Bruins and TD Garden; as well as Bolt Ventures, RWN Management, Signify Wealth, and Remington Ellis Management, alongside its client Leeds United’s Jack Harrison.