Sports Loyalty Systems Secures $5 Million in Series A Funding
BOSTON, MA – September 30, 2005 – Sports Loyalty Systems (SLS), a customer loyalty company that designs, operates, markets and manages programs for Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises, today announced it has received $5 million in Series A funding. IDG Ventures Boston co-led the investment with LBO Enterprises which is principally owned by Leslie Otten, vice chairman of the Boston Red Sox.
In addition to today's funding, SLS also announced several new additions to its management team including Jeff Robison as chief operating officer, Tim O'Leary as chief information officer and Ryan Darrah as general counsel. These three executives join founding members of the SLS team, including Shergul Arshad, vice president of business development, a former eBay executive; former ATG executives Marc Irish, vice president of account services; Bill Morrison, vice president of product operations and co-founder; Scott Todaro, vice president of marketing; and Leslie Otten, executive chairman and founder.
Robison joins SLS from Upromise, one of the leading consumer loyalty programs in the US, where he served as vice president of customer care. He also brings more than 20 years of operations and marketing experience to the company having served in executive roles with top healthcare and financial services companies including CIGNA Healthcare, Bank of America, and Citibank. O'Leary, a 20-year veteran of the leading analytics company, Epsilon, brings more than 25 years of technical development and strategy expertise to the company including serving as the former vice president at Engage, a database marketing and analytics company, and senior vice president, general manager of the CRM division at Hill Holiday Connors Cosmopolas. Darrah most recently served as general counsel at Profitlogic, an enterprise software company recently acquired by Oracle, and was previously with Ropes & Gray.
"Customer loyalty programs have proven to be extremely successful in many industries," said Jeff Bussgang, general partner, IDG Ventures. "With a strong foundation that includes veteran customer loyalty program executives, SLS is well positioned to become the leading provider of loyalty programs for the sports industry. I look forward to helping SLS provide best of breed solutions that enable MLB teams to foster better relationships with their fan base."
SLS allows fans to get closer to their favorite MLB teams by earning points inside and outside the ballpark that can be used to redeem game tickets and club merchandise as well as admission to once in a lifetime fan experiences. Fans join the program at the ballpark or on their favorite team's Website and get a team loyalty card that they can use to earn points with their cash, credit or debit card transactions. Fans accumulate rewards points whenever they buy tickets, merchandise or concessions at the ballpark or at other participating merchants, including area restaurants, hotels, theaters, retail stores and hundreds of online merchants.
"Since our launch last month, we have received significant interest from MLB franchises looking to reward their fans for their loyalty as well as merchants and sponsors looking to create new revenue streams," said Les Otten, executive chairman and founder, Sports Loyalty Systems. "We are thrilled to have Jeff and IDG Ventures join the SLS team and look forward to having their support as we begin to rollout fan loyalty programs for MLB teams."
The Los Angeles Dodgers will be the first team to offer the SLS loyalty program to its fan base which is expected to launch on its website, http://www.dodgers.com, by the end of the year.
About Sports Loyalty Systems
Sports Loyalty Systems (SLS) designs, operates and markets loyalty programs for Major League Baseball franchises, creating new revenue streams for both the teams and their sponsors. By joining the rewards program, fans are provided with greater access to their favorite team, fostering a lifetime of loyalty. Participating merchants gain deeper exposure to the team's fan base, cementing loyal relationships and incremental spending. The company can be found at http://www.sportsloyaltysystems.com.
About IDG Ventures
IDG Ventures Boston is a leading venture capital firm focused on investing in early-stage information and healthcare technology companies. With $280 million under management, the firm is an independent partnership making investments on behalf of its limited partners. The fund is affiliated with IDG Ventures, a global $1 billion network of funds spanning Asia, Europe and North America. International Data Group, the world's largest IT media, research, and event company, is the flagship limited partner for IDG Ventures Boston. Through the IDG global network, IDG Ventures Boston is able to uniquely add value to its portfolio companies by facilitating revenue acceleration and global expansion and establishing relationships with key strategic partners. For more information, visit http://www.idgventures.com.
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