Hanover, Germany-based Wingfield, a sportstech startup that has developed a technology to convert tennis courts into smart playing fields, announced that it has raised €4M in a Series A round of funding. The company aims to further grow its business in Europe and expand to the US market.
The round was led by new investors bmp Ventures, with the IBG-Fonds and Adesso Ventures. Existing investors leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners and Hannover Beteiligungsfonds, who committed earlier in 2021, also participated in the round.
Ywes Israel, Investment Manager of bmp Ventures, says, “Revolutionising tennis with artificial intelligence is very ambitious; with Wingfield, the sportstech sector already has an important, internationally active player that will now ignite the next stage of development from Magdeburg (a City in Germany).”
Anne Joachim, Finance Director of leAD Sports Tech & Health Partners, adds, “Wingfield’s journey has just started and we are ecstatic to work side by side, fully leveraging our ecosystem in Europe and the US and partners such as the USTA, to support them in their growth plans.”
Funds for expansion in Europe and the US
The proceeds from this round will be used primarily to grow Wingfield’s business in Europe, expand to the US market, and improve the overall product experience for tennis players and facilities.
Founder and CEO of Wingfield, Maik Burlage, says, “We have used the last two years to further improve our products and to initiate important partnerships, such as with the German Tennis Federation. However, we are only at the beginning of our journey. Despite the impact COVID-19 had on our industry, the last two years have shown that there is a huge demand for our products.”
“We are noticing that tennis clubs are increasingly under pressure to not only digitise their administration but also rethink their offerings according to changing customer demands. Club boards are getting younger and more tech-savvy and are now seeing the need to respond to these changes. The new capital puts us in a position to meet this demand and continue to grow in our core markets and the US,” adds Burlage.
“AI-powered tennis courts”
Founded in 2017 by Henri Kuper, Jaan Brunken, Julius Burlage, and Maik Burlage, Wingfield aims to be the number one digital competition and coaching platform for racket sports.
The company’s AI-driven smart net post, “the Wingfield Box”, transforms any tennis court into a smart and connected court to provide amateur athletes experience the same data tracking and online user experiences that were previously only available to professional athletes.
The Windfield Box tracks all activities on the court using real-time performance data and enables players and coaches to measure personal improvements. Interactive playing formats with direct feedback by the Wingfield Box after a practice session bridges the gap between analogue and digital experiences on the court.
Currently, the company is operational in 16 countries and its technology is used by over 250 facilities on more than 300 courts reaching over 20,000 players across Europe. These include – common tennis clubs, performance academies, recreational sports centres, hotel operators, country clubs, and colleges among others.
The German Tennis Federation (DTB) and Wingfield partnered up to launch a new amateur competition format, which allows players to play official matches on any court that is equipped with a Wingfield Box. Serving as an AI-Referee, the Wingfield Box detects whether matches have been played according to existing rules and automatically forwards the end result to the federation so that the participants can get official rating points.
Raik Packeiser, DTB VP for Legal Affairs and Marketing, says, “We want to promote digitalisation in tennis and at the DTB. The potential is great. The integration of the Wingfield system into the competitive sport is an important step.”
From June 15, players will be able to use the smart Wingfield tennis courts to play official matches outside of team matches or official Leistungsklasse tournaments, which will be taken into account for the rating of their personal Generali Performance Class.
Some of Wingfield’s well known and famous customers include the Rafa Nadal Academy and the Queens Club in London, among others. In 2019, Wingfield was used on the grass courts of the prestigious All England Club at Wimbledon, during their Road to Wimbledon junior tennis tournament. Check out all the Wingfield clubs here.
leAD Sports Tech & Health Partners works with promising early-stage sports and healthtech startups from around the world, with an aim to drive their growth through smart investment, premier network access, and expert mentorship. The firm, based in Lake Nona (US) and Berlin (Germany), supports its portfolio companies in multiple areas, including strategy, commercial, and fundraising.
Hannover Beteiligungsfonds, a fund managed by EnjoyVenture, is a regional VC fund that focuses on early-stage high tech companies. With more than 20 years of experience in building tech companies and a diversified portfolio of more than 40 startups and exits, EnjoyVentures currently manages four venture capital funds in Germany.
The IBG funds are the VC funds of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, a state in Germany. The funds provide capital to innovative companies with sustainable growth potential as well as an office/operating facility in Saxony-Anhalt. IBG launched the new venture capital fund RKF III with a volume of €84M. The fund is financed by the state and the EU and backs startups in Saxony-Anhalt in the Seed and growth stages. The IBG funds are managed by bmp Ventures AG.
Adesso Ventures is the incubator of the Adesso Group. It invests in tech startups in the early-stage phases with venture capital and Tech4Equity. The firm provides access to IT resources and customer access in the markets including banking, insurance, health, public, sports, automotive, and utilities.