NBA All-Star Chris Paul joins digital media startup Greenfly’s growth round

·4 min read

Greenfly’s latest funding round has a new face: Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul joined as a strategic investor and partner in the company, which developed digital media flow management software.

Paul’s investment is part of an $8.4 million strategic growth round that also includes Verance Capital, Higher Ground Labs, DD Venture Capital, SW19 Ventures, LinkinFirm and Allievo Capital, as well as existing investors Go4it Capital, Elysian Park Ventures, Alpha Edison and Iconica Partners.

The new round gives Los Angeles-based Greenfly over $23 million raised since the company was founded in 2014 by former Major League Baseball All-Star Shawn Green and his cousin Daniel Kirschner, who previously held senior roles at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Communications Commission and Activision Blizzard.

Green and Kirschner saw how social media was driving new sources of revenue for organizations like sports teams, politics and consumer brands, but needed a way for real-time distribution of media to be easily shared. Kirschner explained that when Green first started in his career, there were times when he needed to provide feedback for a public moment, like when his home run record was tied, and it occurred to Green that they could build a mini media studio.

Paul, an 11-time National Basketball Association All-Star, was one of Greenfly's early adopters, using the platform to share content to his social media channels following his games. However, Paul realized he was also sitting on valuable content within his phone, like game or event photos, but without a good system for easily accessing them or matching them to events going on at that moment. He considers Greenfly "instant access to a media gallery" that he can share on his social media accounts.

One of the best features, he explained, was seeing a post on social media with only two photos of an event, but while searching Greenfly, he came across 12 to 15 other photos that he had never seen. He believes the company will continue to grow, and as a partner, will work with Greenfly to build awareness for the platform and get other players involved.

"I'm a big believer of creating memories and seeing photos," Paul told TechCrunch. "You can go in and search for my name and Devin Booker's and see photos of us playing together. The NBA uses Greenfly to automate the media and share with others. I love it because it makes it easy — you don’t want something hard and complicated."

Instead of just repurposing materials, Greenfly will continue to build a workflow around events that provides sourcing, creation and automated distribution of photos and short-form videos created for social media.

Greenfly is also working on increased improvements to curate media most relevant to users, and is collecting data to provide more insights around that so that users can manage relationships with their community to amplify their messages. The new funding will go toward growth and expansion to build additional collaboration tools and content as more players sign on.

“With Chris, it is an opportunity to come at it from the athlete’s perspective,” Kirschner said. “Our deals are mainly with leagues and teams, so to be working with athletes, who are their own brands, enables us to be the system of record for all sides.”

The past year was a big growth period for the company, and it had been reaching a tipping point just prior to 2020, he added. Greenfly is now working with more than 30 sports leagues, including the NBA, Major League Baseball and World Surf League.

It also boasts over 500 organizations in sports, media and entertainment, political campaigns, social causes and consumer brands, and is experiencing over 100% growth so far in 2021, Kirschner said.

With social media evolving, the company is looking for more polished content because it learned that stories and intimate content performs better.

“We set out to build a content collaboration platform to provide content that athletes and others can share on social media and also manage that workflow around large, complex organizations,” he added. “Organizations have lots of content and we make that available through routing tools and curation, making it easy to find what you are looking for.”

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