LOUD Capital and Chicago Bulls Announce Winner of Inaugural Venture Competition
Five finalists include video editing and production utilities, fitness club membership exchange, advisory services for college athletics eligibility, and a networking platform to connect teens with after-school activities
CHICAGO, March 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- LOUD Capital, an early-stage alternative investment venture capital firm, in partnership with the Chicago Bulls, is excited to announce the winner of the first-ever Chicago Bulls Venture Competition, powered By LOUD Capital (CBVC), a competition to serve as a proving ground for promising startups and entrepreneurs in the Chicagoland area. Honest Game, a tool that collates data from college athletic clearinghouses to help student-athletes keep track of their eligibility, was announced as the winner last night at Chicago's United Center during the Bulls' home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Honest Game, a public benefit corporation, was founded by two women, Kim Michelson and Joyce Anderson, both of whom have deep experience with the US college athletics admissions process. In 1987, Michelson became California's first female student to compete on male varsity teams, basketball and baseball. More recently, she served as executive director of the Beyond Sports Foundation, a Highland Park, Ill.-based nonprofit working with high school student athletes from underserved communities. Anderson is the college-bound student athlete advisor at Evanston Township High School, a public high school of more than 3,500 students in Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago. She is also president of the board of directors for Girls Play Sports, a nonprofit that supports girls' leadership by way of sports participation, and is on the NCAA Eligibility Center High School Advisory Board.
"This partnership with LOUD and the Bulls is going to impact millions of young lives by providing equal access to college athletics," says Anderson. "We are so grateful for this opportunity to amplify our mission and continue to impact youth in Chicago."
The winner is to receive a $50,000 equity investment from LOUD Capital, as well as an array of business advisory services including legal, promotion, and business development. Service providers who have signed on include: 1871, a startup incubator based in Chicago; BX3, a firm that connects startups with services and funding to launch and sustain their projects; ELITE, the business support and capital raising arm of the London Stock Exchange group; international law firm Foley & Lardner; and Vault Innovation, a Chicago-based mobile app / software development agency.
Honest Game prevailed during a pitch session held at the United Center on Monday held among five startups named as finalists in the CBVC in late February. The finalists, in turn, were selected from 20 semifinalists evaluated on several criteria including potential for scalability, market relevance, value proposition, and grounds for positive impact on the Chicago community. The remaining four finalists have the opportunity to work with 1871 to develop and implement business plans to launch their respective companies. The judges at the March 9 pitch session included Horace Grant, former NBA player, including for the Bulls; Dr. Navin Goyal, CEO and co-founder of LOUD Capital; Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago; Holly Glowaty, co-founder of branded currency consultancy K+H Connection and the Flourish Conference, branded currency event; and Steven Galanis, co-founder and CEO of Cameo, a marketplace for personalized video shoutouts.
The other four CBVC finalists are:
Gather Voices, a software platform that automates digital video creation and publishing.
SplitGym, a marketplace where users can buy and exchange unused memberships and subscriptions to gyms and boutique fitness studios.
Spotivity, a platform to connect young people aged 13-17 with after-school activities.
StreamLayer, an interactive video platform that integrates messaging and social media with live video viewing.
LOUD Capital launched its Chicago office in 2018 and partnered with the Bulls for the 2019-20 basketball season. LOUD, being founded and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, while having an international reach, celebrates its Midwest roots and commitment to fostering innovation in America's heartland.
"We are extremely excited that Honest Game will become a LOUD portfolio company, as Kim Michelson and Joyce Anderson are strong and passionate founders who are tackling a serious problem," says Goyal. "LOUD's mission of Venture For People is deeply focused on educating and empowering tomorrow's entrepreneurs, and we look forward to working with the Chicago Bulls to help scale Honest Game deeper into the Chicago community and beyond."
About LOUD Capital: LOUD Capital is an early-stage venture capital firm providing capital, entrepreneurship, and education to grow impactful companies across the globe. Since launching in 2015, LOUD has managed three early-stage venture funds, raised special purpose funding to more than a dozen high-growth ventures, and deployed private growth capital to hundreds of small businesses around the country. LOUD Capital is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio; with presence in Atlanta, Beijing, Chicago, New York, Raleigh, and Taiwan. LOUD Capital: Venture For People. Learn more atwww.loud.vc.