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Varsity News Network Closes $3 Million Round of Series A Financing to Fuel National Expansion

February 19th, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., February 17, 2014 Fueled by the desire to give student athletes the media recognition they’ve earned, Varsity News Network (VNN), a customized, streamlined sports information technology platform for high school athletic departments, today announced it has completed a $3 million Series A financing round which will fuel national expansion of its platform and launch the company’s mobile app.

VNN’s Series A round was led by Arsenal Venture Partners (AVP), with participation including, but not limited to North Coast Technology Ventures, RSL Venture Partners, Start Garden, Grand Angels, Northern Michigan Angels, First Step Fund, Muskegon Angels and the Michigan Angel Fund.

“In just over two years we’ve grown the VNN platform to include more than 250 schools in 14 states, supporting hundreds of thousands of students and their families,” said Ryan Vaughn, co-founder and CEO of VNN. “With this capital, we are poised to grow even faster and reach the 40 million students and family members who are left out of traditional sports media coverage.”

Local media can only cover the biggest high school games, and even those are limited to the highest profile sports like football, leaving millions without even basic coverage of their sport. Since its founding, VNN has redefined how high school athletics are reported in a community by aggregating news from athletic departments, as well as from local sports enthusiasts.

Athletic directors can leverage the VNN platform to systematically create local, user-generated media content about their student athletes, providing unprecedented access to the triumphs, stories, media and memories that shape the lives of student athletes and their families.

“We are very excited about VNN and how their platform can become the sports destination for local communities. They have put together a great team with an extremely scalable IT platform,” said Chris Fountas, General Partner at Arsenal Venture Partners. “VNN is perfectly positioned to assist schools throughout the nation to establish, enhance and easily manage their web and mobile presence. Arsenal recognizes the value VNN brings to this underserved market and looks forward to assisting VNN with scaling and market adoption.”

VNN’s platform generates rich media content targeting athletes and parents. This audience is segmented into hyper-local communities and monetized in a scalable way through advertising, e-commerce and digital fundraising. More than 250 schools have licensed the VNN platform, with an average of 20 new schools joining each month.

In late 2013, VNN won the $500,000 top prize in the annual Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition, the largest business plan competition in North America. Accelerate Michigan winners are among Michigan’s most promising startups and companies to watch. VNN has a growing team of sports and technology enthusiasts. To find out more about Varsity News Network’s exciting career opportunities, visit varsitynewsnetwork.com/were-hiring.

About Varsity News Network

VNN is a leader in high school sports media, providing high school athletic departments with a custom online communication platform to systematically promote their athletes and teams. Through these professional collegiate-quality websites, companies of all sizes are able to connect with the scholastic athletic community in their town while branding their products and services. For more information about VNN visit www.varsitynewsnetwork.com.

About Arsenal Venture Partners

Arsenal Venture Partners is a national multi-stage venture capital firm. Arsenal partners with great entrepreneurs and management teams to build exceptional enterprises by leveraging strategic relationships with some of the world’s largest organizations, both corporate and government.  These partnerships enable Arsenal’s portfolio companies to accelerate growth, utilize capital more efficiently, and reduce the associated risks of building emerging growth companies.  For more information about Arsenal visit www.arsenalvp.com.


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