Youth-oriented sports social network WePlay raised $8.6 million in a series B financing led by Deep Fork Capital. Existing investors also participated in the round, including FirstMark Capital and athletes Derek Jeter, LeBron James and Peyton Manning. That brings the total capital raised to $13 million.
WePlay launched in March, and is designed as a social utility where parents, coaches, and kids can manage their Little League and school sports teams. The company was founded by former Geo Cities CFO/COO Steve Hansen. Chairman Rick Heitzmann, a managing director at FirstMark, says the goal is to become:
. . . the operating system of youth sports.
We are hyperlocal content. It is not about the New York Yankees. It is about the Gramercy Bombers T-ball team. You have a deeper connection to that team if you are a parent, coach or grandparent.
But connecting with the pros is definitely an an extra draw. The site features personal pages from about a dozen professional athletes, who offer kids playing tips as well as see footage from their high-school days and earlier. WePlay’s traffic is off to a decent start, but it is still modest, with about 200,000 U.S. unique visitors in June, according to comScore. Competitors include TeamSnap and RosterBot.