850 Sports News Digest Scores $500,000 To Become ‘Summly For Sport’

“Perfect for the morning commute,” is how 850 Sports News Digest pitches its iOS and Android app.

It has also been described as ‘Summly for sports news’, although the emphasis here is less on algorithms creating mobile-friendly summaries, and more on a team of dedicated editors writing bite-sized prose.

The idea being that 850 Sports News Digest can get you up to date on all of the current sports news, in just ten minutes (and right before you start work), hence the “850” in the startup’s name.

“Sports news apps are primarily flawed,” argues 850 Sports News Digest co-founder Jon Bishop. “The quality of content varies, the UI’s are usually complicated and it’s hard to find what you are looking for.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 13.18.01To tackle this problem, Bishop and 850 Sports News Digest’s other co-founder, Neil Goulding, who is a sports journalist and runs his own sports writing agency, set out to build a sports news digest app that was designed to be mobile-first.

You can set your preferences in terms of what sports news you are interested in, and the app presents single paragraph summaries of each of the main headlines, which are written by a team of experienced and up–and-coming sports journalists.

You can also delve in a little deeper, including, for example, seeing graphical illustrations of key moments, such as a goal. Rather smartly, these mini infographics can be shared on social media.

But, again, the emphasis here is on bespoke, mobile-first content. “Content is often sourced through aggregation, content farms, re-writes or, as is common with many media sites today, having rushed, overworked reporters spewing our words as quickly as possible,” says Bishop of competitors.

“Our approach is to focus our efforts around the journalists, give them the ability to write quality, short content exclusively for the app that is professional and informative to the reader.”

The result is that 850 Sports News Digest wants to be the “go-to place” for busy sports fans who have only 10 minutes spare to get up-to-speed with their favourite sports. To help achieve this, the UK startup has scored $500,000 from iBus Media Network, for what I understand to be a 25 per cent stake in the company.