A new sports startup buys VOD platform Colony

London-based We Are Colony has been acquired by sports media startup Fantastec.

Fantastec was founded just last year by Steve Madincea, a sports marketing veteran who created sponsorship agency Prism and continued to run it after selling to ad giant WPP. Fantastec’s goal is to engage sports fans through technology like video on demand, virtual reality, augmented reality and wearables.

That covers a lot of possibilities, but the acquisition suggests one way that Fantastec’s strategy might actually play out. Colony was founded by Sarah Tierney (previously founder of Clarity Productions and head of content at edtech VOD platform Twig), and it built a VOD platform for special edition releases of independent films — for example, it helped launch the Star Trek documentary For The Love of Spock.

Tierney said with growing consolidation in the VOD market, plus big spending from players like Netflix, she started to think about where else Colony’s technology could be useful.

“At the beginning of last year, as I started to think about what those other opportunities might look like, sport seemed like one of the most exciting,” she said — which is why teaming up with Fantastec made sense.

Fantastec and Colony aren’t disclosing the financial terms of the deal. (Colony was backed by investors including Archer Gray, Firestartr, The London Co-Investment Fund, Essex Innovation and Seedcamp.) Tierney will become chief operating officer at Fantastec, and she said the majority of the Colony team will move over as well.

They’ll be “repurposing Colony for a new sports context,” she said: The existing service will be shut down, but they’ll work with leagues and clubs to create direct-to-consumer video experiences. Tierney’s team won’t just be working on VOD, but she said it’s too soon to offer any details about other products.

“We moved quickly with our investment group on Colony because they have the three vital ingredients we look for in any acquisition: industry leading technology, an inspired and capable leadership team, and an ethos of continuous growth and constant innovation which aligns with Fantastec’s ambitions,” Madincea said in the release.