“What we realised early on is that the consumer sentiment is shifting," says Deepen Parikh, Partner at Courtside Ventures and guest on this week's Sports Loft Podcast. "When you look at a younger consumer and the way they interact with sports – whether it’s through live streaming or audio, whether they’re fans of a team or players, even what they view as sports – these were all areas that were dramatically shifting.”
When Courtside was founded in 2015, it was this realisation that informed the investment strategy of the New York firm, leading to successful early stage backing of startups operating across the sports, tech and media landscape, including adjacent sectors. Part of the founding team, Deepen instrumental in Courtside's involvement in sports media giant The Athletic, personalised nutrition business Gainful, esports and lifestyle organisation 100 Thieves, and many more.
We caught up with him to dig into where he sees the opportunities today (and which sectors Courtside is avoiding), to find out what VCs can offer founders beyond the funding itself, and to ask how the firm goes about making its investment decisions. Here's just one nugget from the conversation:
"We like taking models that we know really well in the US, and then finding what we believe are the most compelling teams in more nascent markets but where the TAM is incredibly large and so we're diving [into sports gaming] really heavily," says Deepen. “We’re looking a lot more at wellness as a category, nutrition, and a lot of other areas that we think there's a lot of growth opportunities that are still fairly nascent. So every fund within the world of sports, collectibles, gaming and wellness we’ll go really deep in a couple of areas. Our goal is to talk to as many companies as we can to understand the market landscape and ultimately make investments in areas we think we can be really helpful to the founders in.”