SA sports scale-up achieves self-exit from VC

A scale-up developer of ball tracking in sports, FlightScope, has bought itself out from its VC partner.

In 2006, HBD Venture Capital, which is owned by Mark Shuttleworth and managed by VC firm Knife Capital, became a funding partner for the company.

“We saw tremendous potential in applying world-class technology to bridge the gap between the passion and science of sports,” said CEO of Knife Capital Eben van Heerden in a press release to Ventureburn.

When Ventureburn asked a Knife Capital representative about the deal, they said the amount of the exit could not be disclosed, though they did receive a desired ROI.

A clause in the original investment allowed for FlightScope to purchase shares back from HBD over the next three years upon reaching certain milestones.

“It was a celebratory moment when we handed over some share certificates in a profitable de-risked portfolio company,” added van Heerden.

“It was good to have various exit options on the table, but the stars aligned for a management buy-back transaction. HBD was very supportive of this structure as the investment team has always been an enabling partner in our growth journey,” says CEO of FlightScope, Henri Johnson.

Knife Capital partners Eben van Heerden and Keet van Zyl will remain as non-executive directors on the board.

Founded in 1989, the company initially began developing systems for military use, but later diversified into sports systems due to potential growth. Their focus sectors now include golf, tennnis, cricket, and baseball.

In 2008, the scale-up relocated to Orlando, Florida from Stellenbosch, SA, in order to tap into a larger golfing market.



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