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OYO Sports Strengthens E-commerce, Focuses on Manufacturing in the U.S.
Company has raised $3 million in seed investment to develop innovative sports brand for fans of all ages
BOSTON—OYO Sports, a rapidly growing fan engagement company, recently announced that it has raised $3 million in seed funding to build a vertically integrated, e-commerce business with real-time U.S. based manufacturing.
In addition to several participating angel investors, seed investors include Boston Seed Capital and Atlas Venture. Total angel and seed funding to date is about $4.6 million. Boston Seed Capital (www.bostonseed.com) provides seed stage funding for internet-enabled businesses. Atlas Venture (www.atlasventure.com) is a leading early-stage venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences companies.
"We've been amazed by the consumer demand, reflected in both our dramatic e-commerce growth and incredible sell-thru results at retail," said Tom Skripps, founder and CEO of OYO Sports, in a press release. "We are ambitiously building on a vision that extends beyond toys to engage the kid in all fans."
OYO Sports (www.oyosports.com) designs, manufactures, and offers league- and player-licensed, mini-figure building-toys that carry the likenesses of popular professional athletes. From baseball to football to hockey, OYO's partnerships with U.S. professional sports leagues and players associations provide a platform to develop miniature versions of fans' favorite players from their favorite teams. Beyond its current league relationships, OYO sees potential to extend its licensing agreement to sports and leagues around the world.
The OYO Sports leadership team includes Mike Ewing, previously CMO at LogMeIn and SVP, Vistaprint; Shari Fabiani, previously head of global marketing and product marketing, Adidas/Rockport; Daryl McKay, previously president, Sports Images; Craig Gainsboro, previously CFO tax and advisory services, PWC; and Martin Hanssmann, previously president of AltaStream.
"OYO Sports has captured emotional connections with sports fans by creating mini-figures of their favorite player and field sets from their favorite team," said Peter Blacklow, partner at Boston Seed Capital, in the press release. "We're seeing fans making detailed video recreations with OYOs; we've even seen many professional athletes posing with their own OYOs and tweeting those pictures out to fans around the world."
OYO Sports, with about 120 employees at its Acton, Mass., headquarters, designs, manufactures, prints, and assembles thousands of individual mini-figures each day with the ability to produce product and deliver orders nearly real-time based on always-changing demand in the sports world. In the case of a player who is traded or signs with a new team, OYO can create their new mini-figure, from design through testing and approval, in less than two days.
"OYO's potential goes way beyond toys," said Ryan Moore, partner at Atlas Venture, in the release. "With a growing group of highly engaged customers and social followers, there is a built-in ability to expand physical product lines and go well past that into digital experiences as well."
OYO Sports' (originally known as OYO Sportstoys) mini-figures and other products are compatible with major brands of building products, and promote hands-on play for kids of all ages. Since the company's founding in 2011, OYO mini-figures have expanded from baseball to football and hockey, with more sports on the horizon.
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