ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – Sports technology startup Fivestar recently concluded its initial seed round with more than $3 million in raised capital, the company announced today. It also revealed the acquisition of Red Label Sports, Inc., a longstanding sports media leader and product innovator in lacrosse and basketball. This is the first time Fivestar has emerged since sponsoring a series of exclusive events for the top boys and girls high school lacrosse recruits in the United States.
The sports tech startup, based in Annapolis, Maryland, is spearheaded by lead investor Brendan Kelly. Kelly is chairman, founder and CEO of telecom leader Smartlink Group. Kelly previously owned the Chesapeake Bayhawks, a professional field lacrosse team which dominated its league for nearly a decade. Severna Park, Md. native Erin McNeally has been tapped as Fivestar Chief Executive Officer. McNeally brings two decades of business leadership experience with proven success in launching and scaling new ventures in the industries of sports and telecom.
Fivestar is preparing to launch a location based mobile application that empowers athletes and fans to create and enjoy their best sports highlights. This app will level the playing field for athletes across all sports in a positive environment by harnessing the power of individual video highlights.
The launch is expected in early 2022 and sports enthusiasts can sign up for early access through the Fivestar App website right now.
Fivestar is innovating the sports landscape by changing the way athletes and fans consume video highlights. From all my experience in the sports and technology space, this is a natural progression. We’ve always intended to stay involved in sports and expand outside of lacrosse. I’ve entertained a variety of investments—from pro teams to venues—but my passion lies most with making a positive impact on athletes worldwide. Brendan Kelly
Boise-based Red Label Sports was founded in 2008 in New York City by Jeff Brunelle and is best known for its flagship brand, LaxAllStars.com. Brunelle, who will serve on the Fivestar executive team, began his career in data analytics at Sports Illustrated before founding the media venture. Red Label Sports currently serves over 5 million passionate sports fans per year.
It’s always been family-first and a team effort at Red Label Sports, and these ideals are firmly embraced by Fivestar. We have the leadership and commitment necessary to make a permanent impact. The vision and culture at Fivestar are a perfect fit to elevate athletes to the next level. Jeff Brunelle
McNeally, a tech startup veteran, previously served as Smartlink’s Chief Operating Officer and led it to over a hundred million in annual recurring revenue. She now leads an experienced team that includes Brunelle as Chief Technology Officer and former University of Maryland Sports Marketing Director Brett Tillett as SVP of Business Development.
Our seed round and first acquisition positions Fivestar as a US market leader at the intersection of sports technology, social media and grassroots marketing. I’m thrilled to accept this role as we add multiple new digital properties and Fivestar teammates to our operation. I have witnessed the impact of social media on the sports industry firsthand. Leading a venture with potential to truly change how sports highlights are consumed is an opportunity you don’t turn down. Erin McNeally
The brand’s public unveiling begins today with launch of its grassroots focused Red Label Sports media outlet where athletes, coaches, and fans can get the latest news on their favorite sports.
Founded in 2020, Fivestar is on a mission to level the playing field by empowering athletes everywhere to share, celebrate, and elevate their contributions to sport in a positive environment. The startup now owns and operates three sports media outlets and sponsors several elite sporting events. It will launch its mobile app early next year to empower athletes and fans to create and enjoy their best sports highlights. Fivestar recently closed its first investment capital raise with a $3 million seed round.
ABOUT RED LABEL SPORTS
Founded in New York City in 2008, Red Label Sports exists to ‘stick a red label’ on sports of all kinds and empower increased participation through product development, content production, and media distribution. The tech startup relocated to Boise, Idaho, in 2011 and has deep roots at the University of Oregon as its founders are alumni of the Lundquist College of Business. The company serves more than 5 million consumers per year.