Pro Athletes and Will Ventures Help Fund $7.5M NCL Seed Round

The National Cycling League (NCL) raises $7.5M in seed financing – the largest private investment ever in U.S. professional cycling.

NCL announced that it had closed its Seed financing of $7.5 million. This is the first professional sports league powered by a revolutionary technology platform. Will Ventures led this oversubscribed round, which also included Founder Collective, Collab Capital, and Impellent Ventures. 

Several athlete investors were involved in the funding as well:

Kevin Byard
Bradley Beal
Jalen Ramsey
Derwin James
Casey Hayward
Emmanuel Acho

It’s interesting to see “alternative sports” attract a great deal of investment from professional athletes. It’s great for their growth!

“I am honored to join this high-caliber group of investors, I get the vision of the NCL and see its potential to revolutionize the world for cycling enthusiasts, sports fans, and future generations of boys and girls, all of whom can look up to our diverse slate of owners and commitment to social good, and participate in the sport with pride,” Bradley Beal, three-time NBA All-Star.

Athlete investor Kelvin Beachum was announced at a later date as well.

“We have looked at other leagues, including ones in cycling, but the NCL was the first with the team, the plan and the values to win the space, while building a venture scalable business model,” said Isaiah Kacyvenski, former NFL linebacker and co-founder of Will Ventures. “We also fully recognize the importance, power and necessity of a majority-minority and female-owned sports league.”

Paris Wallace, CEO at the NCL, shared that the investment would accelerate the launch of the NCL Crit Racing Tour as well as two new coed professional cycling teams. The 2023 season will feature four criterium races on the most famous streets in our four partner cities, Miami Beach, Atlanta and Denver.

It will also field two co-ed teams from our partner cities, which bring together international and domestic racing talent. Their goal is to make our teams the best in U.S. pro-racing next year.

This funding round will also help to develop the NCL’s innovative technology platform. It provides interactive access to biometric and performance data from pro athletes for consumers in real-time.

Eric Paley, General Partners at Founder Collective, says that building a new league is one of the most challenging entrepreneurial projects. While there aren’t many founders that I would be willing to support in building a startup such as this, Paris’ ability and vision to transform markets through technology and create a more equitable and fun league was unstoppable.

The rise of alternative sports continue and athlete investors are helping fuel the growth. We saw this in Pickleball of late as well.

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