Software firm Sport Ngin of Minneapolis raises $25 million in venture capital

The five-year-old technology firm helps cover amateur and youth sports markets.

A northeast Minneapolis company that makes website software for amateur sports teams and also supplies content to media partners around North America has raised $25 million in venture capital from two institutional investors this week.

Sport Ngin, co-founded by a onetime Wisconsin college hockey player in 2008, said this is the fourth and by far the largest round of capital that now totals more than $35 million.

The “oversubscribed” Sport Ngin round was led by Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking and Causeway Media Partners and includes participation from existing investor Icon Venture Partners.

“In just over five years, Sport Ngin has become the largest technology provider dedicated to serving the needs of the multibillion-dollar youth and amateur sports market,” CEO and co-founder Justin Kaufenberg said in a prepared statement. “Hundreds of thousands of teams and millions of athletes, volunteers and fans across North America use the Ngin [“engine”] platform every day.’’

The $25 million also represents a respectable investment in a Minnesota venture capital economy that continues to strengthen and which traditionally has been dominated by medical technology.

Minnesota companies attracted $83.4 million in venture capital in the first quarter. The investment showed a shift toward Minnesota software start-ups, according to the MoneyTree Report by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers. And Sport Ngin fits that profile.

The largest deal this year announced before Sport Ngin was $21 million in early-stage funding for Tendyne Holdings, a Roseville firm that makes technology to treat leaky heart valves.

Sport Ngin plans to use these funds to continue innovation within the company and to fuel the expansion of its sales and marketing efforts across North America. The company’s clientele includes USA Hockey, USA Wrestling, USA Fencing and Hockey Canada, and many amateur athletic leagues and media organizations, including the Star Tribune’s online prep sports “hub.”

Kaufenberg was unavailable for comment late Thursday.

Marketing director Jim Dahline declined to quantify the company’s revenue or growth. He said there are about 200 employees, mostly in Minneapolis, but also in Boston and Madison, Wis.

Bob Higgins, managing director of Boston-based Causeway Media Partners, which focuses on sports-related investments, said in a statement: “The company is pioneering technology in a marketplace that touches over 30 million athletes domestically.’’

With their investments, Higgins and Tom Schnettler, managing director of Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking, will join the Sport Ngin board of directors.

Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144

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