Justin Kaufenberg, the founding CEO who departed SportsEngine last week, has joined Rally Ventures as a partner.
Rally, which operates from offices in Minnetonka and Menlo Park, Calif., led two venture capital rounds in SportsEngine. Rally co-founder Jeff Hinck served on the SportsEngine board from 2011 until 2016, when the Minneapolis-based firm was acquired by NBC Sports Group, a unit of Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
Under Kaufenberg, 39, SportsEngine grew its amateur-sports online-management services to 36,000-plus paying customers and 500 tech jobs.
“We are proud to have Justin join us at Rally,” said Hinck, also a general partner, Rally Ventures. “Adding Justin to our team is a testament to how deeply we respect the entrepreneurs we work with. He’s proven himself to be an innovative leader and an unparalleled community builder.”
At Rally Ventures, Kaufenberg will research and make investments, serve on portfolio company boards and advise portfolio companies.
Kaufenberg brings strong “strategic, technological and operational expertise that complements our mission of being an extremely active value-added investor and will support the continued growth in Rally’s portfolio,” said Charles Beeler, co-founder and general partner of Rally Ventures.
“Jeff and Charles, along with their venture partners, are some of the finest early-stage enterprise investors in the country,” said Kaufenberg. “I’ve witnessed their incredible commitment to the entrepreneur in good times and bad. When you find a firm of their caliber and spirit, you can’t help but want to join the team.”
Rally Ventures is currently investing its third fund. The firm focuses on early-stage startups and entrepreneurs in technology solutions.
Since its inception in 2012, Rally Ventures has invested in 43 companies and posted 12 successful exits.