StatusPRO is in the Game

StatusPro is Building an XR Sports Gaming Empire
Raises $20M from GV and others...

My former colleague Dean never buries a lede:

StatusPro has raised $20 million in funding from Google Ventures and others to build its XR sports gaming empire.

New York and Miami-based StatusPro wants to take sports gaming into the realm of virtual reality, and it has already launched its NFL Pro Era and NFL Pro Era II titles for platforms such as Meta Quest 3, PlayStation VR 2, Pico, and the Steam Store. NFL Pro Era has surpassed a million users.

We had been talking to founders Troy Jones and Andrew "Hawk" Hawkins for a while leading up to this deal. In just the past decade, we had all already lived through one other VR boom and bust cycle. But the timing here felt different. As did Troy and Hawk with their approach to building both StatusPRO, the company, and their first title, NFL Pro Era. What they shipped in that first version was an insanely impressive and complete vision of how an NFL game should look and feel in VR.

If you're of a certain age, you probably recall the first time you played Madden. Or actually, for me, it was the first time I played Tecmo Bowl. It was awesome, you could control the game we were all so used to watching as kids on television. Pro Era is like that times a million. You put on a headset and you're looking around the stadium you perhaps grew up going to. But you're on the field. With giant men all around you. When I close my eyes, I can still hear EA Sports old slogan "E.A. SPORTS – it's in the game". Pro Era is like that, but you're actually in the game.

But again, any game or franchise or series of titles is only as good as the hardware and platforms on which they're played. That's why the timing finally feels right here. Meta has not only been pouring billions into making the Quest ecosystem a reality, they've reoriented the entire company around it. Sony as well. And Bytedance with Pico. And now, lo! A new challenger appears...

StatusPRO aims to work with all of these players, on all of these platforms:

The franchise has been a resounding success, boasting over one million users and an average playtime of 41 minutes, doubling industry averages. And it’s all been built with a team of just 32 people so far.

“No matter if its virtual reality or spatial computing, our vision at StatusPRO is to define first-person sports and deliver experiences that truly embody the emotion, competition and sense of community that comes with being a professional athlete,” said Jones. “The investment from GV, Dream, and all other syndicates in the round, further validates the opportunity to leverage emerging technology to innovate the way fans interact with their favorite sports and define a new form of engagement that brings current and future fans closer to the game.”

I already mixed my sports metaphors earlier, but this truly does feel like a "skating to where the puck is going"/"running to where the ball is going" moment. The hardware and software – including, of course, games – are going to evolve rapidly from here. StatusPRO is right there, already on the field with iteration two.

GV Invests in Sports Virtual Reality Startup StatusPro
GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent Alphabet Inc., has led a funding round in StatusPro as the sports virtual reality startup gears up for expansion in gaming.
VR Sports Startup StatusPro Teams With Google Venture For $20 Million Round
StatusPRO has raised $20 million to expand its NFL Pro Era VR game and other sports titles with money from GV, Lebron James, Drake and other notable investors.
StatusPro closes $20M Series A funding round with eye on VR growth
When Troy Jones and former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins launched virtual reality sports gaming company StatusPro in 2020, they saw an opportunity to be leaders in a nascent industry. That company is now primed for growth thanks to a newly closed $20 million Series A funding round led by Google Ventures. Others joining the round include Indian sports tech giant Dream Sports, the Wilf family’s Wise Ventures, Haslam Sports Group, LeBron James, Maverick Carter and musician Drake, among other institutional and individual investors.