Gurgaon-based sports marketing and brand licensing firm Baseline Ventures India Pvt. Ltd, which manages a host of athletes, including shuttler PV Sindhu and cricketer Ravindra Jadeja, has raised $1 million from a Singapore investor.
According to Baseline Ventures, the company was valued at $25 million in the recent transaction. However, the firm did not disclose the name of the investor.
Baseline Ventures was founded in 2014 by five industry professionals – Tuhin Mishra, Vipin Nair, Ramakrishnan R, Vishal Jaison and Raman Grover. It had begun operations with a $3-million investment from an unidentified US venture capital firm.
The company also represents the likes of actor Zaira Wasim, cricketer Smriti Mandhana, 18-time snooker and billiards world champion Pankaj Advani, and Arjun Maini, the country’s only GP3 winner and Haas F1 development driver in Motor Sports.
“While we have a very strong offering in popular sports, including cricket and badminton, we have also made a conscious attempt to have a significant presence in more niche sports,” said Baseline Ventures managing director Mishra, who was earlier associated with Total Sports Asia, a sports content and branding solutions provider.
In 2017, the company’s billings had grown by almost 45% on the back of some blue-chip clients, including Association of Tennis Professionals and the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the statement said.
Basline also said that it was close to making an announcement with a major national sports association for a new sporting league.
The company’s clients includes beverage maker PepsiCo, tyre manufacturer MRF, software solutions providers Infosys and HCL Technologies, smartphone maker Xiaomi, public sector lender Bank of Baroda and two wheeler maker Hero Moto Corp.
The company is also an exclusive licensee of the Liverpool Football Club in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Investments in sporting activities by venture capital and private equity firms in India have been muted. However, mainstream sector-agnostic funds and sporting celebrities, including Sachin Tendulkar, Mahesh Bhupati and Yuvraj Singh, have made a few early-stage investments in companies working on various niches, such as online sports equipment marketplace, wearables, fitness chains and sports infrastructure development companies.
In September 2016, sports management and marketing company IOT Sporting Aspirations Pvt. Ltd had launched a fund to make early-stage investments in sports startups.