"Vertical topic social networks are the next major wave of the social-web. There have been large and profitable social networks created for business, finance and even pets. Sports will be among the next and it will be global in scope." - David Eckoff
Atlanta, GA (PRWEB) June 23, 2011
Xsporture (http://www.xsporture.com), a social media platform that brings together athletes, coaches and fans, today announced that the company has secured angel funding from prominent Atlanta technology entrepreneur Christopher Rouland. The funding provided by Rouland will be used to complete the development of the Beta version of the platform. Xsporture also announced that David Eckoff, an online sports industry veteran, has joined Xsporture as Chairman.
Rouland is CEO and co-founder of Endgame Systems, a provider of cyber security software solutions. He previously served as Chief Technology Officer and Distinguished Engineer of IBM Internet Security Systems (ISS). Prior to IBM's 2006 acquisition of ISS for $1.3 billion, Rouland served as Chief Technology Officer of ISS.
"Xsporture provides a valuable medium for athletes, coaches and fans to connect and communicate in a forum that is dedicated solely to sports," Rouland said. "I am proud to support Xsporture, as it is poised for growth with its current leadership, the addition of Eckoff and its unique ability to unite sports fans around the world for the love of the game."
The startup has already benefited by having Rouland as an investor.
"Chris Rouland has been a mentor, resource and trusted advisor," CEO and co-founder Tyrone Lewis said. "His experience as an entrepreneur, extensive business contacts and relationships in the technology arena have been invaluable. Rouland has helped us to accelerate our business."
Today the company also announced that David Eckoff has joined Xsporture as Chairman. Eckoff brings over fifteen years of online sports industry experience to the company.
Eckoff has served as Vice President, New Product Development at Turner Broadcasting. While at Turner, he developed and launched PlayOn Sports, an online sports network that webcast live events for the ACC, the Big Ten and the United Soccer League. Prior to Turner, Eckoff was Senior Director at RealNetworks Inc., where he developed the company's live online sports broadcast business, led the live online hit show “CBS Big Brother 24/7″ and invented an online network for the long tail of video, a forerunner of YouTube. He also negotiated deals with CBS television, FOX Sports, ESPN, CSTV and more. Before joining Real, Eckoff was Senior Vice-President at Rivals.com, a 180-employee start-up funded by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Softbank, Intel, and News Corporation (Fox). While at Rivals, he developed the Rivals.com branded sports news network destination and grew its audience from startup to 1.5 million users per month.
"Vertical topic social networks are the next major wave of the social-web," said David Eckoff. "There have been large and profitable vertical social networks created for business, finance and even pets. Sports will be among the next great vertical social networks and it will be global in scope."
Xsporture solves a large and important problem for athletes, coaches and fans, who have a strong desire to connect and communicate about sports.
Current social networking platforms are not sports-centric. There is so much non-sports information in current social networks that it gets in the way of the topics that athletes, coaches and fans care most about.
"Social media sites are inundated with miscellaneous information that's irrelevant to the needs of the sports world," Lewis said. "And because of the goal of sites such as Facebook is to connect friends, the platform does not work for sports. Athletes do not want the casual fan having access to their family, closest friends and loved ones and 'Like' pages are extremely impersonal."
Xsporture's social media platform is developed specifically for the needs of athletes, coaches and fans. The platform will include sports specific profiles, interaction between fans, athletes and coaches, an online video challenge competition called 'The Athlete Challenge' and more. Status updates will be interoperable with Facebook and Twitter, for viral distribution through existing networks.
"We started Xsporture for athletes and coaches to gain more exposure and for fans to have a direct connection," James Keith, co-founder of Xsporture said. "Our mission is to enable athletes and coaches, ranging from elite, mid-tier and the every day athlete, as well as fans, to network on a sports specific platform."
Xsporture is a member of the Advanced Technology Development Center, a start-up accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies.
"The catalysts and the mentors of ATDC have provided constructive feedback and many valuable introductions," Lewis said. "ATDC's resources and the free events have been a great way to learn from other entrepreneurs."
Xsporture will launch the Beta version of its social media platform this summer.
Xsporture is the social media platform for bringing together athletes, coaches and fans. Dedicated to the needs of those most passionate about sports, the platform includes sports-specific profiles, interactions between fans, athletes and coaches, and online video competitions. Xsporture is a member the Advanced Technology Development Center, a start-up accelerator that helps Georgia technology entrepreneurs launch and build successful companies. For more information, visit http://www.xsporture.com.