HBD Venture Capital, Mark Shuttleworth’s venture investment vehicle managed by Knife Capital, is exiting its holding in Flightscope in a management buyback. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. HBD first backed the 3D dopplar ball-tracking radar for sports in 2006 to help support Flightscope’s global expansion strategy.
Flightscope used the capital raised from HBD to help raise the company’s international sales and marketing activity dramatically. Launched in 1989, Flightscope developed systems to measure projectiles for the defense industry before diversifying into sports applications in a quest for growth. In 2008, Flightscope moved its headquarters from Stellenbosch to Orlando, Florida in order to boost its business development focus and be closer to their end clients.
“We saw tremendous potential in applying world-class technology to bridge the gap between the passion and science of sports,” Knife Capital CEO Eben van Heerden told IT-Online. “We anticipated the impact smart devices would have on this unique niche and teamed up with tenacious entrepreneurs who could execute.”
Today, Flightscope’s technology is used by a number of sports. In Tennis, the firm supplies all chair-umpire scoring systems to the ATP, WTA, ITF, Wimbledon as well as many other individual tournaments, in cricket the company is the leading supplier for bowling speed measurement systems while in baseball and golf, Flightscope’s products help coaches, golf instructors and others measure ball flight and multiple other parameters.
According to reports, the deal was achieved without compromising venture capital return criteria. Eben van Heerden and Kees van Zyl, both Partners at Knife Capital, will remain on Flightscope’s Board as non-executive directors.