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NBA, soccer stars back $2M funding in video start-up

Soccer player Thierry Henry and basketball star Tony Parker are among a number of sports stars who have chipped in to raise $2 million funding for video clip sharing start-up Grabyo.

The London-based start-up allows major TV companies like Sky and ITV to clip real-time video such as a goal from a soccer game, and share it on Twitter and Facebook.

Tony Parker NBA
Grabyo

Grabyo said the money will help with its European and North America expansion, a move to take advantage of the explosion in spend on mobile video advertising which in the U.K. grew 59 percent to £202 million ($318.6 million) year-on-year in the first half of 2014, according to PWC.

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The platform can allow brands to advertise through the video as well as on third party websites and the growth of mobile advertising is behind the timing of the expansion, Grabyo's boss said.

"If you look at the trends in video, mobile video is the fastest growing, and it has been driven in part by the evolution of video on the social platform," Gareth Capon, CEO of Grabyo, told CNBC by phone.

"Our partnerships with Twitter and Facebook are key for us and that has helped accelerate our growth."

Capon declined to reveal the company's financials but said Grabyo is "making money" and revenues are "growing quickly".

Chelsea soccer player Cesc Fabregas and Manchester United's Robin van Persie were also named as backers, in the latest move by celebrities in the business world.

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Grabyo has worked with broadcasters as well as major sporting events such as golf's Ryder Cup and FIFA World Cup. The company's CEO said it is now looking at building partnerships with a number of football clubs to drive new revenue streams for the team.

"We have been talking to most of the major football clubs in Europe and we expect to extend those partnerships into 2015," Capon said.

"The biggest clubs have the biggest fan base and engaging their fans through video is great, especially with all the sponsorship opportunities that come along with that."

The demand for real-time clips is on the rise. In June, Twitter bought SnappyTV, a platform for clipping, editing, and distribution live video on social media as advertisers look to online video.