Sports

Serena Williams, Usain Bolt among seed investors for online sporting event company Let's Do This

Key Points
  • Tennis star Serena Williams and track star Usain Bolt were among the seed investors helping to raise $5 million for sporting events provider Let's Do This.
  • Founded in 2017, the company announced it completed a $15 million Series A round of funding this week. 
  • Co-founder Sam Browne said the company is hoping to attract 45 million people to it's website by 2025.
Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open.
TPN | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

Online sporting event service provider Let's Do This is expanding its digital operations thanks to a round of funding from the likes of tennis star and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and track star and eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt.

The company, which wants to become the Amazon of experiences, announced a $15 million Series A funding round this week. The financing builds off its $5 million seed round just two months ago that drew investment from Williams, Bolt, and long-distance runner Paula Radcliffe — winner of three New York Marathons in 2004, 2007 and 2008 as well as three London Marathons.

Based in San Francisco and London and founded in 2017 by Alex Rose and Sam Browne, Let's Do This is aiming to expand its operations in the endurance marketplace, connecting consumers with more than 30,000 "next challenge" endurance events from 5K races, half marathons, and triathlons to road cycling. The company makes money by charging a percentage of total ticket prices to race directors, freeing officials from the "sales sides" of endurance-based events.

"We want to end up where the race director can just worry about putting on an amazing experience so that athletes come back and race again," Browne said in an interview. "We want the race directors to focus all their time making sure that that race experience for the individual athlete is incredible."

Browne said the company received interest from four venture capital firms but selected Sweden-based EQT Ventures to run the Series A funding thanks to the firm's connections with former executives of Hotels.com and Booking.com. Let's Do This officials are hoping EQT can help grow the company to mimic a website like Hotels.com as it looks to become the top site to find the best deals for endurance events.

Browne declined to disclose the company's valuation following the new round of funding, trying to avoid being overly optimistic like commercial real estate company WeWork. He did say the company has doubled, and at times tripled, its growth "every quarter." The company hopes to attract 45 million people by 2025.

Browne added Let's Do This' growth rate is exceeding expectations. Its gross merchandise value — which is merchandise sales and fees charged to customers, an often used measure of the health of an e-commerce business — will end 2019 with revenue in the "eight figures."

About 25% of the company's revenue comes from events held in the United States, a number Browne says could reach 85% by the end of 2020. The company currently employs 36 people which it hopes will increase to 100 now that the Series A funding is complete.

Browne didn't rule out the idea of eventually going public. He said it wasn't in the immediate plans, adding that executives would entertain the idea if Let's Do This needs public funding to finance its future growth.

Browne added the company is building on a trend that focuses on the "consumer experience market" with the belief it will help grow Let's Do This to a $100 billion company.

"What builds massive companies is consumer spending habits," Browne said. "By the end of 2021, the biggest individual spend, beyond people's rent, will be on experiences for the first time over perishable goods, which means we think that by the time that we die, the biggest company in the world is going to be the Amazon of offline experiences.

"That's where the value is really going to sit … For us, our long-term mission is, we know that someone is going to do it, and we think we have the best team to achieve that vision," he said.