VRTL Closes $1M Seed Round to Bring Branded Virtual Entertainment to Fans

(EZ Newswire)

NEW YORK, NY -- VRTL, the platform that enables live entertainment brands to create virtual venues for engaging events, recently announced the closing of its $1 million seed round. The funding round included participation from APEX Capital and HearstLab, an investment arm of Hearst Corporation focused exclusively on supporting and scaling women-led technology startups.
Despite the massive popularity of sports franchises around the world, studies show that 95% of fans will never attend an event in person. The global shift towards remote work and virtual events as well as sky-rocketing ticket prices has only widened this gap, causing brands to miss out on important interactions with their most passionate fans that drive greater lifetime values.
VRTL connects fans directly with talent ranging from sports stars to entertainment icons on a virtual venue platform that is fully white-labeled and optimized for high production value and brand control. Operating as an enterprise solution, organizations can activate themed-breakout rooms for Q&A sessions, second-screen viewing parties, live autograph meet and greets, chat, e-commerce, partner integrations, and more.  The suite of robust tools on VRTL allow brands to strengthen their fan engagement and broaden their reach through experiences they love without losing the quality, essence, and personalization of in-person attendance.
The company’s offering has already attracted major players in sports and entertainment such as the Olympics (IOC), EPL and EFL teams including the Wolverhampton Wanderers, motorsport teams in F1 and NASCAR, and others.
CEO Courtney Jeffries brings over 15 years of experience as a sports executive to VRTL, including roles with the Oakland Raiders, Pac-12, and Madison Square Garden where she was VP of Retention & Business. She holds an MA in Sports Management from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. from University of Washington, where she was a D1 softball player. Tricia Viole, COO of VRTL, has worked across boutique and large-sized experiential agencies; most recently as National Senior Director of Project Management at MKTG, a dentsu company, a marketing agency specializing in sports and entertainment.

"For so many reasons, HearstLab is the ideal investor and partner for VRTL," said Jeffries. "Their investment lends credibility and connectivity, both of which fuel our growth as we fill the enormous void in interactive consumer experiences. On top of that, the community that the Lab has created is packed with best-in-class innovators that lend us their counsel and expertise as we continue to meet the ever-changing demands of global fan engagement. We are truly grateful for the backing and support of such an influential organization."

"Fans exist today in a completely different way than they did just 10 years ago. VRTL’s platform helps brands and teams play a role in this changing landscape to successfully capture and engage their fans," said Lisa Burton, Vice President of HearstLab. "The two-way experience they’ve built to scale the fan experience globally is exactly what’s needed in sports and entertainment today. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Courtney and her team."

 "We're thrilled about the opportunity to work with Courtney and the VRTL team," said Sam Isaacs, Investment Manager at APEX Ventures. "APEX recognizes the immense potential within fan engagement, and partnering with VRTL aligns with our commitment to positively impact the future of sports, media, and entertainment. Together, we look forward to redefining the landscape and creating unforgettable moments for fans worldwide."

About VRTL

VRTL is a white-labeled virtual platform enabling global brands, teams, and live entertainment to create personalized fan experiences and interactions at scale. The VRTL platform allows brands to access and activate their entire consumer funnel for greater revenues, higher retention, and data collection. Learn more at www.vrtl.live.

Media Contact

Courtney Jeffries



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