In A Bet That Micro-Wagering Will Transform Sports Streaming, Startup Phenix Raises $16.7 Million

Posted on: September 20th, 2021 by Kirenaga Partners

New players are piling into the sports streaming space, betting that the live nature of games can help reverse, or at least slow, the viewership declines seen throughout the broadcasting world. But just how “live” those game broadcasts are is up for debate: Because of latency issues inherent to online streaming, the home viewer might be watching action that is a minute behind what’s happening on the field.

One startup believes that it has found a solution—and that it will be lucrative.

Phenix, which says its technology can reduce the latency of video streams to less than half a second at scale, has secured $16.7 million in a Series B round led by the Chicago-based sports-tech venture capital firm KB Partners, bringing its total funding to $40 million. The investment values the startup at $90 million.

Rather than the HLS or DASH protocols that are generally used to deliver video because they can easily scale, Phenix cofounder Stefan Birrer adapted a protocol called WebRTC that was developed for chatbots with an emphasis on speed. The resulting software ensures streams are fast and synchronized across users and devices.

In the years after its founding in 2013, the Chicago-based startup focused on auctions and trivia games—spaces that require synchronization so that no competitor has an advantage over any other—powering car auctions for Manheim and working on an interactive component of ABC’s 2019 Oscars broadcast and a Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? companion app. But as it got its tech ready for commercialization, it saw greater opportunity in the sports streaming space.

Read the full Forbes article here