Irish-founded ‘Spotify for sport’ changing the game for fans

Locker personalises the world’s best sports content in one easy to use app for fans, meaning that they can consume all their favourite sports media and stats in one place

Ross O'Dwyer, chief executive and co founder, Locker: ‘Sports fans shouldn’t have to use multiple apps to find scores, local news pieces, premium coverage and video highlights’

Locker is a sports media platform built by an experienced team of sports industry executives with over 40 years’ experience in sports, media, broadcasting and tech. They have built what some current investors describe as ‘Spotify for Sport.’

The company is raising equity as part of its current investment round, with investments qualifying for the Employment & Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS) relief.

Co-founder and chief executive Ross O’Dwyer said: “Aside from the tax relief, this is a unique chance for Irish angel investors to co-invest with the global leading institutional investors, teams, leagues and more in sport. Some of these big names include Techstars Sports and their co-investors such as the NBA Team: The Indiana Pacers, NCAA (The National Collegiate Athletic Association), Indiana Sports Corp, the State of Indiana’s sports governing body and the Western Development Commission based out of Galway.”

“It also includes Stadia Ventures – a leading sports VC based in the US, Dapper Labs – the leading sports NFT platform in the world and Toy Ventures, led by partners who are exec product leads for Facebook and Deliveroo.”

The Irish sports start-up personalises the world’s best sports content in one easy to use app for fans, meaning that they can consume all their favourite sports media and stats in one place. Currently available in the UK and Irish app stores, Locker indexes over 2,000 sports publications and analyses over 5,000 articles per day. Only Google indexes more in terms of sport.

“Sports fans shouldn’t have to use multiple apps to find scores, local news pieces, premium coverage and video highlights,” said O’Dwyer. “Our app solves this problem by giving you access to your favourite sports content in one personalised feed. It covers a range of sports, from soccer, rugby, GAA and golf, to growing sports such as esports and cycling. It is also particularly strong for coverage of women’s sport.”

“We’ve been called ‘Spotify for Sport’ by some of our early investors as we don’t create any content and are not a publisher. Instead, we’re focused on the user experience and how we can make the great content already available more accessible and enjoyable for fans.”

Whether you’re interested in the Premier League or Ice-Hockey, GAA or Esports, Locker gives fans complete control over your app experience, said O’Dwyer. “It means that you never need to go searching for the content that truly matters to you as a fan. Simply follow your favourite sports, teams and content creators and let Locker do the hard work for you.”

Locker is headquartered in Galway with offices in Dublin as well as overseas developer teams based in Poland and the US. Headcount is currently 10 and will rise to 15 next year. Founded in 2020 by chief executive Ross O'Dwyer, Brian Quinn, Andrew Pierse and Matt Steerman, the team demonstrates that Ireland’s western region has the talent and supports in place to act as a springboard for global success.

Chief executive O’Dwyer co-founded Pundit Arena and the One-Zero Sports Conference. Quinn is the former commercial director of Setanta Sports which was sold to Eir.

“We have a great team. Our CTO is the former technical lead and co-founder of US fantasy sports app Jock Mkt which has raised over $10m to date and Matt Steerman is a digital advertising industry veteran having worked with leading brands including Distilled Media and Pundit Arena.

“Andrew Pierse is a product designer and digital marketer who has worked with sports media houses such as JOE and Pundit Arena.”

O’Dwyer said that Locker is now the world’s second largest index of sports content. “Only Google is now ahead of Locker now. We’re currently at 2,000 plus sources and growing within the Locker ecosystem.”

The company recently partnered with Dapper Labs. “We’re delighted to welcome Dapper Labs to the Locker family,” said O’Dwyer. “With strategic investment as well as support from their integration team, users on Locker will be able to explore, trade, and buy NFT’s from the biggest names in the business including NBA Top Shot, NFL All Day, and more, all built out on the blockchain.”

Locker was selected as one of the 22 Fall cohort companies for the Stadia Ventures, a leading sports US based VC programme which is based in St Louis and Dallas. As part of this we've been provided five superb US-based industry leading mentors, said Ross. “Stadia join Techstars, Blockchain Founders Fund and Toy Ventures as key strategic investors in the Locker app,” he said.

“Until now we have focused on written content and statistics in the app, but we’re launching video in time for the World Cup,” he said. What this means for fans is highlights, commentary and video podcasts from the world’s best content creators, all personalised to meet your tastes.”

The dynamic startup is also about to launch a host of new product features. “We have an update coming online that will allow Locker to go from written content and data suites (scores, fixtures, results etc) to be able to include: video, live sport, audio and enhanced data suites. This will put us ahead of our roadmap in being able to include all of the above formats within the Locker app.”

“As we close out this round, we are then planning a US launch of Locker. Given that the State of Indiana is an investor we’re lucky to have their direct support in launching Locker in the midwest of America with their support,” he said.