In 2014, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the basketball team in Philadelphia, the 76ers, established the Sixers Innovation Lab as a venture capital firm to invest in Philadelphia-based businesses. Starting in 2017, Sixers Innovation Lab created a fund to invest in multiple businesses, ranging from tech companies that helped fantasy sports players to medicinal companies started by University of Pennsylvania students. According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, more than half of the companies allowed access to the fund have been valued higher now compared to pre-investment. Furthermore, several of the companies have been successfully acquired.
Due to the success of the first fund, Sixers Innovation Lab is opening a second fund of $25 million to support various businesses, surprisingly not restricting support to businesses not located in or near Philadelphia, PA. Now Sixers Innovation Lab will support businesses located all over the United States, allowing them to specify their support of certain business avenues. Namely, Sixers Innovation Lab wishes to invest in “companies involved in sports, esports and gaming, direct-to-consumer products and consumer packaged goods, and media and entertainment.” Additionally, Sixers Innovation Fund aims to “champion” diverse businesses by investing in companies that have racial minority and female founders. Of the businesses supported by the lab, “65% had at least one minority founder at the time of investment and 40% had at least one female founder at the time of investment.”
Not only will the selected companies be able to extract money from the fund, but Sixers Innovation Fund also provides many perks. First, free office space and housing is provided by Sixers Innovation Lab. Another perk is that the selected companies also “receive access to industry experts, executives, and financiers along with third-party branding, marketing and legal services.” With these resources, Sixers Innovation Lab could stimulate considerable growth amongst the gaming community nationwide.