Miami-based startup StatusPRO recently raised $20 million in a Series A funding round, led by Google Ventures, which has catapulted them to the forefront of the virtual reality (VR) gaming industry. This funding has attracted notable investors, including celebrity athletes and renowned venture capital firms.

Founded by former football players Troy Jones and Andrew “Hawk” Hawkins, StatusPRO aims to revolutionize first-person sports experiences through cutting-edge VR simulations. Their goal is to capture the excitement, intense competition, and sense of community that professional athletes experience.

One notable aspect of this funding round is the involvement of celebrity investors. High-profile individuals such as basketball star LeBron James, hip-hop icon Drake, and Miami restaurateur David Grutman have expressed support for StatusPRO. This not only validates the startup’s potential but also brings a unique blend of sports, entertainment, and business expertise to the table.

Dream Sports, Wise Ventures (owned by Mark and Zygi Wilf, owners of the Minnesota Vikings), JDS Sports, and Alumni Ventures are also among the investors. This diverse group reflects the growing interest and confidence in the rapidly expanding VR gaming industry, projected to reach $53 billion by 2028, up from $8 billion in 2021, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.4%.

With the newly acquired funding, StatusPRO plans to advance their technology and expand into other areas of the sports VR market. Their primary focus is future sports intellectual property (IP), aiming to create immersive experiences for sports enthusiasts.

The company’s initial entry into the sports VR market came through a licensing deal with the NFL, resulting in the launch of their VR simulation gaming franchise, NFL PRO ERA. This groundbreaking game allows fans to step into the shoes of their favorite athletes and interact in a captivating virtual world. NFL PRO ERA has already attracted over a million users and is one of the fastest-selling sports titles in VR history.

StatusPRO’s early success is owed to its technology-driven approach and strategic partnerships. The licensing deal with the NFL speaks volumes about the quality and appeal of their VR simulations.

Looking ahead, StatusPRO plans to expand their reach and explore opportunities with other professional sports avenues and teams. The funding will enable them to develop new sports titles and enhance their technology for more immersive experiences.

M.G. Siegler, Venture Partner at GV, believes that StatusPRO has the potential to shape the VR gaming industry rather than simply thrive within it. The company’s innovative vision and commitment to creating realistic and engaging sports simulations set them apart from competitors.

StatusPRO has also received strong support from the sports and investment communities, with backing from existing investors like Maverick Carter, Main Street Advisors, and Haslam Sports Group, as well as individual investments from notable athletes such as Kayvon Thibodeaux, Myles Garrett, and Cameron Jordan. This further solidifies their position as a rising star in the VR gaming industry.

Founders Troy Jones and Andrew Hawkins have assembled an impressive team and have a track record of successful execution. Their experience as former football players brings a unique perspective to the development of sports VR simulations.

With the recent funding led by Google Ventures and other syndicates, StatusPRO’s opportunity to revolutionize fan engagement in sports through emerging technology is undeniably validated. As they continue to push boundaries and deliver immersive experiences, they are poised to play a significant role in shaping the future of the VR gaming industry.

In a world where technology is constantly evolving, StatusPRO’s commitment to delivering high-quality VR simulations in the sports space positions them as frontrunners in the industry. With their newfound financial backing, the company is well-positioned to make a lasting impact on how fans experience and engage with their favorite sports.