Sports Audio App Colorcast Raises $1.5M to Kick Off Better Commentary
Evan Kirkham was watching the Dallas Cowboys a couple years ago when he got fed up with the game’s color commentary.
It’s a feeling most sports fans can relate to. But for Kirkham, watching former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten try to remain neutral on-air was so frustrating he had to turn off the TV.
Kirkham decided to democratize the broadcast booth with Colorcast, an app that allows anyone to provide live sports commentary with one push of a button.
After a year of planning and developing, his team launched the app in November 2020.
As Colorcast approaches its one-year anniversary, the app boasts more than 6,000 unique listeners logging on for more than 24,600 sessions per month.
On any given Sunday, more than 140 commentators will be broadcasting to an audience of about 1,000 listeners.
The Austin-based company announced on Tuesday it has raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding.
Expanding the Depth Chart
Kirkham said he has already received inbound interest for a more substantial seed round – ranging anywhere from $5 million to $10 million – which he expects he could close in the next two or three months.
Kirkham, who co-founded the company with CFO Peter Reggio and CTO Luis Lafer-Sousa, said the nine-person team will grow as they receive more funding.
Colorcast is similar to Clubhouse, the audio chat room app, but for live sports including football, baseball, basketball and hockey. Each stream can feature up to three people: a host, a co-host and the ability to invite a guest from the audience into the “hot seat.”
Colorcast also differentiates itself from other audio-only apps with a syncing feature that allows listeners to pause, rewind or fast-forward a live audio stream so that it matches precisely with the action happening on their screen.
“This is really new tech that allows us to have multiple speakers creating live audio that they’re able to pause, rewind or fast forward,” Kirkham said.
The app also shows scores, statistics and other real-time information about the game.
The ability to broadcast without any special equipment on a platform with an existing audience has lured aspiring broadcasters, armchair quarterbacks and comedians — one streamer provides color commentary in the voice of Mr. Mackey, the guidance counselor on the animated television show South Park.
The app has also drawn celebrity commentators, such as rapper Vic Mensa, who also serves as an advisor. Colorcast broadcasters have also interviewed athletes, such as former Pittsburgh Steelers players Ryan Shazier, Ike Taylor and James Washington; L.A. Rams safety Taylor Rapp; and Atlanta Falcons fullback Keith Smith.
It would be the same as walking into a Packers bar. They’re just doing that virtually.”
The app also has a social appeal. One streamer who provides color commentary during Green Bay Packers games draws Wisconsin expats from around the country who want to connect with other Packers fans.
“We’re forming these communities of people who want to hear from each other and engage with each other during the game,” Kirkham said. “It would be the same as walking into a Packers bar. They’re just doing that virtually.”
The livestreams are not limited to in-game commentary, either. Colorcast also features nearly 100 weekly sports talk shows.
Colorcast’s pre-seed funding came from New York-based Tribeca Early Stage Partners, Los Angeles-based VoicePunch VC, Denver-based Hilltop Venture Partners and San Francisco-based Connetic Ventures, among others.
Brad Greenwald, a managing partner at Hilltop Venture Partners, said in a statement that his team is “convinced Colorcast has cracked the code on the social sports talk category.”
“Their intense focus on understanding the needs of young sports fans has led to this fun, highly interactive and addictive new type of entertainment,” he said.