Yardbarker Raises $6 Million

Yardbarker, an Emeryville, Calif.-based online sports community and branded vertical ad network, has raised $6 million in Series B funding. Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the round, with Josh Stein taking a board seat. Return backers include Russ Siegelman, Ronnie Lott (via SC Investments Consulting), Jarl Mohn, Labrador Ventures and Baseline Ventures.




Yardbarker, the rapidly growing online sports community and branded vertical ad network, announced today that it has closed a $6 million Series B round of financing.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) led the round, and was joined by existing investors Russ Siegelman, Ronnie Lott (via SC Investments Consulting), Jarl Mohn, Labrador Ventures, Baseline Ventures, and others. As part of the funding, Josh Stein, Managing Director at DFJ, will join Yardbarker's Board of Directors. Yardbarker plans to use the funds to expand its engineering and sales teams.

Yardbarker's growth over the past 12 months has been dramatic, reaching more than six million unique users in February across 300 independent sports sites in the Yardbarker Network. The company has also experienced a surge in the popularity of Yardbarker.com, a first-of-its-kind community of sports fans and celebrity athlete bloggers, including superstars Donovan McNabb, Baron Davis, Dontrelle Willis, and Greg Oden. The network and site have proven to be an attractive mix for advertisers who understand that the next generation of sports fans is increasingly spending more time on blogs than on mainstream sports sites. Current advertising clients include 2K Sports, vitaminwater, and Sony PlayStation, among other major brands.

“Draper Fisher Jurvetson's track record in the consumer Internet space is impressive, and their experience working with vertical media networks like Glam will be very valuable to us,” Yardbarker Co-Founder and CEO Pete Vlastelica said. “We are focused on giving our users more and more ways to interact with each other; delivering the most valuable Network experience imaginable to a rapidly-growing roster of independent sports sites; and delivering value to the brands that are interested in reaching our audience of passionate sports fans. DFJ believes in our vision, and we are thrilled to be working with them.”

“Yardbarker is one of the most exciting companies in the emerging new media landscape,” said Josh Stein, Managing Director of DFJ. “They are uniquely positioned in a dynamic category with both exciting original content and a strong network of highly targeted social media. We believe Yardbarker has a disruptive business model that will enable them to thrive and become a major player in sports media.”

Yardbarker is the web's most interactive sports media network. Yardbarker.com, the hub of the network, pulls together original content from top athletes such as Donovan McNabb and Carmelo Anthony, along with articles, photos, links, and videos submitted by passionate fans, and gives members more ways to interact with each other than any other major sports site. The Yardbarker Network, which includes 300 high-quality sports blogs and other independent sites, provides Yardbarker's users with a broad array of content that fuels a never-ending discussion.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson (“DFJ”) is a leading venture capital firm with global presence through a network of partner funds, with offices in more than 33 cities around the world and more than $5.7 billion in capital commitments. DFJ's mission is to identify, serve and provide capital for extraordinary entrepreneurs anywhere who are determined to change the world. Over the past twenty years, DFJ has been proud to back over 550 companies across many sectors including such industry changing catalysts as Hotmail (acquired by MSFT), Baidu (BIDU), Skype (acquired by EBAY), EnerNOC (ENOC), athenahealth (ATHN), Focus Media (FMCN), Mobile 365 (acquired by Sybase), xFire (acquired by Viacom), United Online (UNTD), Overture (acquired by YHOO), Interwoven (IWOV), Four11 (acquired by YHOO), and Parametric (PMTC).