In the culmination of a nearly four-year relationship, Comcast has acquired sports media company OneTwoSee. It’s the company’s first acquisition of a Philly-based startup, according to a Comcast spokeswoman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The relationship started in 2012, with Comcast Sports Network taking a chance on a young startup. CSN was OneTwoSee’s first customer, signing on to use OneTwoSee’s baseball stats app on several of its local websites. Just last summer, Comcast integrated OneTwoSee’s numerous sports apps into its X1 platform, starting with a National Football League app, then one for baseball, basketball, hockey. An Olympics app is still to come. That partnership with Comcast was the first time that users could interact with OneTwoSee’s apps on their TVs, and it was a big one: they reached millions of Comcast subscribers.
That’s why OneTwoSee is joining Comcast, said CEO Chris Reynolds in an interview last week at the company’s new Center City office.
“Comcast,” Reynolds said, “delivers the ability to scale.”
Other companies were interested in acquiring OneTwoSee, but Reynolds held out for Comcast. (He didn’t say which companies, but OneTwoSee works with companies like LG, Bloomberg and AOL.) Every time he’d get an offer, he said he’d check in with Comcast. The two companies started talking more formally about the possibility last summer.
OneTwoSee is joining Comcast’s sports and X1 app team, led by Silicon Valley-based product VP Preston Smalley. Smalley, who was in Philly last week, said that as Comcast started incorporating all of OneTwoSee’s various apps, it “became obvious” that he wanted the company as part of Comcast’s core sports team. One in four X1 households use OneTwoSee’s sports app once a week, Smalley said, adding that they’ve noticed that subscribers that use X1 extras, like the sports app, return.
All 16 OneTwoSee employees are joining Comcast. They’ll stay in their office on the 19th floor of 1650 Arch St. (we’ll have photos for you shortly, look out for them), which offers a perfect view of their new employer: the Comcast Center is right across the street. The plan is to move OneTwoSee into the new Comcast’s tech tower when it’s finished.
Not much will change in terms of operations, Reynolds said. They’ll hold on to their existing customers.
“We’re open for business, period,” said the 41-year-old Devon resident.
While we can’t speak to financial success since terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, we will say that it feels like a win for a homegrown startup.
OneTwoSee was backed largely by local investors: Robin Hood Ventures, MissionOG, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, as well as former Inquirer reporter and Village Voice Media president Art Howe. (OneTwoSee raised a total of $2.5 million, according to its CrunchBase profile. Most recently, it raised a $1.2 million debt round from MissionOG and Robin Hood.)
Reynolds and his cofounder and COO Jason Angelides are both products of the tech scene, learning the ropes at Malvern’s Traffic.com, and they’ve also largely hired from local universities. Many from their engineering staff, led by Clay Simmons, stem from universities like Drexel, La Salle and Saint Joseph’s.
OneTwoSee also got its start at Green Village and Brad Denenberg’s Seed Philly incubator, which has since shut down. They remain in the same building, though.
And, of course, it’s a win for Comcast, which has been working to get more and more involved with the local tech scene. Danielle Cohn, Comcast’s director of entrepreneurial investment who’s in charge of engaging startups, frequently points to OneTwoSee as an example of the kind of engagement that Comcast hopes to do with Philly tech companies.
Now that OneTwoSee has paved the way for a local startup to get acquired by Comcast, will others follow suit? Will companies hoping to get acquired by Comcast relocate here? Sounds like another good way to market Philly to the national tech scene.