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Tom Rogers, Hank Ratner Lead WinView's $3.4M ‘A’ Round

TiVo chairman Tom Rogers and Cablevision Systems vice chairman Hank Ratner have led a $3.4 million series A round in WinView, a company that is working toward the commercial debut of a free mobile app (opens in new tab) that enables users to win cash prizes by making situational predictions during live TV sporting events. 

In the case of football games, those “propositions” could include predicting the outcomes of individual plays, whether a running back will fumble the ball during the current quarter,  and if a challenged play will be upheld or overturned.

WinView said it  has raised $6.5 million total and that, as part of their investment, Rogers and Ratner have been appointed co-chairman of the WinView board of directors.

Rogers and Ratner are backing WinView amid big changes underway at their respective companies.

Rogers stepped down as CEO of TiVo to become non-executive chairman effective Feb. 1, 2016. TiVo is now in the process of merging with Rovi.  Ratner is also former CEO of The Madison Square Garden  Company. Ratner’s current company, Cablevision Systems, is in the process of being acquired by Altice Group.

WinView said the  proceeds of the investment will be used to complete development of the WinView Games app and time the launch with the start of the 2016 professional football season. It tested the app during the 2015-2016 football season.

According to the  WinView site, a tournament held during Super Bowl 50 offered a prize pool of $1,000 that paid out the top 10 winners, with first place coming away with $400.

WinView, which claims to have a portfolio of 26 “foundational” patents that enable the synchronization of its app with TV broadcasts and commercials, noted that it is based on an ad-supported  business model, and that all games covered by its service are produced via a live studio and producers that track select sporting events in real time.  Its app was by European firm Ex Machina Group and is based on that vendor’s “PlayToTV platform.”

"Completion of this financing led by industry notables Tom Rogers and Hank Ratner will help drive the development and growth of WinView Games,” WinView founder and CEO Dave Lockton said, in a statement. "Live sports is premium programming with a massive captive audience, and it is one of the last bastions to engage millennials. “Technology and market conditions are now converging and giving rise to position our app, which is uniquely synchronized with live TV, to be a huge mobile engagement and revenue generation opportunity for the networks, leagues and advertisers involved, especially those seeking the coveted young adult male audience.”

"Playing along on a second screen while watching TV sports live is all the rage in Europe, having reduced fantasy sports to also-ran status,” Rogers added. “Millions of people in the U.S. are already using a second screen, checking stats while they watch, which has set the stage for this next big leap in sports television, enabling the viewer, unlike fantasy, to play along in real time with the live game itself.”

“Both Tom and I were involved with Dave when he pioneered the second screen play-along with TV programming category at his earlier company, Interactive Network,” Ratner said. “Now, with our involvement combined with our relationships with all the constituents in the sports television industry, including the leagues and networks, the stage is set for WinView to take off and scale this fall by tapping into sports fans' inherent desire to engage with this next-generation TV sports entertainment experience."

WinView also announced that its board has been expanded to include investors Steve Goodroe, former VP of Global Customer Marketing of Procter & Gamble and CEO of Dunnhumby USA; and Bryan Jacoboski, managing partner of Abingdon Capital Management. In addition, John Costello, President Global Marketing and Innovation of Dunkin Brands, Inc. and Global Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association, is joining the WinView advisory board.