SBJ/March 4-10, 2013/Finance

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  • Bill DeWitt III, Pronger among investors in $6 million funding for LockerDome

    LockerDome, a St.Louis-based, sports-oriented social media network, has closed on a $6 million round of Series A venture capital funding that includes St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III and former NHL most valuable player Chris Pronger.

    Cultivation Capital Growth Fund, also based in St. Louis, led the funding round, which also includes undisclosed members of the Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers ownership groups, LockerDome says.

    The money continues a run of growth for the operation, which according to internal metrics has doubled from 5 million unique users to 10 million since December. LockerDome last month partnered with the USA Today Sports Media Group to become part of that company’s sports digital properties network and collaborate on sales and content initiatives.

    LockerDome seeks to blend elements of sports digital media, including team fan sites and athlete-driven social media, into a single hub. The company is aligned with hundreds of individual pro athletes and sports entities, including Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Dime Magazine and Rawlings Sporting Goods.

    Two of Cultivation Capital’s general partners, CDM Fantasy Sports co-founder Brian Matthews and Jim McKelvey, were prior investors in LockerDome and sit on the company’s board of directors. Cliff Holekamp, another Cultivation Capital general partner, has also joined the LockerDome board.

    Coming projects pegged for the new venture capital funds include an expected site relaunch this spring and the development of an internal sales team.

    “People like Chris Pronger and Bill DeWitt are obviously very big in [St. Louis], and the industry in general, and it’s very hard to underestimate the value of the support they bring,” said Gabe Lozano, LockerDome co-founder and chief executive. “This funding round is going to enable us to double down on our software development and really look to build out our revenue generation.”

    Lozano said he had been pitching DeWitt to be involved in LockerDome since 2009, when it was in its infancy. Pronger, a member of the St. Louis Blues for nine seasons and most recently with the Philadelphia Flyers, moved last year with his family back to St. Louis, after his playing career was likely ended following a series of concussion-related issues.

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