Published on September 3, 2021
CHICAGO, Illinois (August 25, 2021) — Emerging sports technology company Honest Game announced today that the company has closed a $2 million seed funding round. The recent funds raised come from a diverse set of investors, including athletes such as NBA player Thaddeus Young, venture capital firms and individuals with a vested interest in the company. These funds will allow Honest Game to continue growing and improving its technology platform that is already helping more than 30,000 student-athletes gain access to college sports.
Founded in 2019 as a public benefit corporation, Honest Game is an advanced, first of its kind technology platform that helps high school staff, parents, coaches and student-athletes track the complex NCAA and NAIA academic eligibility requirements to play college sports.
Nearly one million student-athletes are academically ineligible for college sports each year because of easily avoidable or recoverable errors, such as taking invalid courses or miscalculated GPAs. This number increases to one in two student-athletes from underserved communities. The problem lies in a lack of resources at both the high school and collegiate levels, as staff members simply don’t know how to help or have time to track all requirements.
The online tracking that Honest Game provides to schools shows each student-athlete their potential and realistic collegiate opportunities based on their personal academic record. With proactive guidance, staff and families have the time and know-how to address academic eligibility issues before it’s too late. With the help of Honest Game, students are now aware of their best academic fit earlier to help streamline the college recruiting and search process. Through this process, Honest Game aims to improve learning outcomes by pairing student-athletes’ passion for sports with a motivation for excelling in the classroom.
“Honest Game’s one-of-a-kind technology is life changing,” said Young. “As an advisor for Honest Game, I have seen the direct impact the company has had on student-athletes, and I firmly believe in the company’s mission and potential to guide and empower our youth to navigate the challenging hurdles of academic eligibility.”
Another investor, Alan Warms, principal at Participant Capital, made an investment in Honest Game after the technology helped his own daughter discover and decipher an academic eligibility barrier that would have prohibited her from playing field hockey at the college level. Investor Craig Ross shared a similar story. He decided to contribute to the fundraising round after Honest Game’s technology discovered an issue with his daughter’s transcript that would have prevented her from playing college softball.
“If it wasn’t for Honest Game flagging an issue with a course, my daughter would have been at risk of not being eligible to play, even though she was already enrolled in the school,” said Ross. “The Honest Game team helped to identify and resolve the issue with six weeks of school remaining. This technology was literally life changing for my daughter, and I strongly believe that no school should be without it.”
Honest Game was determined to partner with a diverse set of investors that align with the company’s core values of diversity and equity, while allowing each investor to understand the positive impact the contributions will make. Additional investors include but are not limited to John Anderson, head of product for Oculus VR at Facebook, Loud Capital, and two family offices in Oak Park and Northshore.
Kim Michelson and Joyce Anderson, Co-founders of Honest Game, led the short and successful funding round, which took five months.
“The organizations that contributed to this round are more than just investors. They are strategic partners committed to helping Honest Game grow and succeed,” said Michelson. “We are two females forging our own path in the underrepresented space of both sports and technology, and we are coming to the table with a proven solution to a big problem. Sometimes startups are seeking funding to help them find an answer, but in our case, we’ve found it.”
For more information on Honest Game, or to stay up to date with the company’s latest developments, visit honestgame.com.
As a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), Honest Game tracks students’ academic progress in real time so they can meet National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) requirements and access available college athletic scholarships. The startup, founded in 2019 by Kim Michelson and Joyce Anderson, provides academic eligibility status for each student-athlete and identifies when a student needs to re-take the SAT or ACT, enroll in summer school, or complete credit recovery courses to become college scholarship eligible. Honest Game works with public and private high schools/districts, coaches and counselors, club sports teams, and individual athletes to ensure students meet the academic requirements to play college sports. To learn more about Honest Game, visit honestgame.com.