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Hudl Raises $72.5 Million to Bring Game Film to Your iPad

Hudl went big in its first funding round since 2008.

Debby Wong/ Shutterstock

Athletes are often quick to tell you that film study pays off. Apparently, building the software for that film study pays off, too.

Hudl, a video company that lets athletes capture, edit and share game or practice video from mobile devices, has raised $72.5 million in new venture funding, CEO David Graff told Re/code. The new round was led by Accel Partners and educational services company Nelnet.

Hudl is trying to bring a sports industry staple into the 21st century. Coaches and players of all levels rely on game and practice footage to critique performances and prep for upcoming games. But until recently, a lot of that footage was captured on clunky video equipment, and dispersed to players and coaches via DVDs.

Hudl brings all of this technology onto smartphones and tablets. Teams can capture footage through the Hudl app, edit it, add notes or graphics to specific portions, and then send it out to others on the team.

You can also chat back and forth with other people within the app, creating a pseudo-film room anywhere with Wi-Fi.

Hudl

Hudl’s business relies on subscription fees paid by coaches and athletes who use the service. Graff said the company has been profitable for years. Thursday’s funding round was its first since a seed round in 2008.

Despite launching almost a decade ago, Hudl isn’t necessarily well known in tech circles. The company, which has 230 employees, is headquartered in Lincoln, Neb., where its three co-founders graduated from college as Cornhuskers.

The idea for Hudl actually materialized when Graff, 32, was working for the Nebraska football team in the university’s media relations department about 10 years ago. When he saw how slow the film editing and distribution process was, he figured he could improve it.

Nebraska became the company’s first client in 2006, and now Hudl works with tens of thousands of teams from Little League to the professional level all across the world. More than 3.5 million people use the product, including 13 different Premier League soccer clubs, Graff said.

The advancement of mobile technology and cameras has been huge for Hudl’s business, but it also provides competition. There are lots of ways to capture and share video content nowadays, and many of them don’t charge a fee.

But Hudl’s editing and collaboration capabilities set it apart. Plus, the product is about more than just team sports like football or basketball; it touches everything from water skiing to volleyball, said Graff. College professors are even using the product to film and share classes with students.

Hudl will use the funding to grow its own team. Graff hopes Hudl will get to around 350 employees by the end of the year — and he’s looking for acquisition targets, too.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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