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World No. 1 Rory McIlroy invests in Golf Genius

4.06pm 21st May 2020 - Corporate - This story was updated on Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Golf Genius Software, the leading provider of cloud-based tournament management software to the golf industry, today announced the closing of its first institutional round of equity funding, led by four-time major champion and top-ranked golfer in the world, Rory McIlroy, and MVP Capital Partners.

The company’s flagship product, Golf Genius TMS, is the most widely used and fully featured golf tournament management system available today, and the funding will allow the company to accelerate its product roadmap and expand its geographical reach.

Golf Genius’s tournament management software dramatically streamlines the data-intensive process of managing golf tournaments, easing the burden on golf professionals and administrators, and improving the player experience through mobile apps and live scoring. These capabilities will become even more important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as golf is emerging to be a particularly attractive recreational outlet in a world struggling with social distancing requirements.

“I want to help the timeless game of golf transition into the digital era,” said McIlroy. “Innovation is vital to the future of the game and Golf Genius is the market leader in competition software, making golf more fun for golfers of all ages.”

McIlroy is the principal of Symphony Ventures, based in Dublin, Ireland, which joined with MVP Capital of Radnor, PA to participate equally in the multi-million dollar round of equity financing, which closed on May 20.

Golf Genius was recently engaged by the USGA to build, maintain, and host their GHIN and new centralized handicap computation technology, enabling the USGA to calculate all handicaps in the United States, as well as other countries using its service.  In addition, as part of the USGA’s GHIN offering, Golf Genius has provided the USGA with a customized tournament management system used by GHIN golf associations, clubs and golfers.

Golf Genius Software was founded in 2009 by Michael Zisman, of Wayne, Pa., who now serves as co-CEO with Chris Kallmeyer. Prior to Golf Genius, Zisman served in numerous roles at the upper echelon of the software industry, including Vice President of Corporate Strategy at IBM and CEO of Lotus Development Corp. Zisman’s first company, Soft-Switch, developed software that allowed disparate email systems to communicate, greatly accelerating the widespread adoption of email.

“Until now I have provided almost all of the capital invested in Golf Genius,” said Zisman. “The business is now solidly profitable, growing rapidly, and serving more than 9,000 golf facilities and golf associations in 50 countries. By broadening our investor base, we can accelerate our growth strategy both organically and through acquisition. We’re delighted to have the world’s number-one ranked professional golfer and a local private equity firm as new partners.”

In 2019, McIlroy partnered with NBC Sports’ digital platform GOLFPASS, which gives members a wealth of premium golf content, perks and discounts, as well as tee-time credits at over 9,000 courses. Golf Genius has a strategic relationship with NBC Sports covering a number of initiatives.

“My involvement with GOLFPASS and its innovative software led to my introduction to Golf Genius,” McIlroy said.

For Robert Brown, managing partner of MVP Capital, the decision to invest in Golf Genius was an easy one. This is MVP Capital’s third investment in the golf industry and its second investment in a company founded by Zisman, having invested in Soft-Switch in the early 1980s. Brown and Zisman have a decades-long friendship that includes a love of the game and a Philadelphia connection, and thus their collaboration made perfect sense.

“We view Golf Genius Software as a proven innovator and market leader, with a strong management team and an exciting vision,” said Brown. “Mike has both a passion for golf and a proven talent for leading fast-growing companies, and we believe that intersection makes this a great investment. We’re delighted to partner with the Golf Genius team and Rory McIlroy to enrich and grow the game we all love, at a time when we need it most.”

Mike Zisman, Golf Genius Software Co-CEO
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