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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Teamworks, an athlete engagement platform that grew up in the college sports space and has since expanded to the professional ranks, announced yesterday that it has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by Delta-v Capital.

The big picture: The round also includes participation from new investors Afia Capital, a private investment platform backed by pro athletes, and Stadia Ventures, a global sports innovation hub.

How it works: There are so many moving parts within an elite sports organization: coaches, athletes, trainers, strength staff, nutritionists, marketers, sales teams, etc.

  • Teamworks' software connects those departments and allows them to communicate in one centralized location.
  • Think of it as Slack or G-Suite for sports organizations — a platform that can be customized through modules and plug-ins and allows them to fully digitize their operations.

The backdrop: Like the aforementioned Slack and G-Suite, plus other tools like Zoom, the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated Teamworks' core value proposition: how do sports organizations communicate when they're not in a building together?

  • "On one hand, we're definitely seeing a slow down in organizations wanting to sign on right now because so many are in a general spending freeze," CEO and founder Zach Maurides told me yesterday by phone.
  • "But given the current situation, we've gone from something that was maybe viewed as a competitive advantage to something that is now business critical," said Maurides, who came up with the idea for Teamworks in 2005, while playing football at Duke. "The organizations we serve have continued operating without skipping a beat."

What to watch: With the name, image and likeness (NIL) debate heating up, Teamworks is well-positioned to be the facilitator of deals between brands and college athletes once those are able to happen, all while allowing athletic departments to monitor activity and prove compliance.

  • More than 2,000 Division I teams use Teamworks, which means tens of thousands of student-athletes are already on the app. So it's not hard to imagine them toggling between talking to a coach and talking to a sponsor.
  • That would explain Teamworks' recent acquisition of athlete social media content delivery platform, INFLCR (similar to Opendorse), which was finalized with this latest round of funding.

Yes, but: As the NIL landscape takes shape, Teamworks will likely face stiff competition from competitors looking to help college athletes earn money, and leaning too heavily into that side of things could pull the company away from its core mission of helping organizations communicate.

Go deeper: No one knows when the coronavirus sports shutdown will end

Go deeper

Arizona Judge: Adding mask mandates ban to budget bill is unconstitutional

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

An Arizona judge ruled Monday that the state's ban on mask mandates in schools, and other measures put into the state budget by Republicans, are unconstitutional, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The sweeping ruling voids a ban on vaccine requirements for public universities, community colleges and local governments, and strikes down some non-COVID-related measures like a ban on teaching critical race theory in classrooms and anti-fraud measures for ballots.

Activision to set up $18M victims fund in response to harassment suit

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard announced plans Monday to settle a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hours after it was filed.

Why it matters: This is Activision's most visible acknowledgment of problems at the company, in the wake of a series of workplace misconduct lawsuits, complaints and investigations initiated against the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" maker since the summer.

Pfizer testing oral pill for prevention of COVID

Photo: Soumyabrata Roy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer announced Monday that it is testing an oral antiviral drug that would help prevent COVID-19.

Why it matters: This drug is one of several antiviral pills that could have a massive impact on coronavirus treatment since not everyone will get a vaccine, and it may take years to fully vaccinate people in certain countries, per Axios' Alison Snyder.