Published in Economic Development

VNN Inc.’s footprint expands with acquisition of Washington-based company

BY Friday, July 31, 2020 02:20pm

GRAND RAPIDS — High school sports communication platform VNN Inc. has carved out a foothold in Washington state with its latest acquisition announced today.

The Grand Rapids-based VNN Inc., which also has an office in Minneapolis, acquired Washington Prep Athletics Network, based in Lynden, Wash.

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Similar to VNN, WPA Network has become the largest provider of data management tools for athletic directors throughout Washington.

Previously, VNN — which has partnerships with roughly 10 percent of the high school sports programs in the U.S. — was only connected with three schools in Washington. With the deal, VNN is now connected with 35 athletic conferences in the state, which stands as roughly 85 percent of the schools in Washington.

“The openness, excitement, and sense of membership that WPA’s technology has brought to local communities in Washington is exactly the kind of partnership we aim to build with high school athletic departments all across the U.S.,” VNN CEO Rick Ehrman said in a statement.

“The digitization of athletics is helping schools and their administrators save time, promote their programs, and make school sports more fun, affordable and accessible for everyone involved. Through acquisitions like WPA and expanding our platform, we plan to lead the market in making this a reality for all schools.”

WPA Networks was the product of a grassroots effort by founder Mark Martin and his wife Heidi, who started by lending their services part-time to a single school district. The venture swelled due to positive word of mouth.

The acquisition will allow Mark Martin to go full-time with his efforts. WPA Network also has two contracted employees who will join VNN as employees.

VNN intends to leverage the acquisition to create a fully integrated package of digital necessities for athletic directors. This includes solutions for fundraising, conference management, score reporting and general communications.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Earlier this year, Ehrman told MiBiz that VNN was focused on M&A activity and that the company was looking to acquire partnerships with large clusters of high school programs as opposed to picking them up one at a time, like the startup did in its infancy.

Six months ago, VNN acquired Provo, Utah-based RallyAroundUs LLC, an online fundraising platform, to allow it to develop fundraising solutions in-house.

Read 4498 times Last modified on Friday, 31 July 2020 14:33
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