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By Marc Roufeil, Head of APAC & EMEA, Sports Tech World Series

Melbourne-based tech company ECAL has secured $1 million in additional capital as a part of a strategic acquisition by Singapore based startup HyperKu.

The unique structure of the deal was developed over the last 12 months, and is designed to create a clean vessel from which the calendar communications and marketing platform company can capitalise on their recent growth, and better leverage the funding, and expertise of their new investors.  

“Business has been on the upward trend for the last 3 years, anywhere from 30-50% growth year-on-year, so this capital growth is capitalising on that, and supercharging it.” Said ECAL CEO and co-founder of HyperKu, Patrick Barrett.

In addition to funding and expertise, the new deal has also provided ECAL with access to their investor’s existing portfolio of companies. This was part of the broader strategy and will enable ECAL to create new strategic partnerships and platform integrations; the first of which, an integration with PayDock, has already been announced and means ECAL will be able to create their own payment gateway and facilitate real-time sales within users calendars.

ECAL was established with the simple goal of creating a platform that enables rights holders to communicate information about events, or fixtures, directly to their fans, members, or audience. What has made ECAL unique is their ability to continue to innovate and develop their solution; ultimately creating a truly dynamic platform that enables rights holders to not only create events that are delivered directly to the users calendar, but also make real-time changes to the events, at the same time as collecting valuable user information throughout the process.

It’s these dynamic capabilities that have been a game-changer for rights holders in the sports industry, and is why ECAL now works with global sporting giants such as the ECB, Premier League, Formula E and more. ECAL’s innovation enables sports rights holders to successfully navigate the questions, and challenges that surround the IP ownership of fixtures, learn more about their audience, and ultimately create deeper engagement with their fans.

“In the eyes of the courts once a fixture is published it is deemed to be free in the public domain. ECAL allows publishers to retain control, and ownership of that data… they can provide information that is exclusively in their control straight to the consumers, offering them additional products or services, and collecting key consumer data” Mr Barrett said.

This dynamic nature has also meant that in a year that has been so turbulent for the sports industry, ECAL has been able to provide a reliable, and adaptable platform to help organisations pivot quickly to digital formats, and keep their audiences informed in real-time of new events, and ever-changing schedules.

Mr Barrett said as the pandemic hit, ECAL quickly became the channel of choice for the delivery of new digital events schedules for the likes of the NBA with their 2K Players Tournament and Formula E’s Race at Home Challenge.

“ECAL has also been vital for the rescheduling of sport as it returned, and ensuring fans were updated with the latest information. For example, in Australia the return of the AFL and NRL has included weekly schedule updates, and changes, all of which are managed and communicated through ECAL.” He added.

On the back of this year-on-year growth, a unique solution during the pandemic, and the recently announced acquisition and capital injection, ECAL is perfectly positioned to grow rapidly. Mr Barrett said the short-term focus will be on strategic regional growth, with a particular focus on Asia. This is evident in their recent appointment of former DAZN SVP, Alex Peebles as Chief Revenue Officer who will be based in Singapore and lead ECAL’s Asia expansion.

“They (Asian region) are at the beginning in terms of digitising their sport marketing and communications, and ECAL has a great opportunity there.” Said Barrett.

Long term, the sky is the limit as ECAL looks to reach into more verticals including conferences, esports, and streaming providers and platforms. However, it’s the payment sector that excites Barrett the most; “when we look beyond the 12 months, I think the payments, billing and banking side of things will become more and more interesting, and a more integral part of the business as well.” He said.

In a world that is moving at a rapid pace, ECAL is a great example of a young Australian company that started out by simply focusing on solving one core problem. In doing so, they were able to develop a targeted, but dynamic solution, that has been able to adapt to rapid change across multiple industries. Their success and growth, despite the challenges of 2020, should be a lesson to all that at the heart of any successful business should be a focus on a solving one core problem.

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