It started with a veteran tech executive trying to improve his golf game. Now Brett Campbell has turned his sports interest into a new venture firm.
Campbell, co-founder of workplace automation software vendor Nintex, is the executive chairman of Overload Golf Ventures, a new group based in Kirkland, Wash. that is seeking to make investments in tech-focused golf companies.
Campbell was taking golf lessons when he met Randall Henry, CEO of aboutGolf, a leading indoor golf simulator developer. They discussed how technology can be used to improve golf and get more people into the game. That eventually led to Campbell creating Overload and acquiring aboutGolf, with Henry joining him as a general partner at the firm.
Austin Fazio, Henry’s brother-in-law and son of famed golf course architect Tom Fazio, is also a general partner, as is Ken Kamada, a former finance executive at companies including Redapt, Zaarly, DoubleDutch, and Social Chorus.
Overload is raising $25 million from high net worth individuals, including golf course owners and other golf execs, for its first fund. It will put much of its focus on developing software that powers aboutGolf, which has 3,000 simulators installed inside homes and businesses around the world.
Overload also made a recent investment in Cycleboard, which makes an electric stand-up vehicle meant to replace golf carts. The group plans to back a few other companies and is developing beta applications with the PGA to make golf accessible to more players, Campbell said.
“Our goal is to grow golf and lead it to a better place,” he added.
In that vein, the firm is following a similar strategy to Topgolf, which now has 47 driving-range-meets-bowling-alley entertainment locations around the world with many more set to open. Technology is a key part of the Topgolf experience, from balls with RFID chips to its Protracer cameras. Topgolf raised $275 million in funding two years ago.
Investors see opportunity in golf-related businesses away from the traditional course and many which are enabled by new technology. The National Golf Foundation reported 8.3 million people who played at off-course facilities including Topgolf and indoor simulators built by companies such as aboutGolf in 2017.
Campbell helped launch Nintex in 2004. The software company was acquired by a private equity firm earlier this year. Campbell also runs another investment firm, Harvey Partners, which has backed Seattle-area startups including Fitcode and ABC Creators.
Update, Oct. 8: Overload made another acquisition, this time swooping up Idaho-based Henry-Griffitts, a club fitting company founded in 1983. Fazio, general partner at Overload, will take over as the new CEO of Henry-Griffitts.