When Bryan Finnerty retired from a career as a professional soccer goaltender, after spending several seasons with the indoor league Detroit Rockers, he thought his business opportunities would be solely dedicated to the High Velocity Sports Center in Canton Township, which he opened in 2001.
Instead, he’s built an empire that has spawned a venture capital firm called Opportunity Seed Capital; a similarly named foundation, Opportunity Seed Foundation; and several companies that are either technology-related, sports-related, or both.
High Velocity Sports Center, which serves as a test center for future high-tech sports solutions, is a 270,000-square-foot facility featuring full-size soccer and football fields, golf simulators, four basketball courts, four volleyball courts, and a full-service bar and restaurant. It’s home to several sports leagues, has as many as 125 employees during its peak season (October-May), and generates close to $5 million in annual revenue.
“We’re happy to be going into our 20th year and hoping for 20 more, which would be great,” Finnerty says.
The empire-building began in 2006, when Finnerty and a partner invested in mobile phone insurer ProtectCELL. After finalizing a sale in 2015, he launched the Opportunity Seed Foundation to help needy students with pay-to-play fees. It also donates sports equipment to schools.
A year later, Finnerty’s wife, Denise, took over the foundation’s operation and Finnerty started Opportunity Seed Capital — the first acquisition was the 125,000-square-foot Summit Point office building in Novi.
Other companies in the OSC empire include Varsity News Network in Grand Rapids, Galway Bay Apparel in Novi, Desk Pass in Chicago, FundMyTeam in New Jersey, and V1 Sports, also based in Novi.
Breaking down the field, Varsity News Network collects and distributes high school sports information. It now manages more than 5,000 high school media outlets. Galway Bay, meanwhile, manufactures and sells outerwear for golf, Desk Pass fills vacant office spaces with temporary tenants, FundMyTeam is a GoFundMe-like business focused on sports teams, V1 Sports offers a video solution for golf teaching professionals, and V1 Baseball provides Right View Pro, a frame-by-frame video analysis platform featuring side-by-side hitting, fielding, and pitching videos.
Profits and proceeds from the companies in which OSC invests go to the foundation, and Finnerty encourages the other founders to do the same. “The goal isn’t to build a $20 million foundation,” he says. “The goal is to build 20 $1 million foundations. It’s a great reason to go to work every day.”