And so it comes to an end, my final post to the blog. It has been a pleasure selecting articles this summer. My last entry comes to us from Freddy Lopez at sporttechie.com and all that can be possibly be said about this is … could you expect anything different from a social network site born in Boston? From the city that birthed Facebook, I was not surprised that Fancred is taking the sports social world by storm. the Techstars accelerator is one of the most looked upon incubator setups in the country and showing that some of the greatest geeks aren’t just in the Silicon Valley. Enjoy and go build your Fancred!
Fancred Raises $3 Million in Funding for Further Growth
August 21, 2014 By
From the start, Fancred entered the sports social networking sphere with a lot to prove.
Any startup vying to be an upstart amidst the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would be in for a rude awakening. The uphill battle to compete and break through the major players in this space could easily diminish its claimed value proposition. The level of concentration to build the requisite traction within a specific niche is daunting of a task, in it by itself.
Today, though, Fancred announces their completion of a $3 million financing round, which comes from pre-enlisted shareholders, Atlas Ventures and Militello Capital, and a new one in Breakaway Innovation Group.
As a product out of Boston’s Techstars accelerator, Fancred has gradually risen through the ranks and its own personal development since its launch less than two years ago. Be it as a form of Klout or web-based platform, there’s been a constant evolution through its iterations. The path towards their mission to be the globe’s largest home of sports fans, though, has derived largely from the premise of providing them a medium to house and share their respective moments.
Hossein Kash Razzaghi, Fancred’s Chief Executive Officer, describes to SportTechie the company’s journey as “awe-inspiring”, with transforming the product and the community involved. Of particular importance, he points to their steadfast belief that the most passionate communities, indeed, constitute from the litany of sports franchises as his proudest, foundational characteristic. These teams’ fan bases serve as the pulse to foster worthwhile engagement opportunities.
“We needed to test our hypothesis and put the product in people’s hands,” says Razzaghi.
Accordingly, the initial investment raised was allocated primarily towards building out the app and introducing it to the market. They focused on constructing these communities based on the domestic regions that they’re familiar with, specifically the south and the northeast. Razzaghi claims that the platform’s overall usage has grown month-to-month from its inception. Fanced believes–through its own experience, to boot–it’s quite clear mobile devices preside as a prime destination where fans establish sports-focused hubs for interaction. These original territories have matured “exponentially not only in size, but other communities around the country began to form on their own.”
The confluence of deep product focus, skills, team, and culture all came together to comprise the interest garnered from Fancred’s latest investor, Breakaway Innovation Group, dating back to their Techstars’ days mentorship.
“At Breakaway, we help build consumer brands fueled by passion, with exceptional products, rabid user communities, and awesome founders. Fancred checks all these boxes for us,” David Kneis, Breakaway Innovation Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, tells SportTechie.
Kneis made sure to firmly emphasize the “a lot” time being spent by Fancred’s users coupled with its activity levels and rapid scalability as reasons why they are attracted to them as well. He projects that “even more amazing things” bound to happen from this team going forward.
In spite of another successful fiscal round, Razzaghi acknowledges that the biggest challenge for Fancred–as could be said to virtually any other startup, regardless of industry–delves into providing a “differentiated product, value proposition, and messaging to your audience.” These factors don’t escape from what transpires on a daily basis. He asserts that “90 percent” of his time is devoted digesting these areas and trying improve each one, both individually and as a team.
This past Father’s Day, for example, proved to be a key juncture for the company, when a plethora of users decided to post photos of their dads and favorite times of going to games throughout childhood. The high degree of emotional and personal user-generated content as a virtually never-ending stream within the app was a poignant moment for Razzaghi to reflect and realize it’s more than just sports. Thus, adjusting or somewhat pivoting the product’s development direction have to be considered, from then on.
“The reality is that when you first launch product, you have no clue how people will accept it or interact with it. People use the product in ways we never would have imagined,” says Razzaghi.
Conversely, these new funds will be targeted for further product expansion and growth. Fancred will soon be available on other platforms besides iOS and online. On the team-side, they will look to add more marketing, business development, and product personnel. Their users can expect additional partnerships with teams and leagues down the line, beyond the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, and Mississippi State University already on it.
While sports has, of course, created a strong vertical for itself among any other kind of media enterprise, competition can come from any direction, not just the current incumbents that control the landscape. Sportlobster, a European-based startup, has registered nearly two million users on a comparable medium and plans to expand to the United States shortly. Such a dynamic lurks just over the horizon, across the pond, but Fancred, rest assured, can count on its communal effect and monetary influx to prove their credentials is worth being any fan’s digital keepsake.