Fancred, the Boston-based mobile and online sports fan hub, announced today that is has received $3 million in funding from a group that includes new investor Breakaway Innovation Group as well as Atlas Ventures and Militello Capital, who participated in the company’s $1.5 million seed round.
Fancred, which is a place for sports fans to go to both share and discover news involving their favorite teams and players, has been on a roll lately, receiving a huge bump from this summer’s World Cup, according to founder and chief executive Kash Razzaghi. The app has already gained popularity among soccer fans through its partnership with English Premier League side Liverpool Football Club last year, which led to wider adoption by fans of many other European soccer clubs.
Razzaghi believes that Fancred has the opportunity to become the next platform for sports fans to communicate, a kind of sports-talk radio for the next generation. “Sports talk and trash talk happens on Fancred. During live games and events, the activity is at its highest peak.”
But what he really believes sets Fancred apart is people documenting their lives as a fan and serving as a “digital shoebox,” referring to where the place where he, as a fan, used to keep pictures, news clippings, or ticket stubs. “If Fancred users are at a game and take pictures, if they are at a bar watching a game, they update Fancred. If they find news, they add it.
They are really capturing their life as a fan of a team,” he said. “The community is a result of the digital shoebox that we are creating.”
The company’s biggest source of users continues to be college sports fans, particularly SEC football fans. The company has its roots in the SEC as Razzaghi was a student-athlete at Mississippi State. He moved to Boston to start the company, but leveraged his SEC connections to get traction for the app early on.
Razzaghi said that Fancred is going to be “doubling down” on connecting with more college fans. The company has grown its college coverage from 30 schools last spring to 64 schools this fall.
Additionally, Razzaghi said that the addition of Breakaway to the investment group will be helpful because, “They are really honed in on consumer, really honed in on branding, and, sport is a huge part of their early interest.”
Razzaghi also added that all the investors are East Coast-based, something he is proud of being able to do as a small company. “I never went out to San Francisco,” he said. “I never went out there to raise capital. I wanted to keep it Boston and East Coast-based.”
The company plans to use the new funding to continue to improve its product, grow the Fancred team, and make more strategic partnerships. “This $3 million is meant for brand awareness, broad awareness, and maybe more partnerships with teams … to elevate the brand awareness of Fancred from where it is now,” Razzaghi said.
Fancred was part of Techstars Boston in 2013 and has 11 employees, although it expects to increase to 15 by the end of the year. Fancred is available only on iOS and the web currently, but should be available to Android users soon.
As for what’s next, word is that there will be more big Fancred announcements related to new partnerships with sports teams in the next couple of months.
Disclosure: One of Fancred’s early investors was Linda Pizzuti Henry, the wife of Boston Globe and BetaBoston owner John W. Henry. Henry also owns Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox.