Tag Archives: investment

Raising Money In A Pandemic: QL Gaming Gets Some Bets

credit: Keith Allison

Not all ventures around sports are sitting still during the Pandemic. While we have seen the dropping numbers and issues with the big gambling businesses, we have seen Draft Kings launch their IPO, and today, New York based QL Gaming Group (QLGG), announced a $1.1 million raise and the acquisition of Finnish sports simulation company, Accuscore. The announcement gives the platform a solid $8.3 million from investors now, and shows that the ruse is probably being shaken off the mobile gaming business as sports slowly return to the pitch, the field and the court.

According to the news, the round was led by Tim and Todd McSweeney, with participation by Boston Seed Capital, Karlani Capital, Subversive Capital, Rob Seaver and Jere Doyle. Other investors have also included the late David Stern, former commissioner of the NBA, John Kosner, Stern’s former partner at Micromanagement Ventures and former William Hill chief Ralph Topping.

“Our thesis is betting properties with the best data and analytics will win, and our acquisition of Accuscore vastly increases our IP, grows our marketplace position and puts us in a very strong place as the sports world returns to active play in the near future,” said Justin Park, QL Gaming CEO in the release. “Our new and long term investors are very bullish on the casual gaming and sports betting market, and we are now poised to emerge stronger.”

The injection of capital will be used to further accelerate BetQL’s growth, which boasted a 200% increase in subscription sales from 2018 to 2019. In just 18 months of launch, BetQL has acquired over 300,000 free users, 10,000 paying customers and is already a seven figure business. Funds will also supercharge BetQL’s burgeoning affiliate marketing business which has partnered with ten operators in Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. QL Gaming initially launched in September 2015 as RotoQL to provide data and analytics to daily fantasy sports (DFS).

The news is good for both investors and companies that had started to build momentum in the gambling space before things came to a grinding halt around March 12. Many industry experts remain bullish on the gambling space, especially with companies who are not debt laden and can easily pivot to a new environment when sports come back to life in the coming weeks. There will also be a solid analysis of best practices, including a great mobile experience, and the QL Gaming plan is tied to all of those objectives.

“For companies looking to enter the sports betting space, there will be some very interesting opportunities in sectors that support the ecosystem, such as specialized sports content, analytics, and software,” added Chris Russo, CEO, Fifth Generation Sports an advisory firm focused on the intersection of sports, technology, and digital media.

Interesting yes, cost effective, disruptive and forward thinking as well.

Keep bringing on the investments.

Grassroots Soccer Firm ‘For Soccer Ventures’ Forms To Grow Sport In U.S.

Today, Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union investor Richie Graham has announced the formation and launch of For Soccer Ventures – an investment firm focused on the growth and long-term development of American soccer. Graham has been one of the most active supporters of the American soccer community over the past decade, committing over $50 million dollars to the sport, with an emphasis on domestic player development through his investment in Philadelphia Union’s youth academy, his tournament and league property holdings, and his philanthropic support of the industry-first soccer high school, the non-profit YSC Academy.

The new group will source, acquire and manage a portfolio of investments and businesses and will be comprised of two key platforms: The Soccer Collective is a new media house leading a collaborative movement to celebrate American soccer culture and fan experiences through storytelling, activations and brand content development. The Soccer Alliance will expand Graham’s existing network of soccer properties with a focus on youth clubs, leagues and tournaments with the objective of improving the on-field experience for players and the American soccer family.

“With the FIFA World Cup and Olympics coming to the U.S. in 2026 and 2028, there has never been a better time to double down on our commitment to advance American soccer forward.” Graham stated, “Now is the time to invest with the future of American soccer in mind, and I am very excited to bring together a passionate executive team with deep roots and experiences within the American soccer ecosystem to lead this charge. The Soccer Alliance and The Soccer Collective represent our relentless commitment to both fuel and showcase the exciting growth of soccer in America.”

To lead the new company, Graham has hired an experienced team of soccer executives, including:

Ryan Mooney (Managing Director, For Soccer Ventures): former Chief Soccer Officer at U.S. Soccer

John Parker (Managing Director, For Soccer Ventures): former Director of Strategy for Striker Partners’ soccer investments

Dr. Nooha Ahmed-Lee (Director of Education, For Soccer Ventures): Head of School, YSC Academy

Aaron Maines (GM, The Soccer Alliance): former Head of Sports Marketing at adidas soccer and Wasserman executive

Marc Horine (Chief Business Officer, The Soccer Collective): former ESPN executive and COPA90 US General Manager

Heath Pearce (Chief Brand Officer, The Soccer Collective): former U.S. Men’s National Team player and Lead Creative and Host at COPA90 US

Burke Cherrie (Chief Content/Strategy Officer, The Soccer Collective): award-winning filmmaker and former Editorial Director at COPA90 US

“With the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Olympics as our guiding stars, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to win the hearts and minds of players, parents and fans across the country,” said Ryan Mooney, Managing Director of For Soccer Ventures “Our goal is simple, to invest in the game and unify the fragmented American soccer experience both on and off the field of play.”

John Parker added, “We’ve partnered with the sectors’ best operators, who not only have professional expertise in the space, but bring authenticity and a personal passion for the sport to this new venture. We’re from soccer, for soccer, and we’re investing in American soccer to ensure the growth of the game we love.”

Chattanooga Football Club Surpasses $500,000 Mark In First 30 Days of Public Offering

Chattanooga Football Club, a growing, disruptive and innovative established club in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) today announced that they have exceeded the $500,000 dollar mark in the sale of limited public stock in the club in the first 30 days of the offering. They are the first American sports team to do so since the securities reform laws passed in late 2016 allowed such investments. Proceeds from the limited offering of 8,000 shares will support the club’s move from amateur to professional players and year-round operation.

“We remain impressed and overwhelmed with the breadth and scope of this project means not just for Chattanooga FC, but for community sports clubs in America in general,” said said Tim Kelly, club chairman. “We have not done this frivolously or in a vacuum; this is an investment in a soccer club with solid business and community ties and a vision for success on and off the pitch, and we know that is key in trying and succeeding to this point. The ROI on this investment, big or small, is in the people and the community. We are nowhere done, but we are proving the concept works, and that’s very exciting.”

While a majority of the investment is local (within the Chattanooga metro area), a significant amount (44% of the people, 37% of the dollars) are from beyond that area. That includes investment from over 44 states and 10 countries, as far away as Japan, Australia and Africa.  Some of the bolder face names to come public with investing are former MLS star and current NBC Sports Premier League commentator Kyle Martino and Stephan Szymanski, author of Soccernomics and Money in Soccer, and a highly respected professor at the University of Michigan.

Founded in 2009, Chattanooga Football Club has drawn nearly 350,000 fans to its games at Finley Stadium over the course of the last ten seasons. In 2019, the club will play an extended season with professional players in the NPSL Founders Cup, and fully launch the league in 2020.

With the passage of the Jobs Acts in late 2016, Section CF crowdfunding allows non-accredited investors to make investments in corporations from a simple, online platform. Chattanooga Football Club is the first sports team to offer shares, and one of only a handful of teams to ever offer public ownership. While the practice is common in the rest of the world- even mandatory in the German Bundesliga- it is rare in the US. Cutting Edge Capital, a strategic capital consulting company has advised on the process.

Fans and interested investors can go to wefunder.com/chattanoogafc for full details on the stock offering.