Fantasy sports is one thing sports lovers have come to really enjoy. The thrill of having the skill required to set the right lineup and maximize points is what fans are really invested in. Combine that with the use of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and you have a platform that enables users to buy, trade, sell and manage a virtual soccer team using digital player cards.
Step forward, Sorare, which has become one of the most fascinating companies in sports now. Utilizing blockchain technology, this company was founded by Nicolas Julia and Adrien Montfort, which has led this company to a £4.3bn valuation in just over three years of existence.
When users sign up to Sorare, they are given a set of digital trading ads, which represent teams and players they have IP deals. The user then enters those cards into a fantasy-style competition. The best managers of each competition receive more trading cards and Ethereum.
This article highlights how Sorare became such a valuable company by combining fantasy football with NFTs.
Product-market fit attracted a lot of investors
For a startup, finding product-market fit can be such a herculean task. According to ProductPlan, product-market fit “describes a scenario in which a company’s target customers are buying, using, and telling others about the company’s product in numbers large enough to sustain that product’s growth and profitability.”
Sorare is a France-based startup and has found product-market fit throughout Europe, with an explosion in popularity and value, as it has over 1.5 million registered years. With just 20 employees, it hit more than $300m last year and is expected to cross $1b this year. This of course has attracted a lot of the world’s best investors.
Across four venture capital financing rounds (pre-seed, seed, Series A, and Series B), they have raised over $700m. Softbank led the Series B raise of $680m last year. It has an impressive list of angel investors like Alexis Ohanian and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Why has Sorare been successful?
Digital collectibles and traditional fantasy sports are multi-billion-dollar industries in their own right, and figuring out a way to combine these industries has been a stroke of genius. There are some reasons why they have been so successful in such a short space of time, and some are listed below:
- Both industries are strong individually
Fantasy play is a very innovative product that gives players control over their favourite teams and players, and also attracts a lot of attention. Digital collectibles have a robust primary & secondary market and are unique as well.
- Their purchase of premium IP was a stroke of genius
Sorare went ahead to sign 250 of the world’s best players & clubs to digital IP deals. This helped a lot of users to have access to some of their favourite teams and players in their fantasy teams. The contracts they gave to these teams and players also include clauses for them to promote Sorare.
- You don’t have to understand crypto to play
This is a very huge draw because many people are very confused about onboarding to platforms using crypto. Sorare partnered with a company that allows users to use their credit cards for payment, which in turn is converted to crypto. This has eliminated a potential loss of customers who would have left the platform because of the crypto onboarding.
Not everything has been plain sailing, though
The company has come under a lot of scrutiny in the last few years despite its tremendous growth. Many users have raised allegations that Sorare allows big accounts to pool resources together, which increases their chances of winning.
Others believe the platform should be regulated appropriately because it is an investment product.