This is called an express trajectory. Barely six months after announcing a series A of 40 million euros, Sorare, French champion of “fantasy football” and the NFT, announces a spectacular operation with a round of funding in series B of 680 million dollars. This is quite simply the biggest fundraiser in the history of French Tech, exceeding half a billion dollars raised by Contentsquare last May. It is also a record for Series B financing in Europe.
To lead this colossal operation, Sorare was able to count on SoftBank, the Japanese firm of Masayoshi Son used to investing in Tech, but also Atomico, the London fund launched by Niklas Zennström, co-founder of Skype, Blisce, the fund of French entrepreneur and philanthropist Alexandre Mars, Bessemer Ventures, D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP and Liontree, who are taking a stake in the company’s capital on the occasion of this funding round. Historical investors, namely Benchmark, Accel and Partech, have also agreed to return to the pot, along with business angels, the image of Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, and football players Gerard Piqué, Rio Ferdinand, Antoine Griezmann and César Azpilicueta. At its inception, the French start-up was also supported by Ubisoft, Xavier Niel (Kima Ventures) and André Schürrle, World Cup winner with Germany in 2014.
With this XXL funding round, Sorare sees its valuation reach 4.3 billion dollars, which makes it the best valued unicorn in French Tech. For comparison, Contentsquare is valued at $ 2.8 billion as a result of its Spring Series E. For Sorare, who is at the crossroads of three markets, namely NFTs, collectible cards and “fantasy sport”, this vertiginous operation comes to devote a growth which is just as much, with more than 150 million dollars. traded on the platform since January and quarterly sales multiplied by 51 between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021.
Listen to our conversation with Thibaut Predhomme, Head of Operations and Chief of Staff of Sorare, on the occasion of the unicorn series B:
The NFT and “fantasy sport”, new levers for club engagement
It must be said that the tricolor unicorn has largely benefited from the coronavirus crisis. With the end of competitions around the world and then a resumption with in front of empty stands, football fans have sought alternatives to continue to live their passion, failing to be able to get to the stadium. And in this very particular context, “fantasy football” games have been widely acclaimed. In addition, the madness of NFT has only amplified the phenomenon. These digital cards are in fact an additional lever to build loyalty and above all engage its community of supporters.
And that, clubs, like Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, and federations, like the FFF, understood it well. The latter have every interest in taking this turn to reach a new category of supporters who consume football differently, insofar as the clubs receive part of the stakes paid by users to obtain cards. This therefore helps generate additional revenue and increased exposure to a global audience.
After football, other sports?
Founded in October 2018 by Adrien Montfort and Nicolas Julia, the French company Sorare is developing a platform allowing its users to buy and sell the digital cards of their favorite football players. From his cards, the two partners created a blockchain-based “fantasy football” game. On it, users must go through an auction system to obtain digital cards from players (Messi, Neymar, Mbappé, Lewandowski …), but each card obtained is unique because it is associated with a non-fungible token created on the Ethereum network which cannot be copied. A player’s card is thus available in several copies (unique, super-rare and rare), but each time with specific characteristics that cannot be found on another card. With their digital cards, players can compete against each other in a world championship, but the company is looking to develop national and continental championships.
Launched in March 2019, the game boasts 600,000 subscribers, including more than 150,000 monthly active users. Since its launch, more than 180 clubs have joined the platform. The company is now seeking to integrate the top 20 football leagues globally and the 50 largest national federations. It also intends to use the new round table to open an office in the United States and recruit more than a hundred additional employees over the coming months.
At the same time, the French unicorn plans to expand into new sports to strengthen its position on the NFT-based “fantasy sports” market. In this context, the American basketball and baseball leagues could lend themselves to this approach. “We are delighted with the success we have had so far, but this is only the beginning. Our ambition is simple: to create the next world champion of sports entertainment from France», Says Nicolas Julia, CEO and co-founder of Sorare. To achieve this, the company may well continue to break records during its rounds. And we are only at series B …
Fundraising news is presented to you in partnership with Junto
Sorare: the key data
Founders: Adrien Montfort and Nicolas Julia
The head office : Paris
Activity: blockchain-based ‘fantasy football’ game
Funding: $ 680 million in September 2021, € 40 million in February 2021, € 3 million in December 2020, € 3.5 million in July 2020 …