Leveraging the power and value of NFTs, Parisian fantasy football platform Sorare has raised a mammoth $680 million in a Series B funding round giving it a valuation of $4.3 billion. This healthy new dole will help the company to accelerate growth within the football vertical, but also expand its offering into other sports sectors. This expansion will be supported by a massive recruitment spree and aggressive marketing campaigns with partners, athletes, and media companies (I’m awaiting their call right now).
Founded in 2018 by Adrien Montfort and Nicolas Julia, Sorare came into its own over the course of 2020, with December of last year seeing $1.8 million worth of NFT value-based cards sold. Moving the goalpost forwards, 2021 has seen over $150 million worth of cards traded on the platform since the beginning of this year. Sorare’s Q2 year-over-year numbers from 2020-2021 read like an investor’s dream come true: active paying users grew by 34x and sales increasing 51x.
The timing couldn’t be better for the startup, as they lie at the crossroads of the NFT marketplace, sports cares, and fantasy sports. All in all, to my eyes, that reads money, money, and money.
Each Sorare ‘card’ is an NFT, meaning it is unique, scare, and its ownership can be publicly identified via the Ethereum blockchain. The startup counts over 600,000 registered users, and has license agreements in place with players from over 180 football clubs including Real Madrid, Liverpool, Juventus, and both the French and German Football Federations.
“Sorare’s game is born from our love for football and our expertise in tech. We saw the immense potential that blockchain and NFTs brought to unlock a new way for football clubs, footballers, and their fans to experience a deeper connection with each other,” commented CEO Nicolas Julia.
One of the largest European Series B rounds on record, Sorare’s $680 million arrives via lead SoftBank with the participation of Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, Dan Sundheim‘s D1 Capital, Eurazeo, IVP, and LionTree as well as existing investors including Benchmark, Accel, Headline, and a number of angel investors. Football players Gerard Piqué, Antoine Griezmann, Rio Ferdinand, and César Azpilicueta also participated in the round.
“It’s evident from Sorare’s amazing growth this year alone that football fans around the world have been eagerly waiting for the “game within the game” that Sorare provides. We’re pleased to be joining them on this journey and are really excited to see what the company will achieve in its next phase of growth,” concludes new Board of Directors member and CEO of SoftBank Group International and COO of SoftBank Group Marcelo Claure.