By James Black, Eric Liaw, and Tom Loverro
Today, IVP is proud to announce our investment in Sorare, the leader in global fantasy football powered by NFTs. We couldn’t be more thrilled to participate in Sorare’s Series B financing that values the company at $4.3 billion and support CEO Nicolas Julia and CTO Adrien Montfort on their journey to build one of the largest fantasy and collectible ecosystems in sports.
Here’s why we invested:
Football is Massive
Football (or soccer for Americans) is the largest sport on the planet with over 3 billion global fans. The most recent World Cup final had 10 times more viewers than the Super Bowl, and the FIFA video game series is one of the best-selling franchises of all time, selling more than 325 million copies to date.
As football’s popularity continues to rise, fans are looking for more opportunities to engage with the players and teams they love – Sorare is providing that experience. Sorare’s platform allows users to collect and trade licensed cards of their favorite players with guaranteed scarcity, construct a fantasy line-up, and win cryptocurrency and other prizes based on real-world performance. It’s clear that Sorare’s offering is resonating. The company grew quarterly sales by 51x between Q2 2020 and Q2 2021, and you can check out Sorare’s Discord server to participate in the thriving community the company has built.
Sorare Users Own Their Game
Sorare’s platform is powered by NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. NFTs may have only garnered attention from the general public starting in 2021, but Sorare has been offering football NFTs since 2019 and was one of the first movers and thought leaders in the space. Similarly, IVP has tracked NFT technology since our first crypto investment in Coinbase back in 2017. As a firm, we continue to be bullish on crypto and blockchain-related technologies, including our recently announced investment in TaxBit.
But why are NFTs necessary for the next generation of fantasy sports? In short, because NFTs let participants own their game. Sorare’s NFTs are purchased based on:
- Collectible Value: Based on their licensed IP and scarcity, Sorare’s NFTs are standalone collectibles
- Earnings Potential: Sorare’s NFTs have earnings potential in Sorare’s fantasy sports game, where users can win performance-based rewards in the form of cryptocurrency and additional NFTs
- Entertainment Value: In addition to Sorare’s fantasy game, the company’s NFTs can be used on other gaming platforms. Sorare is already working with some of the world’s largest game developers, including Ubisoft with their One Shot League
These mechanisms are what make an NFT economy function, and Sorare has created one of the largest, most sustainable NFT game economies to date.
Execution Obsessed Executives
Nicolas and Adrien have been working on blockchain technology since 2015, and have the perfect founder-market-fit to start an NFT gaming company. However, our team was even more excited by their execution as executives. In addition to the company’s technological leadership, Sorare has licensing agreements with over 180 professional soccer clubs around the world. An impressive feat in a sport that is notoriously fragmented with limited centralized power across clubs, leagues, and regulatory bodies. Sorare has agreements with many of football’s top clubs including Bayern Munich, Juventus, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid. And earlier this month, Sorare announced an exclusive, long-term partnership to license NFTs for all of La Liga’s clubs.
Given the team’s ability to execute, we strongly believe that Sorare is early in its journey to becoming one of the largest gaming companies on the planet. The company has doubled headcount over the last year and is hiring across multiple teams, so if you have a passion for football and the blossoming NFT industry, click here to see open roles.
James Black, Eric Liaw, and Tom Loverro are investors at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.