Millions.co, a social commerce platform geared toward professional and semi-professional athletes looking to help them monetize their fanbase by selling merchant and/or on-demand videos, has grabbed $10 million in funding led by Boston-based Volition Capital Huh.
This round is being pegged as Series A loosely because of the experienced team behind the first wave of millions of self-funded developments to launch the platform.
The founding team includes CEO Matt Whitaker, owner of Boxing Gym, who co-founded supply chain data management Unicorn Ascent Compliance and NoNotes.com; CMO Brandon Austin, co-founder of Go-Fish Cam; and, in advisory roles, Adrian Salamunovic, co-founder of DNA11 and CanvasPop; Scott Whitaker (Fight for the Cure) and Bruce Buffer (a veteran sports announcer).
Millions’ launched its fan engagement social commerce platform in April – with an initial three products for pro/semi-pro athletes to pitch to their followers: namely custom merchandise (including a free design service); Ask Me Anything Personalized Videos; and a pay-per-view streaming offering that lets fans pay to tune into their favorite player’s live stream.
The initial plan of the startup was just one E. was to buildcommerce and trading platform But, after building out that component, Salamunovic says the team decided to bundle in video products — such as personal videos and “democratizing” pay-per-view (PPV).
“Our biggest advantage and difference is that we are focused strictly on the engagement of the game world and fans,” he tells . “Obvious indirect competitors are Twitch (focused heavily on e-sports/gaming), Patreon (focused on manufacturers), Rep. But we’re focusing on the multi-billion dollar sports market.”
“Our video from Cameo is a very similar product to our ‘Ask Me Anything’ platform – but we don’t focus on birthday shoutouts, we encourage fans to ask their favorite athletes questions about their training, their success, predictions We focus on allowing for cameos. Saw a lot of gamblers use our platform to get tips) and less on things like shoutouts,” he continued. “We love cameos, but we’re really different And focus on the game.”
“Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook are all great social media platforms that allow athletes to engage and interact with their fans, but it’s not a great place to monetize your audience,” Salamunovic also argues. Huh. “We help athletes build a brand, build a merch line, sell video content (personalized videos and viewing parties all on the same platform). We are not trying to replace any of these platforms, we their complement By allowing athletes to provide single links and landing pages for deeper interaction and monetization. Fans are also liking it a lot.”
At this stage, only about 300 athlete profiles remain in Millions, but says it has “thousands” who have registered interest in various sports categories.
Its first focus – for partnerships with agencies and sports leagues – has been “on”Combat sports and gym “. But the platform has a long list of sport types in the search filters – from lacrosse to water polo to baseball or gymnastics – so the ambition is to go after a much wider funnel of pro/semi players.
And for every Michael Jordan or Cristiano Ronaldo — aka, those top tier athletes who can command hundreds of millions in sponsorship fees by partnering with top brands to promote their products and whom you would certainly sell hats on to the millions. Won’t Happen – Scores are the number of athletes who haven’t been able to cut such sweet deals and who will have more modest fans.
It’s the wide array of players and artists that millions will expect to take to its platform – and embrace its dedicated proposition of social commerce tools and technology to engage with and monetize your followers.
Commenting on the funding in a statement, Volition Capital Managing Partner Sean Cantwell suggested: “Athletes are always on the lookout for ways to connect with fans on a deeper level, generate additional revenue streams and build their personal brands and all this on a single platform offers millions. We think millions of fans are the future of engagement.”
To help grow the funnel of players it needs to drive an eye to its platform, it is offering millions of athletes “signature bonuses” when they join and start selling – different levels of bonuses ($ 5k) per player.
“We initially wanted to be hyper-focused on combat sports and not try to ‘boil the seas’. We are now releasing new athlete profiles daily and introducing new sports like football, volleyball, golf and more,” Salamunovic says. “Indeed, this platform is designed for any athlete For those who want to reach their fans and create new monetization channels without putting a ton of effort into things like page design, technology, design or logistics… we take care of all that so they can focus on engaging with their fans. and most importantly their sport and training. ”
“We want to be the most important sports tech company in history,” he says. “We are going to be the Etsy (21B market cap) of the sport. It is an ambitious statement but it is true. 98% of athletes need our product/platform.”
Chasing that scale is now raising millions. And while the initial focus has been on North America — where about 90% of onboard players are currently — it recognizes that Europe and Asia have “huge growth potential,” so there’s a lot of gunfire to build a global business.
It says it will liquidate Series A cash if it grows Product engineering teams and generally recruiting to expand their team, as well as spending on marketing to get the word out to athletes and signing up more to build their own brands and sell directly to fans.
“I believe that a powerful thing we are doing is enabling athletes to build a team, after just offering a product,” says Austin. “With millions, athletes get a marketing team, a personal account manager, and a design team that they can use to build their brand and product line and promote and grow their fan base. We allow the athlete to focus on training, playing/fighting and winning, while we help take care of everything else, and train them on how to brand and market themselves.”
Millions’ business model is to cut 20% of all sales athletes make through the platform – the segmentation remains the same for merchandise or video sales.
For the first, millions are using a global network of print-on-demand suppliers to deliver.
While products the platform can customize to sell as its own brand merch for athletes includes T-shirts, caps and hoodies.