A new social app built for sports fans is to officially launch and open a base in London following a seed funding round which included Real Madrid and Croatia star Luka Modric.
Sportening has left its beta stage after raising £5.3 million.
The app – which already has 250,000 users after 10 months and is now attracting 2,000 new fans per day – will use the investment to continue its fast pace of growth in 2022 and into 2023, targeting six million fans on the platform by the middle of next year.
Sportening is the only sports ‘vertical’ social media app, connecting people with a specific shared interest, away from the noise and occasional vitriol found in mainstream social media channels.
The app is currently growing at 60% month-on-month, with a large portion of users coming from the UK, US and Italy.
Sportening was founded by Croatian entrepreneur Ivan Klaric, who is based in San Francisco, and previously launched a gaming tech company before selling the business to Superology – previously called Score Alarm – in 2017. He explained to our sister site TechBlast.co.uk why he headed to the US West Coast to build Croatia-headquartered Sportening (see interview below).
Sportening allows fans from around the world to meet and communicate with like-minded supporters in chat rooms, surf statistics and scores, rate players after matches, and view breaking news feeds on their favourite teams, with unique content not available anywhere else.
Existing investors in the app include Sacha Dragic, founder of gaming company Superbet Group; Ralph Ho, former COO of Sequoia Capital Global Equities; and Peter Thiel’s Clarium Capital.
Sportening is the first company Ballon d’Or winner Modric has ever invested in and he believes the app has “huge potential to bring fans together”.
“When I first heard about Sportening, it seemed obvious that something like this should exist – a social network for sports fans,” the midfielder said. “But when you look at the market, there’s no such thing.
“Taking football on its own, there are three billion fans around the world, so the potential is enormous.
“When I saw just how passionate the Sportening team are about building something unique for fans, I immediately wanted to support them. I wouldn’t be where I am today without fans and their recent absence from stadiums emphasized just how important they are to the game.
“I now want to give something back, by helping Sportening to build the biggest and best online fan community.”
American football and basketball
The app currently caters to football fans but plans to expand its offering to other sports, such as basketball and American football.
The app has a newly opened office in San Francisco, with a London office opening in the near future. The business is growing rapidly and currently has a team of over 50 people.
Klaric said: “We’re on a mission to build a social app exclusively for sports fans globally and today marks a huge step in this journey. We built Sportening to connect fans and offer them a unique, tailored social media experience, away from all the noise of the mainstream platforms.
“The fact that more than 250,000 people have already joined us is testament to just how much sports fans want an app like Sportening to meet like-minded people.
“When I first met Luka Modric, I asked about his debut for Real Madrid and playing with such incredible players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Xabi Alonso – how would he handle the pressure?
“He said he didn’t focus on pressure, and instead that since he believed in himself, the rest was all about hard work and patience. That mindset helped him win the Ballon d’Or, FIFA Best Player, UEFA Best Player, and World Cup Best Player in 2018 – the only person ever to win all those trophies in the same year.
“We’re using Luka’s mindset here at Sportening to help us grow and reach new heights as a team, so it’s an absolute honour to have Luka as a partner.”