Keroch
Brian Rothenberg

Mystery PE Fund Throws A Lifeline To Niche Social Network Sneakerplay

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A new private equity fund has picked up what was left of Sneakerplay, the social network for sneaker fanatics that we deadpooled late last year when its founders pretty much abandoned the service (but kept the website online, hoping for a buyer to step up).

The fund, dubbed Keroch, has acquired the assets and IP of Sneakerplay and plans to grow the niche community site to a more relevant property. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sneakerplay has always been a completely bootstrapped venture so we can safely assume the founders are happy with the sale, especially since they’ve basically moved on from the project some time ago.

What struck me is the fact that everyone seems to be doing their best to conceal the names of the people involved with the private equity fund. The website won’t teach you a thing about that, except for the tidbit that the team consists of four partners, who “possess 30+ years of combined experience in the technology/internet industry ranging from large companies such as Yahoo! to small start-ups.”. The only name we came up with so far is Brian Rothenberg, former product manager for Yahoo! Real Estate.

Either way, the acquisition of Sneakerplay is Keroch’s first move and they plan to turn the small community of sneakerheads into a relevant niche social network with more features and a clear path to monetization through sponsorships and on-site advertising on the roadmap.

As an aside, some people were upset when I deadpooled the company (and now of course I happily admit they were right) but it seems like the article at least got the Sneakerplay team the necessary attention to engage in bidding wars with potential acquirers. Co-founder Robleh Jama has promised a post on his personal blog with all of the juicy details from dealing with investment bankers, to press coverage, bidding wars and exploding term sheets, which should be an interesting read.

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