Forget the stock market, it’s falling apart. Invest your money in OneSeason instead, a newly launched San Francisco-based startup that lets you invest real money in professional athletes. Alex Rodriguez is a steal at $7.00 per share ($17.6 million total value). I just bought one share of Kobe Bryant for $7.48 (he’s valued at $77.6 million).
The company was founded by CEO Mike Sroka and CTO DJ Burdick with $250,000 in seed funding from investor Phil Drayer.
The market demand for individual athlete stocks, called “synthetic ownership interests,” is determined solely by the market based on “onfield play, off-field behavior, fan opinion and future prospects” says Sroka. Stock is delineated with ticker symbols just like financial securites. So when I bought one share of Kobe Bryant, I really bought one share of KOBE.
This is all done with real money, although the site gives each new user $10 if they register with a credit card (no money has to be put into the account to get the $10, however). Money can be added via PayPal, Google Checkout and via credit card. Funds are redeemed via check.
Since there’s no underlying financial asset that you actually own, it’s unclear how efficient the market will ever really be. In fact, it seems to be ripe for big abuse. Get a few friends together and run up a stock and then cash out. And there’s no risk, at least for now, that the SEC will be coming after you.
But assuming the market is properly regulated, this could be a great site for sports nuts to risk some money outside of the normal betting world. As Kobe hits that dunk, look for his price to spike a little as users log in and BUY.
One Season makes money by taking 1% of each trade off the top, so it’s purely a volume game for them. The company also earns interest on money it holds.
Sroka isn’t being modest about the companies potential, either. He says once the site reaches 3 million users after a few years, revenue “could hit $50 million to $100 million.” He added, “The ultimate potential for the website is far greater than the $800 million fantasy sports industry.”
I’d imagine other companies might join the party if this takes off like he says. Professional leagues may even want to get in on the action.