beRecruited, the “LinkedIn for high school athletes” looking to be recruited by college teams, was secretly acquired by private equity firm The Raine Group, sources tell me and beRecruited now verifies. Sources with knowledge of the deal confirm Raine paid between $17 million and $22 million for beRecruited because of its growth momentum and lucrative premium features.
I got a tip a few days ago about the acquisition and price, and found another source to confirm. When pressed, beRecruited CEO Vishwas Prabhakara told us “I can confirm that the Raine Group owns beRecruited.”
When asked why the deal was kept secret, he said “We were growing in a broad market and there was no benefit to announcing the deal. This is the beginning, not the end of the journey.” Tactically, the goal of keeping the deal a secret may have been to prevent other entrepreneurs from realizing and investing in the sports recruitment space. Well, the cat’s out of the bag now.
Specifically, beRecruited lets athletes create profiles highlighting their verified academic and athletic scores, research universities they might want to attend, and connect with college recruiters. beRecruited monetizes with premium features for students, such as the ability to see which recruiters are viewing their profiles, appear on coaches’ home pages, and contact them with a letter of interest.
beRecruited has over 2 million registered student athletes hailing from over 20,000 high schools in the United States. It also saw 25,000 college recruiters log in over the last year, which is more than half of the estimated 40,000 to 45,000 college recruiters in the country.
The company was founded in 2000 by high schooler Ryan Spoon who took a $1.2 million seed round from Madison Parker Capital in 2007 in exchange for what we understand to be a majority stake. In June 2011, beRecruited acquired Y Combinator Summer 2010 startup Fanvibe and made its founder, Prabhakara, the CEO.
Most recently, beRecruited released an iOS app, got a redesign, and became the official recruiting party for IMG Academy, a sports training school for high school students that graduated Maria Sharapova and Eli Manning.
When it was bought by Raine Group it had six employees, making the $17 million to $22 million price tag that sources confirm a big win for its team and investors. Now beRecruited has 14 employees and continues to hire.
beRecruited says Raine Group decided to buy it based on its fundamentals, including revenue growth, profitability, team and the market. With such a large user base in a network effect-based business, beRecruited could be tough to disrupt and have plenty of runway.
Looking at more macro trends, you could say that technology is allowing people to more closely follow sports, so sports will keep making more money, and playing sports will become more lucrative. That means scholarships and recruitment will be more competitive for high school students, and they’ll be more willing to pay sites like beRecruited to get an advantage.