FishBrain, a made-in-Sweden mobile app and social network for anglers founded back in 2010, has closed a $2.4 million pre-Series A round of funding, led by Northzone and Active Venture Partners.
Also biting in this round are GP Bullhound and Edastra Venture Capital, as well as existing investors Mathias Ackermand, Rikard Steiber and ALMI.
Prior to today’s round, FishBrain had raised some $1.5 million, reeling in investors, including Industrifonden; Umando; Henrik Torstensson, CEO of Lifesum; and Mattias Miksche, founder and CEO of Stardoll.
FishBrain uses crowdsourced data from its angling community — cross-referenced with geological and meteorological data, such as wind speed and direction and air humidity and temperature — to help other users figure out things like the best spots to fish or the best bait to use to catch a particular type of fish.
The service also lets anglers log their fishing trips and catches and share them with the rest of the community — including uploading photos to show exactly how big their catch really was.
CEO Johan Attby said FishBrain has some 430,000 registered users, a little under half of whom are active. There have been some 130,000 logged catches within the app so far.
While FishBrain’s apps (Android and iOS) are free to download, it recently launched a premium product to test the waters of monetisation.
Upgrading to a premium account provides a more granular performance analysis for users, with FishBrain taking a big data-crunching approach to offer specific predictions on which bait might be most effective in catching a particular type of fish in a specific lake. So much for a level playing field.
FishBrain claims to be the largest fishing platform of its type in the U.S. — a country which it notes has some 40 million active anglers (who collectively spend more than $48 billion annually on the sport) — but evidently it’s aiming to swell its catch of the community considerably.
Attby said the new funding would be used to accelerate product development and grow its user-base by increasing its marketing, with the U.S. pegged as its marketing focus for this year.
New FishBrain features in the works include more premium features, intelligent recommendations and gamification elements — such as leaderboards and challenges, he said. It’s also planning to work on business development by looking for other companies to build partnerships with.
For instance Attby said that while it doesn’t have plans to develop any connected fishing hardware itself, to further offer fishers a way to quantify their performance, it would look to explore partnering with companies that do.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Tim He, Investment Manager at Northzone, said: “There’s a great opportunity in niche social networks. Fishing is the world’s largest hobby and digitally underserved. FishBrain is the best and fastest growing app and social network for anglers. With its world class team, I am confident FishBrain will become the go-to app for fishing.”