Onefootball founder and CEO Lucas von Cranach, whose popular football app now has 25 million fans in 200 countries around the world, confirmed on stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2017 that his company has raised more funding — including both an unreported Series B and C round. This would bring the startup’s total raise to date to over the $20 million publicly reported.
The founder declined to share the new numbers on stage, but he did note that Adidas was one of the new investors. Von Cranach also noted that he’s very deliberate about raising money. “Raising capital is a necessity to match the goal which you are putting yourself forward,” he said. “We’ve raised some capital, but I always looked at the dilution, valuation and money in the bank triangle.”
For a strategic investor like Adidas, access to Onefootball’s mobile fan base can be more powerful than any mobile initiative they could build on their own. Numerous studies have shown that today’s consumers only use a handful of apps on a regular basis, so the likelihood of them hearing from a favorite brand like Adidas through a dedicated Adidas-branded application is slim to none.
That’s where Onefootball, which von Cranach described as a “Facebook for football without the social element,” aims to come in. Instead of developing a distributed strategy with large followers across social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, von Cranach says Onefootball’s users are directed to return to the app itself. Here, where some 90 percent have opted in to receive push notifications, brands could have a direct channel to their fans.
“We don’t have big followerships on Twitter or Facebook and all of these platforms,” he said. “But we have consumers on the app and website who are constantly coming back.”
The founder counts himself as one of the heaviest users of the app, in fact, spending at least an hour a day in a product he basically built for himself to address his own passions.
But while the company is continuing to grow, with some of its users returning to the app 40 to 50 times per month, there are some areas Onefootball isn’t planning to address, von Cranach noted.
“We won’t build a betting business, we won’t build a merchandise business, and we won’t build a ticketing business, ” he said. Instead, he explained, the company is “building an experience at the top of the funnel” where it can increase the conversions… perhaps for brands like new investor Adidas, for example.