raffaella cardarelli
13 January 2022

2021. A year in review.

raffaella cardarelli
13 January 2022


It is important for all organisations to periodically reflect on actual progress against their mission. That normally happens as the calendar year advances.

2021 has been a very good year for Albachiara, which positions the Company very well for 2022.

The early investment and advisory activities
in sports-tech have been very positive.

  • We have seen Zone7, the AI injury prevention company, complete a very successful series A funding round. This has allowed to expand aggressively into European soccer, rugby and American football. Other major sports like NBA are also starting to notice the possibilities of the technology. Its tech has also been deployed in the hospital and military sectors, helping elite performers in very difficult times. The company has attracted major human resources on both the bizdev and data science sides.
  • Antourage Media has evolved into a consolidated player in the Web3 economy. It has been working with marquis rights holders, the emerging US betting market, and communities of creators. Its results with delivering hyper engagement to its clients positions it well for the expected disruption in sports and betting content in 2022. Albachiara holds the Chair position in Antourage.
  • Aura has made a stunning entry in 2021 into the sports industry, with its new generation streaming platform, based uniquely on gaming engine thinking. It was recognised as Best Emerging Tech. It already has an impressive list of client wins amongst rights holders, broadcasters and telcos. This is generating strong revenues and many of its clients have also invested. 2022 promises to be a truly breakout year for this Australian company, redefining how sport will be consumed.
  • Horizm is a particularly pleasing new entry into the Albachiara portfolio. It is one of the highest-profile and most-watched sportech innovators around. It counts on a majority of major European soccer clubs as clients already. As such, it was the first potential investee company proposed to the Albachiara Investment Club, which started this year. The outcome being that Albachiara has been the catalyst in leading the Series A fundraising of Horizm and will represent the consortium on the Board.
  • Special mention goes to the creation of the funding arm of Albachiara, in collaboration with Growthdeck, one of the leading angel syndicates in the UK. Born out of the Investor Club concept, the partnership with Growthdeck has been a major success in 2021. It positions Albachiara as a potential major player in filling the funding gap in Europe for sportstech. Special thanks to Ian Zant Boer.

The consultancy division of Albachiara
has also had a very good year.

  • Advising the PE fund Orkila Capital in its investment into FCBrugge.
  • Advising the founders of food and lifestyle brand Spuma on the creation of the business model, marketing and go-to-market strategies.
  • Concluding for AI sports production company Pixellot major deals with sports data giants IMG Arena and Genius.
  • Delivering for our Italian HNW clients their projects in agriculture and winemaking.

The executive education division obviously had a
challenging year through the pandemic.

This notwithstanding, Albachiara delivered remotely its sports MBA courses for the SBS-Cà Foscari University with very satisfactory results. We also successfully ran change management Masterclasses for the Sole24Ore Business School and for the Altis Cattolica University in Milan. These will continue in 2022 and should continue their upward trajectory. Our innovative and challenging management course called Tomorrow’s leadership: the Polymath, in partnership with the first Italian sport-tech incubator Wylab, will hopefully be delivered also in 2022 for various organisations, both remotely and in person. Its objective is the development of those human skills needed by businesses to keep growing at these troublesome times.

Albachiara’s content marketing efforts
have had excellent results in 2021.

  • Our Are You Not Entertained? sports business podcast has grown in both following and profile. With the most amazing high-profile guests, it has managed to attract evermore eager sponsors. American publication Sportico has recognised the social media thought leadership as worthy of “top 50 Twitter sports influencers”. See the podcast’s yearly sizzle reel here.
  • Moreover, the performance of our online assets, driven by the Albachiara Journal activity, has been expanding its reach internationally: UK, Italy, USA, Australia and Switzerland are by now the top 5 countries in terms of our brand’s followers. Albachiara‘s digital presence, as shown by the main KPIs, is by now consistently well above the consultancy business average. Our “walking the talk”, in terms of being both a knowledge-transfer and a media company, is proving correct. The Albachiara brand is therefore thriving thanks to a bold, yet winning strategy.
  • The partnership with our creative technology and music management partner Thinklouder has also been incredibly fruitful in 2021. 138 projects (+30% vs 2020) delivered for incredible brands like Gucci and Dolce/Gabbana; for successful TV series produced by Netflix and Amazon Prime, like Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God and Chiara Ferragni’s The Ferragnez; for International music artists like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa or The Weeknd.
  • Last October, we also managed to conceive, plan and execute an International brand launch in the hospitality industry for the Spuma Group, through a very successful in-presence event in Lake Como, Italy.
  • Finally, we have ideated an event formula called “little big shots”. They are small in-person corporate events, organised in quirky locations and customised to every corporate need. They have proved to be very cost-effective to generate sales, to motivate specific teams, and to generate innovation. All of this, in total safety, will be hopefully deployed in the sport, fashion and media sectors also in 2022.

In summary

2021 has been a year of great progress for the company. We are exceptionally pleased with our portfolio of investee companies, that we continue to advise on a daily basis. They are poised for great success in 2022 and they will grow significantly in valuation.

Albachiara is now armed, via Growthdeck and the Investor Club, with a war-chest of capital. This will allow us to enter into more of the most disruptive early stage companies in sport. We aim to do 4 new deals in 2022.

More interesting consultancy projects in sport are already in sight, principally assisting new investors.

The expectation for the Corporate Learning and Content Marketing divisions is to grow further in volume: the differentiated and customised offer, which we have been developing since 2020, is proving very successful in attracting forward-thinking customers and very valuable partners.

Finally, the Albachiara brand plans two significant events in the new year: the publication of the Sport and Corporate Finance book, linked to our exec education courses, and a Lake Como Sport and Finance business event for the Albachiara personal and professional entourage.

We are looking forward to all of this, hoping to keep deserving the support of all of our clients, partners and friends.

Ad maiora semper.

Listen to our “Are you not entertained?sports management podcast here.

To find out what we do in change management, have a look here.

For our C-suite management services, read here.

Here you can know more about our content development work.

Discover our Corporate Learning service.

If you are interested in our own story, check us out here.