The Sportech Goldrush Redux: Three Years on!
It got a bit of attention and, in many ways, signposted what I and Albachiara were going to do in this sector since then. Both as an accelerator, and as advisors.
That article explained our track record of return as investors in early stage, as well as our selection process. How we go about finding investee candidates and how we filter that into selection.
We are not angels investors, rather C-Suite operators in media & sport, with a corporate finance and strategic marketing background, who join founders to scale businesses.
We are, therefore, at the coal face.
Our main objective is choosing the ventures well and working directly with them in order to deliver value, building the trusted advisor status with founders, that we find essential. This has been the secret of the Albachiara Accelerator. With a good track record of satisfied founders (some validation in my Linkedin profile here).
What has happened since then? For us, and for the sector.
We have continued to make new startup investments in what we consider the industry’s most exciting themes today (hyperlinks into articles in all blue titles):
The move to first party data and “owned and operated”
community and ARPU plays
The evolution of sports content,
especially for younger audiences
The rise of data businesses
to supply the gamification of sport (fantasy, props, betting)
The inevitable power of machine learning and AI in sport
on and off the field
New formats and challenger leagues, leading to new IP.
The companies in the Albachiara SportTech Accelerator sportech profile currently are:
2. Antourage Media
3. Stadiuum Group
We believe that this direct experience of innovation and disruption with good startups of the day generates a knowledge base, that we as a company can monetise wider with:
|More traditional consultancy work for corporates struggling with change management.|
|The creation of leading-edge experiential exec courses for corporates and MBA students.|
|The ideation, execution and distribution of corporate consumer-centric narratives. Every company is a media company.|
|The editorial content of our Journal, including the Are You Not Entertained? sports business podcast. AYNE.|
Talking of AYNE, what started out as a passion project for Grant Williams and myself 3 years ago, has grown well in following and prestige, to occupy a pretty unique position in the industry. In Season2, we were joined by Giles Morgan, who brought all his gravitas and insight to the platform.
Giles now operates himself at the sharp end of early stage sport ventures, and Grant is a media entrepreneur in his own right, as cofounder of the SVOD finance media platform Real Vision, and his own personal subscription business of TTMYGH.
It’s a credible team, and in fact, AYNE was nominated as one of the top 50 global sports influencers by the prestigious Sportico publication. Who would have thunk it?
The USP of Are you Not Entertained? is our perspective, that is the nexus of our experience:
Top end finance background.
Experience of actually having run rights holders. Been in the room.
Vision over the horizon of imminent disruption.
Forthright style born of self-confidence in our abilities.
This has allowed us to attract the absolutely top names onto the platform, both athletes and big money investors. From Rory McIlroy to Sir Martin Sorrell. All the major players in sport visit the AYNE tavern. Willingly. We set the news agenda of the sports business. The AYNE brand and community is authentic and passionate.
What to do with this community now?
Sport is a new asset class.
Sport and its assets (physical and digital), real and derivative, have become a much sought after non-correlated asset class.
Despite a COVID provoked devastation of operating results, the asset valuations of sports IP and rights holders have gone through the roof.
These are waves of disruption and change which are structural as well as cyclical. They carry enormous opportunity, and significant risk.
Three years ago we said that the sector was in a goldrush. Well, when you now see a blogger & celeb boxer like Jake Paul starting a venture fund with these words “The VC business understands more and more how to work with influencers with enormous followings, and are bring them along“, then the trick is to sort the wheat from the chaff, in a repeatable way, for superior return.
The AYNE Investor Community
We would like to gather from the exisiting AYNE audience the kind of sophisticated investor looking to make smart moves in sports assets and tech. A small and probably limited community, an “investor club” if you will. Informal to start, but with people ready to invest.
We, at Albachiara, would look for investments, likely at “seed” level, and perhaps Series A, that appear via our Process and Diligence. This has made the Accelerator’s track record a rather positive one. We would be active in these companies after investment.
At this point, we foresee no cut or AUM fees for the club. Costs of DD would need to be covered, but we do not like the angel syndicate model taking finders fees from both sides. Instead, selected opportunities would be presented to the community as an opportunity to invest. Albachiara would act as the community’s investment manager. Other members of the Club could also join the Board of the investee company, for control, governance and expertise. All to protect the club’s interests and value.
This is, therefore, for sophisticated investors looking to allocate into this asset class. Minimum ticket per investment will be £25k, but there will no obligation to invest.
We want to gauge interest in this idea, and bring together the networks of Grant, Giles and myself, to work out in more detail how the Club should operate.
If you feel you’d like to be considered, please send your “application” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to our “Are you not entertained?” sports management podcast here.
Here you can know more about our content development work.
Discover our Corporate Learning service.
To find out what we do in change management, have a look here.
For our C-suite management services, read here.
If you are interested in our own story, check us out here.