Fanfunding platform revolutionising sport investment

Mark Fitt

Source: @Moneypenny

The world’s first sports crowdfunding platform

The world’s first and only fully licensed sports crowdfunding platform, co-founded by former player and manager Gianluca Vialli, is spearheading a sports finance revolution by allowing supporters to invest in leading clubs.

Tifosy is a unique online platform which connects clubs with a global community of fans and investors. It will give supporters the chance to buy shares in their favourite clubs or invest in club mini-bonds, providing them with cash interest or club credit.

Tifosy has already worked with more than 15 clubs in England and Italy, running rewards-based campaigns to fund training ground and stadium improvements and similar projects. It is now launching much more ambitious financial campaigns, giving fans greater involvement in their clubs and a return on their investment. It will give clubs access to untapped capital by unleashing the passion of their global fan base – 30 of the world’s leading clubs, together, have more than 1bn social followers, and some clubs can count more than 1000 times their stadium capacity in online supporter numbers.

Tifosy is creating a new asset class: investment in professional sports clubs for ordinary fans. Its platform is regulated through the Financial Conduct Authority, giving supporters a simple way to invest through a transparent, easy-to-use platform. For the first time, it is connecting two fast-growing industries, the $150bn global sports market and its 4bn fan base, with the $432bn global crowdfunding market.

Last month, Tifosy completed English football’s first mini-bond, raising £600,000 in just six weeks for EFL League Two club Stevenage FC to build a new North Stand. Two hundred and forty fans invested between £500 and £25,000, choosing either 4 per cent cash interest or 8 per cent club credit interest per annum and receiving unique club-related privileges.

Tifosy is creating a community of sports investors who will take sports fanfunding to a new level and, with a licence valid across Europe, it can now sell equity and debt on behalf of clubs. Tifosy aims to runs campaigns which will raise several million pounds for the club concerned, transforming the financing of the sports industry.

Tifosy is this week scaling up by launching its own £1m equity raise, issuing 4000 shares in the company, which has a pre-money valuation of £9.2m. For a minimum £1,000, investors can buy into the company, which was co-founded by European Cup winner Vialli and CEO Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker who spent more than 15 years as a sports, media and tech specialist at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

The company has a strong pipeline of projects and an established track record. In the UK, it has worked with many renowned clubs, including Portsmouth FC, Fulham and Bradford City. In Italy, it is launching the first ever equity crowdfunding campaign for leading Serie B club Frosinone and has previously raised capital for Carpi and Parma Calcio.

Tifosy Founder & CEO Fausto Zanetton said: “Fans are the greatest asset of any club and our mission is to enable everyone to invest in the clubs they believe in, in a fair and transparent manner.

“Whilst there is an incredible passion and willingness to invest in sports, there is currently no way to do so for the average fan or investor.

“Fanfunding transforms the way fans can interact with their clubs. You no longer need to be a billionaire to invest in professional sports clubs. We are unleashing the passion of fans and these billions of global fans represent an enormous and untapped investor base.

“We believe this pivotal moment in Tifosy’s short history is an excellent opportunity to bring on board the first wave of our very own Fanfunders, passionate advocates who will help change the sports industry for the better”.

Co-founder Gianluca Vialli said: “Clubs and fans working together for a common goal can make a real difference to the game we love. I believe Tifosy takes fan engagement to a new level. This is the beginning of a new era, a sports revolution, and I am proud to support it”.

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