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Friends Reunited founders back ticketing start-up Fanbase

Ticketing start-up Fanbase has attracted £500,000 in seed funding, with Friends Reunited’s co-founders among those investing in the company.

The Edinburgh-based operator, which has developed a custom branded app that enables sports clubs of all sizes to launch mobile ticketing services, said it will use the cash to back UK and US growth and build its team.

Investors include Steve Pankhurst and Tim Ward, who founded and sold Friends Reunited and have since backed global ad and marketing agency Crowd. Serial entrepreneurs Nick Telson and Andrew Webster, and mobile tech pioneer Ronnie Forbes are among those who have also backed the developer, which was founded in 2019.

Fanbase, which is branded for each individual sports club, enables mobile ticketing, memberships and subscriptions, and a range of other content for fans. It already has 40 football clubs signed up and aims to have more than 300 UK football clubs on its platform by 2023.

The new investment has enabled co-founders Alasdair Crawley and Michael Crawley to bring in Carl Barton as chief technology officer, as well as hire a full-time team and accelerate the company’s product roadmap. The operator is targeting rugby, netball, cricket and the North American sports market over the next two years.

Alasdair Crawley, chief executive of Fanbase, said: “Our technology gives every sports team a tool they’ve been priced out of until now and allows them to connect with fans like never before. We have focused on lower league football clubs to date, who play a fundamental role in their communities and because we’ve been able to make great strides with the product, we’re now having conversations with some of the top-tier clubs in Scotland and across the UK.

“It’s also our ambition to make an impression in the North American sports market. We’ve got good links into some of the soccer, basketball and college football teams over there, so we very much see that as being part of our next phase of growth.”

Michael Crawley, who previously held a senior product manager role at global payments group PayPal, will now go full-time as chief product officer.

Investor Nick Telson said: “Founders Alasdair and Mikey have ‘it’. After just 30 minutes’ chat with them, we knew they were the real deal. The way sports teams currently digitise, understand and grow the value of their fanbase is stuck in the 90s. We see this as a huge opportunity across the globe and up to the highest echelons of sport.”

Fanbase’s partners include Scottish Professional Football League teams Elgin City, Edinburgh City and Queen of the South.

Image: Stewart Attwood / courtesy of Fanbase (Alasdair Crawley, Michael Crawley and Carl Barton of Fanbase)

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