Edinburgh-based 'fan experience' and ticketing start-up nets £500,000 and top backers

An Edinburgh-based start-up behind software that delivers mobile ticketing and fan experience for sports clubs has secured investment from a number of high profile business figures and entrepreneurs.

Fanbase will use the £500,000 of seed investment to back its growth plans for the UK and the US.

The firm’s platform, which is branded for each individual sports club, enables mobile ticketing, memberships and subscriptions, and a range of other content for fans.

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Bosses already have some 40 football clubs signed up, with the company aiming to have more than 300 UK clubs on its platform by 2023.

Alasdair Crawley, Carl Barton and Michael Crawley of Fanbase. Picture: Stewart AttwoodAlasdair Crawley, Carl Barton and Michael Crawley of Fanbase. Picture: Stewart Attwood
Alasdair Crawley, Carl Barton and Michael Crawley of Fanbase. Picture: Stewart Attwood

The firm’s co-founders, brothers Alasdair and Michael Crawley, who set up the company in 2019, are also targeting rugby, netball, cricket and the North American sports market over the next two years.

Investors in the seed funding round include Steve Pankhurst and Tim Ward, co-founders of Friends United, and serial entrepreneurs and angel investors Nick Telson and Andrew Webster.

Telson said: “Alasdair and Mikey have ‘it’. After just a 30-minute 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.”

Crawley, chief executive, 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.”

Crawley is a director at Edinburgh London and Bristol-based management consultancy firm Optima Partners, while his brother Michael is now full-time at Fanbase having finished up a senior product manager role at global payments group PayPal in London and New York.

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The seed investment round allows the brothers to hire a full-time team at Fanbase and move forward rapidly with the company’s product roadmap.

They have already hired Carl Barton, who brings years of experience dealing with complex technology and customer data within the retail and fintech – financial technology – sectors, as chief technology officer.

Michael Crawley, chief product officer at Fanbase, said: “The most important thing for us has been the continuous feedback we have had from clubs and fans using the platform, allowing us to further innovate and make incremental improvements to the app.

“We’ve lots of great features that we want to release over the course of the year which will help our partners grow. Overall, we’re looking to provide best-in-class technology in the market serving the sports vertical.”

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