In 2011, friends Sanjit Atwal & Leo Harrison (both award-winning digital media professionals) had an idea – what if football fans had all of the tools professional pundits had? Even better, what if fans could have this in real-time and for free?
Back in 2011, friends Sanjit Atwal & Leo Harrison (both award-winning digital media professionals) had an idea – what if football fans had all of the tools professional pundits had? Even better, what if fans could have this in real-time and for free?
Squawka launched in 2012 and since then has set out to deliver beautiful real-time data visualisations to football fans alongside up to 160 articles on football every day and engaging social media commentary around the game. In 2014 Squawka was accessed over 90 million times with engagement times of up to 20 minutes. Fans come to Squawka to hear the latest news, stats & gossip told in a wholly new and refreshing way.
Today, based on our own research we estimate that up to 31% of males aged 18-35 know of Squawka in the UK and the brands content reaches up to 6 million fans around the world every day. The global sports market Squawka finds itself in is expected to grow to $145bn by 2015. The audience for the English Premier League is over 4.2 billion people every year – a fact that has helped attract investors to the business including media agency BBH (including founder Sir John Hegarty), Forward Internet founder Neil Hutchinson and sports marketing firm Doyen.
Squawka makes money through advertising and has fulfilled a variety of campaigns including award-winning campaigns for the likes of Continental Tyres and Domino’s Pizza.
The team has identified three large potential markets to enter – those of Digital Video, User Generated Content and Daily Fantasy Football (which itself has been described by Forbes as a $70b market), and is seeking funding to continue the push to become the worlds largest media & entertainment business in football.
Football is the worlds most popular sport and the English Premier League has an audience of over 4.2 billion around the world every year . Recently, the Premier League TV rights were sold for a record £5.14 billion.
In a market of such size, there are key trends that have emerged over the last two years which have helped guide the Squawka management teams vision for the business.
1) Fans are consuming more digital video than ever before….especially on their mobiles! In fact, advertiser spend on digital video is expected to hit over 85 billion dollars in 2019.
Squawka is working with leading TV & Film production company, Fremantle Media, to produce a series of original digital video shows based on the Squawka web & mobile platforms. The first show is called Morning Glory and aims to deliver fans daily news updates in true Squawka style – informative, fun and engaging.
The goal for the shows is a simple one – to capitalise on the shift of fan comsumption from television to digital video and to cement Squawka as a prime destination for daily football media.
2) User-generated content is growing across social media. One just needs to look at the new YouTube generation of creators to understand that the opportunites for anyone to be heard.
There are of course plenty of places on the internet football fans can voice their opinoins but Squawka believes it has a distinct USP in offering fans data & graphics to back up their posts. In essence, Squawka intends to help any fan become an expert pundit.
Interestingly, almost every day someone emails in to the Squawka team asking to write a post or for Squawka to host their article. This means we already have a ready made list of hundreds of our own ‘creators’.
3) Fantasy sports is worth an estimated $70 billion dollars globally and the growth trend from the USA is that of ‘daily’ fantasy – games that last for a weekend or even just a match.
Traditional fantasy football in the UK has lasted 9 months (the length of the season) – Squawka believe that is too long to engage millenial fans who seek a more instant gratification. We polled our user-base and found that 63% already play fantasy football and 57% bet on football regularly.
Squawka have been testing a beta product in daily fantasy football for nearly 12 months and have found that up to 15% of users play the game FIVE times a weekend. Based on these case studies, the team are developing a new version of daily fantasy football to launch for the 2015/16 season.
Squawka have been carefully monitoring the media & entertainment sectors to both backup and disprove management team theories. As a result, the team have an excellent understanding of how the company can become a leader in its field.
The competitive landscape is promising. Squawka consider themselves to be in a high-growth position in the market and the proposed launches of Digital Video, User-Generated Content & Daily Fantasy should propell the business to new heights.
Sanjit Atwal, Co-Founder & CEO, London, BA Film & Television
Leo Harrison, Co-Founder, London, BA Ancient Mediterrainian Studies
Rodrigo Mennegazo, CTO, London, Degree Software Engineering (Brazil)
Chris Cragg, CFO, London, BA Commerce, Finance & Accounting
Nic English, Editor-in-Chief, London, BA Mathmatics
Stacey Alexander, Partnerships Director, IDM Digital Marketing
Harjit Kaura, Lead Designer, BA Graphic Design
- Next round: Burn Rates can be flexed but the current plan is to raise an additional round of ~£4m by December 2015 to support a major marketing drive of the Battle90 Division under an Ambassador programme. This additional round (if it proceeds) will dilute crowd investors.
- Publishing: This is a function of the number of visits to the various Squawka properties (website, App and social networks), the pages viewed per visit adverts viewed per visit, the CPM chargeable to clients and the fill rates achieved. Squawka plans to drive higher CPM’s over time with higher-value engagement provided by video and native focus.
- Battle90 Gameplay: This is a fixed commission of 15% on bets placed on Squawka offered games. The 15% is assumed fixed with growth coming from a larger user-base (increased leagues and territories) and a higher number of games played per user.
USE OF FUNDS:
- Raise £800k and allocated as follows: £40k commission fundraising, £150k Capex on Betting Licenses and Legals, £40k Ambassador (Marketing) investment for launch of Battle90 Game, £70k on App Download marketing, £300k on increased operational team and development, £200k on working capital.
EXPENSES AND PROFITABILITY:
- Publishing: Current Overhead of £150k/month will be increased within 12 months to £285k/month to increase content production, uptake and marketing of the various Squawka properties.
- Battle90 Gameplay: The launch of the gameplay division will require only a small additional fixed overhead of under £30k/month with significant investment into marketing, particularly the ambassador programme. User acquisition is targeted to reach 300k within 12 months of launch as the programme is rolled out to all major football leagues.
EXISTING DEBT OR EQUITY INVESTMENTS:
- Equity: The Company has existing Share Capital of £2.5m.
- Debt: Management Loan outstanding of £118k. A loan of up to £325K debt will be taken on as needed in May 2015, as a result net debt issued for 2015 is £282,073. A total of £254,784 of the outstanding debt in 2014 was converted into equity in 2015. All long-term debt is planned to be repaid in 2016.
The Exit Strategy
Squawka has already been approached on multiple occasions by major international media organisations to exit. In all three instances the management have committed to growing the business even further to create significant shareholder value. The attraction of Squawka is that, to be in a position of being a fast-growth influencer in the worlds biggest sport, means a host of large multinational organisations would be interested in acquiring the business. The primary focus for exit would be to identify a suitable partner over a 2-5 year period.
Invest £100 and get
Be one of the first to get a Verified account across the new Squawka User-Generated Content platform launching in Q3 2015!
Invest £500 and get
Get an exclusive invitation to watch the new Squawka Digital Video shows being recorded and maybe even appear in the shows themselves!
Invest £1,000 and get
Invest £1000 and you will be sent credits for the new Squawka Daily Fantasy football game – Battle90, in time for the start of the 2015/16 football season!
Invest £50,000 and get
Come along to the star studded invite-only 2015/16 season launch party held at an exclusive London venue and A class shares.
Invest £100,000 and get
Investment of £100k will qualify for all of the above + a private dinner with the founders at The Ivy in London.
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