Kash Razzaghi's Fancred launched a new version of its mobile app and brought its fan-sharing platform to the web for the first time today. With what they are calling "Fancred 2", the company is hoping to take another step towards becoming the go-to source for sports fans online.
Initially a mobile app that connected fans of specific sports teams and allowed them to share news and social media updates, Fancred's latest product developments are a sign that Kash and company have very lofty ambitions.
Razzaghi (whom we profiled in January) explained how the concept behind Fancred is to be a gathering place of the widely-dispersed fans of various sports teams in one place. "We set out on the mission of connecting the world's sports fans, we fundamentally believe that communities are built around teams."
The idea is pure genius taking into consideration how professional and collegiate sports organizations have evolved from being the regionally-tied fan-bases of old to international consumer brands. The reason for the shift involves a ton of different variable including the rise of the internet, wide-spread television coverage, and many other trends related to college graduate migrations and whatnot.
Since they launched in March, Razzaghi told me that they have seen great traction and growth. Two areas where they have seen a ton of adoption of Fancred are the South, thanks largely in part of the quick adoption by SEC fan-bases and the Northeast, due, in part to the World Series run the Red Sox went on recently.
Last month, Fancred raised a $1.5M Seed Round of funding led by Atlas Venture, Militello Capital, Star Power Partners, and a whole bunch of angel investors including Linda Pizzuti Henry, Jay Batson, George Naddaff of Boston Chicken, Bob Mason, Elisabeth Bentel-Carpenter, Ed Godin, and Adam Berrey.
The two newly announced components take Fancred to the next level.
The redesigned iPhone app is now optimized for iOS 7 and has a lot of great new features.
The biggest move for Fancred today is the extension of their platform to the web. As Razzaghi said, "Fancred.com is a fully functional platform that our users can use to access Fancred. We are excited to launch that."
The Fancred CEO continued, "Our focus has always been mobile and it will continue to be mobile. That is where you see the trend in technology, that's where you see the trend in consumer use." "But you can't ignore the web," Razzaghi added.
"We think that [some typical] sports fans are at their desk all day or on their laptop at school, and we are really excited about being able to extend our platform to those sports fans on the web," he said.
"This gives us a chance to reach an entirely different audience."
One thing that I discovered while playing around on the site is Fancred's "bookmarklet" feature that allows users to post web material directly from a website to their Fancred account. Just how impactful could the bookmarklet be? Take for example a fan who is reading an article about Manchester United in England. He can link the page he is reading to his Fancred account and share the story with Man U fans all over the world who may not have access to news that could be important to them, that was on a local news site.
For diehard sports fans, this presents the opportunity for an organic experience of news and conversations on pressing team topics in a place singularly devoted to a specific team. It takes what Bleacher Report has been doing to try and become more "niche" than ESPN.com to the next level.
In the press release announcing the launches, Razzaghi explained, "With 83% of fans using social media while watching sports, we’re building an online community where fans can discover, connect, and share their thoughts and experiences with other fans around the world. Fancred’s main goal of the web platform and app redesign is to provide a beautiful and simple user experience that connects more fans to share their love and passion for sports.”
As he told me, "We want to be THE place that sports fans go to share and connect and discover other fans."
"We think that with more and more people using social media to interact, there hasn't been a social media platform focused on sports that has 'won'," Razzaghi added.
"We want to be the place where sports fans go to get information, to share information, or to just 'snack' on sports."
As Ryan Moore, who was involved in Atlas Venture's investment in the company said, “Fancred adds to the excitement of following our favorite sports and teams. Its approach in community building has led to engagement metrics that trump existing leaders in the social networking space and the addition of a web platform is only going to strengthen that community.”
With an opportunity to make a huge splash in a market dominated by a few media conglomerates, Fancred is ready to be the underdog who 'upsets' the perennial favorites.
Our very own, Keith Cline, was down in Starkville, Mississippi last weekend to see the Mississippi State Bulldogs take on the Alabama Crimson Tide and took a snapshot of Fancred on the jumbotron!