NEWS: Sports Trading Card App Seeking $1.5 Million

Chris Burget, co-founder and CEO, DraftCard

A company that created a trading card app for youth athletes is seeking $1.5 million.

The youth sports market is an approximate $16 billion market in the U.S. And, college coaches are reportedly  recruiting kids in middle school to commit to their teams.

DraftCard, with HQ in Newport Beach, launched its fundraising campaign on Fundable, a crowdfunding platform.

The company is in the pre-revenue stage. DraftCard raised close to $1 million from friends and family, before launching this campaign, CEO Chris Burget told OC Startups Now.

DraftCard enables youth athletes to upload images and videos, as well as pertinent athletic and academic stats and share them on any social media platform so they can create their own brand. They can add additional features to customize their cards, like what position they play and the name of their high school or club team.

The company stores all this info in a “virtual locker,” so that products and services can be advertised and purchased like sports apparel, equipment, personalized gifts and training videos.

The youth sports market is “very fragmented,” said Kristin Currey, DraftCard co-founder, president and COO. The company touts itself as an intermediary among entities including kids and their parents, vendors, coaches and sports associations.

Kristin Currey, co-founder and COO, DraftCard

DraftCard’s software will ultimately be available to be white labeled, enabling other companies and associations to have the same personalized, on-boarding tool.

The company was founded in 2016 by Burget, Currey and Bob Peterson.

Building Up User Base

DraftCard built its user base up from 700 at this time last year to more than 4,500, with barely any marketing funds, Burget said.

“Our organic growth has been mostly through word-of-mouth,” added Currey, whose 14-year-old son plays a slew of sports including football and baseball.

A year ago, the company signed a partnership with Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), enabling athletes who use DraftCard’s app to get verified as an athlete through a third party. NCSA is a for-profit organization that connects middle and high school student-athletes with college coaches. Currey said it helps more than 50,000 student-athletes per year get scholarships.

This lead-generation partnership connects tens of thousands of high school student-athletes to more than 35,000 college coaches nationwide across 32 sports, Currey said.

App Upgrade Planned Soon

Currey said DraftCard plans to soon launch the next version of its app, which will see a coaches log-in feature, enabling coaches to create their own virtual cards and connect their teams to them.

This is significant, Currey said, because the reach of recruiting has gotten younger and younger, as kids as young as age 8 are being groomed to go to the next level.

The app upgrade is expected to incorporate AR and VR, thanks to a partnership with Arvada Labs, with HQ in Garden Grove.

Board of Advisors

Steve Beuerlein recently joined as a senior advisor. He played for 17 years as an NFL All Pro quarterback on various teams, including the Los Angeles Raiders. He’s now an NFL and college football analyst for CBS TV. He grew up and currently lives in OC and played football at Servite High School in Anaheim.

Steve Beuerlein

Tim Prokop also recently joined the advisory team. He’s been in the youth sports market space for more than 15 years. He’s been involved with data analytics technology sports companies. He also attended Servite High School and was a college football coach at USC and ASU.

Revenue Sharing with Athletic Departments

DraftCard intends to officially roll out a revenue-sharing program for athletic departments when school starts in the Fall.

The company completed a beta test for this, which involved Villa Park High School and three other schools in the Orange County Unified School District; the district has a total of 3,600 student athletes, Currey said.

“The pain point for athletic programs at schools is they all need money for uniforms, travel, etc,” Burget said. “So it’s a way to create revenue for athletic departments.”

DraftCard intends to ultimately expand the revenue-sharing program to schools affiliated with the Orange County Athletic Directors Association, which works with more than 70 schools in the region.

Key Execs of DraftCard:

Burget is a former D1 scholarship athlete and former senior recruiter with NCSA. He was a social media executive with Smith Optical.

Currey is a former D1 scholarship athlete swimmer. She was a national director for Eastman Kodak, IKON and DTI in the data management and litigation technology fields. And she’s a former cybersecurity consultant.

Peterson, co-founder and CTO, is a longtime friend of Burget. He’s a movie producer, director and automotive executive.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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