A founding team that includes four Canadian entrepreneurs and UFC Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer are set to launch a new social e-commerce platform aimed at connecting athletes with their fans.
Millions.co launches a product designed to help athletes unlock new revenue streams and increase their engagement with fans. The startup’s founding team includes familiar faces from the Canadian tech ecosystem, but the most globally recognized name of the founding team at Millions.co is Buffer, announcer for the UFC, also known as ” Voice Of Mixed Martial Arts â.
âWe want to democratize the start of a brandâ¦ for all professional athletes, gyms and sports organizations. “
The CEO of Millions.co is Matt Whitteker, who previously co-founded Assent Compliance in Ottawa. The founding team also includes Scott Whitteker, Matt’s brother who runs the Fight For The Cure charity boxing event, Adrian Salamunovic, an Ottawa entrepreneur who founded digital art startup CanvasPop, and Brandon Austin, a serial entrepreneur based in the United States.
Millions.co was created to allow athletes to leverage their existing fan base and social media presence to create and control their own sources of income. Fans will be able to purchase exclusive products, access private interactive video streams, and participate in AMAs.
The company will partner with athletes to share transaction revenues, with the gross majority going to the athletes. Millions.co initially focuses on combat sports, but seeks to expand partnership opportunities to athletes from other sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, NHL, and eventually sports such as golf, soccer. and cricket.
Matt told BetaKit that the founding team initially launched Millions.co to purchase merchandise from professional boxers who did not have online stores. He said the team noticed athletes go to a print shop and send in their own shirts, underscoring the market’s need for a better e-commerce solution.
âWe want to democratize brand startup, online sales and access to the latest technology for all professional athletes, gyms and sports organizations,â said Matt.
The CEO told BetaKit his startup is already in talks with broadcast and pay-per-view event companies, and more than 100 pro-fight athletes, including Albert “The Prince” Bell, MMA fighter Bryce ” Thug Nasty “Mitchell and the professional boxer. Chris Colbert.
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The concept of an âathlete-fan engagementâ experience has become a growing area within social commerce, with one of the most notable companies in the space being Dapper Labs. Although Dapper Labs has developed several blockchain-based solutions, its Top Shot product has recently seen marked success. Top Shot, currently destined for the NBA, allows basketball fans to collect, trade and own memorable moments in NBA history on the blockchain.
As a result of the growth of this product, Dapper Labs has raised US $ 305 million from a number of athletes and celebrities. During Collision 2021, Dapper Labs investor and NBA star Spencer Dinwiddie spoke about his own fan engagement app, Calaxy, which allows influencers to interact with fans using digital tokens.
Salamunovic told BetaKit that Millions.co aims to bring the best features of streaming services, fan interaction companies, and fan merchandise businesses on a single platform and technology stack, enabling athletes to easily engage with their audience.
âThere is something very powerful about creating an ecosystem where digital goods and services can work together like this,â said Salamunovic. “We believe this is the future of consumer commerce, combining digital and physical goods.”
The company’s initial focus on combat sports can be of particular benefit to UFC fighters. Although some fighters such as Conor McGregor are known to withdraw nine digits for a single event, a trial filed by UFC veterans claimed that one-fifth of the promotion’s revenue went to athlete salaries, well below the proportion paid to athletes in other sports leagues.
âThe professional sports industry is changing rapidly,â Buffer said. “What athletes need now is a radical change, to take back control of their careers and their relationship with fans around the world.”
Millions.co’s goal is to have more than 5,000 athletes on the platform by the end of the year.
UPDATE (05/14/21): This story has been updated to note that the founding team of Millions.co includes four Canadian entrepreneurs, rather than three.
Image courtesy of Millions.co