FOCUS UNICORN | Sorare aims for fantasy football’s golden ball

Each week, discover a French Tech unicorn, its figures and its development prospects. Forbes France offers you an inventory of the various tricolor nuggets valued at more than one billion.


With just 18 employees, Sorare completed a historic round of funding in the FrenchTech ecosystem in September 2021: a total of 580 million euros from Softbank but also Atomico and Eurazeo. The start-up, which has developed a game linking fantasy football and NFTs (non-fungible tokens), thus increases its valuation to $4.3 billion and becomes the fourth most expensive unicorn, behind Qonto ($4.4 billion). , Back Market ($5.7 billion) and Doctolib ($5.8 billion).

Concretely, the game consists of acquiring cards representing football players – whose value fluctuates according to the performance of these players in real-world competitions – and building a team capable of competing with those of other users. Clearly, a 3.0 version of the Panini card collection which adds a layer of NFT and blockchain to become a major player in play-to-earn (note: “play to earn value”).

The typical profile of a player on Sorare is a man, between 18 and 45 years old, interested in football, gaming, card collecting, Web3 or all of the above. Overall, these are fans of existing fantasy football games like Mon Petit Gazon in France or Fantasy Premier League in England, or even more collector profiles, who used to collect cards or shirts of famous footballers.

The latest growth figures:

Sorare does not officially communicate on its turnover. On the other hand, its activity very quickly became profitable: the start-up went from 7 million dollars in trading volume to 325 million from 2020 to 2021.

Last lift to date:

The last fundraising dates back to September 2021 for an amount of 680 million dollars from SoftBank, with the participation of Atomico, Bessemer Ventures, D1

Capital, Eurazeo, IVP and LionTree as well as existing investors such as Benchmark, Accel, Headline and other business angels. Its previous funding round of 40 million euros in February 2021 gave Sorare a spotlight and it is in this sense that investors became interested in it, such as Marcelo Claure, the former CEO of Softbank Group International and himself passionate about football (he owns 3 clubs in 3 different countries).

Workforce:

Sorare currently has 70 employees split between our offices in Paris and New York. The objective is to reach 200 employees by the end of the year.

New strategic partnerships in 2021:

  • At the end of 2021, Sorare signed partnerships with more than 230 clubs and leagues: LaLiga, Bundesliga, Russian league, Turkish league and a new partnership with Major League Soccer in the United States. The ambition is to offer the top 20 leagues in the world by the end of the year.
  • Last March, the start-up also announced a partnership with Ubisoft, allowing the launch of a new NFT game based on the cards of the Jupiler Pro League: the One Shot League.

New objectives for 2022:

  • Release the mobile application (this one is in beta on iOS)
  • Recruit talent around the world
  • Launch the first marketing campaigns
  • Develop Sorare in other sports while keeping the focus on football

IPO ?

“It’s still too early to discuss it. », says Nicolas Julia, founder and CEO of Sorare.

Quote from the founder Nicolas Julia:

“Our ambition is to become the world leader in sports entertainment. We want to provide the best for our amazing community and the millions of fans who will join them in the years to come. For this we are working tirelessly to offer a more inclusive experience, a mobile application and all the best football leagues in the world. We are proud of what we have already achieved and this is only the beginning of the Sorare adventure. »

<<< Also to be read : Blaise Matuidi and Ilan Abehassera, co-founders of the Origins fund: “There are quite strong similarities between the athlete and the entrepreneur” >>>

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