With professional sports teams beginning to resume practice, sports fans finally have a glimmer of hope and something to talk about. PickUp is the sports media platform that wants to keep fans talking and engaged. PickUp’s platform allows publishers to embed interactive content into editorial articles and connect sports fans to larger conversations across text, Slack, WhatsApp, Reddit and Slack. PickUp’s main interactive feature is shareable questions and it’s focusing on the US sports betting market allowing fans to share sentiment. The Brooklyn-based startup plans a tiered launch to the public throughout the summer and into the fall.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Dan Healy to chat about building a new offering that caters to the modern sports fan. Before starting PickUp, Healy was the COO of Prolific Interactive (acquired by WeWork in 2019), developing mobile apps for companies like American Express, HBO, and SoulCycle.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Seed Round. Led by KB Partners, additional investors include DRIVE by DraftKings, Connetic Ventures, and Chris Barbin (Entrepreneur, Venture Partner GGV (follow-on investment)).
Tell us about the product or service that PickUp offers.
PickUp’s mission is to validate the fan opinion. We have built a platform that enables publishers to embed contextually relevant, interactive questions into their content and connect them to the conversation the fans are having in Slack, Imessage, Reddit, and across the web.
What inspired the start of PickUp?
We recognized a shift in fan behavior. The person who used to wake up and watch a national sports show, form opinions, and have conversations about it in real life is now receiving multiple, personalized push notifications about the teams, players, and sports they love. When the fan forms an opinion, they are sharing that opinion in a digital world, and there isn’t any technology that supports that behavior.
How is PickUp different?
PickUp is built for the fan and is publisher agnostic, so it enables any content creator to make their content interactive by using the same type of technology you would use to embed an Instagram post or tweet.
What market does PickUp target and how big is it?
We are focused on a very large and growing US sports market, with a specific focus on the US Sports betting market.
What’s your business model?
Initially, we are monetizing our technology through revenue share relationships, but ultimately, we are building a DTC platform that connects the sportsbook operators directly to publishers.
How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
Our focus has always been on creating digital communities of sports fans, and it is likely that we’ll see that trend accelerated as a result of COVID-19.
What was the funding process like?
We have been able to build an incredible community around the company in these early stages, and the support of that group made the process much smoother.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We’re raising money for a business in a new market, and it’s difficult to understand the vision if you aren’t educated on the space. That made it difficult for some investors to understand, but this was ultimately why firms like KB Partners and DRIVE by DraftKings invested.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
My cofounder and I have built successful businesses and were able to clearly communicate our vision. Ultimately, the advisors and team were the reason.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’ll launch publicly over the summer and into the fall. Our milestones will include KPIs around revenue, user acquisition, and engagement.
We’ll launch publicly over the summer and into the fall.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on enhancing your core service offering and deepen your relationships with your customers. Having revenue will get you through tough times.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We will launch in the short term and continue to scale our product and grow our team.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Rucola in Brooklyn.
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