LinkedIn for Soccer Players

LinkedIn for Soccer Players

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A Danish startup built a LinkedIn for soccer players – and it could be a goldmine

In a time where soccer and social networks are two of the world's most powerful phenomena, Danish startup Tonsser found a huge hole in the market. ”The are plenty of apps and services about soccer, but none of them are actually made for the players. And there are about a quarter billion of them worldwide. So we started building a community, a LinkedIn for soccer players,” says Simon Hjære, CPO, and co-founder of Tonsser.

500,000 and growing

That was in 2014, today the venture has more than 500,000 registered players and data from 4.6 million soccer games in Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The Tonsser app works as a social network where each player creates a profile and connects with other members of the squad. ”We use data points such as goals, assists, clean sheets and votes for 'Man of the Match.' After each game, the players updates their profiles, rate each other and they can connect with other players. It is like Fifa, the video game, but this time it is for real, and it is about you,” Simon Hjære explains.
However, Tonsser is not just a game or a social network; the co-founder points out. It is foremost a tool for soccer talents to reach their potential. ”Our users, mostly teenagers, are extremely serious about their sport. They want to improve, and we give them the tools and a social context to do that. They feel like professionals, and hopefully, one day, some of them will be.”

The business model is a work-in-progress

The players can go professional but how will Tonsser make money? Simon Hjære answers honestly in true startup-fashion. ”We are not sure yet. There are a number of options, and we are keeping them all open, but at this point, it is hard to predict the exact business model we will end up with. Our main goal right now is scale. And new products like a similar service for managers and clubs.”One way to go commercially is to work with brands. Earlier in 2017, Nike became the first brand to get its own channel on the Tonsser platform. ”Nike provides edutainment like training sessions with professionals, and that is valuable content to our users,” says Simon Hjære.
Tonsser's founders are of course avid football fans.

The 'Moneyball' factor 

The most significant potential, however, lies in matchmaking, i.e., identifying talents for the professional clubs. These enterprises spend vast amounts on own academies and global scouting networks to find the next Ronaldo or Messi. But their success rate is low, and they are forced to buy players in their prime from other clubs in a hugely inflated market. In August 2017, a new record was set when Neymar transferred from Barcelona to Paris Saint-German for $263 million.Tonsser has something to offer these businesses, data. ”We have data on an increasing number of youth players across Europe and hopefully soon the world. We use machine learning the enhance the data and get new insights, like distinguishing between performance and potential which is extremely important for younger players. This bottom-up approach with data on each player should be interesting to the professional clubs,” Simon Hjære concludes.The startup has received funding so far of $4.9 million. Investors include venture capital firms Seed Capital and Wellington Partners.

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Linked In used to drive me nuts.

I signed up for it for on the recommendation of an educator at a FFA coaching course.

Then I got all sorts of contacts I didn't want, and, inadvertently found out things about people that I didn't want to know, which were personal in nature.

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