Football Index is one of those startups that I find very difficult to rate. The communication with Seedrs-Investors only takes place very irregularly. As with many startups, for example, when money needs to be collected again. The performance of Football Index so far is definitely impressive:
In June 2017, the post-money valuation was just under £8MM. A good two years later, in August 2019, a follow-up round took place at £37.8MM. The share price has more than quadrupled in just over two years.
Football Index is a betting platform where stocks/shares of football players can be traded virtually. Depending on the performance of the footballers in the football games actually taking place in reality and the resulting market of supply and demand for player shares, the value of the player shares then rises or falls. In addition, there are media dividends for the players who appear particularly often in the press.
Attractive startup or better stay away?
Basically, I consider the business of a betting provider to be highly profitable. As the bookmaker, the startup has sovereignty over issuing shares to new players, which generates additional revenue. Globalizing this business model and rolling it out in other countries or worldwide brings significant opportunities for a good increase in the value of the startup. The technology is similar or identical for each copy of the platform in a new country and there are scaling effects. It is also possible to issue licenses for other markets to use your own technology platform and thus earn money from scaling without putting a heavy strain on your own liquidity. On the one hand, I see fantasies that an innovative startup like this could become a unicorn with its own new technology. On the other hand, 2020 is unlikely to be a brilliant year with the existing Covid burdens and football games suspended for months. Companies House (the UK business register) shows for the year to 31.12.2018 that the "profit and loss reserves" (here the cumulative company losses since the company was founded) have increased by approx. £100k for the year 2018. So in 2018 only a small loss of £100k was made. The same report also states that Football Index employed an average of 18 people in 2018. As of May 2020, there are 77 people on LinkedIn who appear to be working for the company. A significant increase in staff, which certainly drove up costs, but also suggests a significant expansion of activities and tech development.
At Football Index, too, it is positive that since the last funding round in mid-2019, a venture capitalist has entered Burlywood Capital. A total of almost £2.6MM funding was raised from external investors. Despite the significantly larger team, this capital cover is sufficient to ensure the continued existence of Football Index even in difficult Corona times.
As mentioned at the beginning, one of my main criticisms is that the forum responds to investor questions Seedrs is only received sporadically or not at all. Updates appear irregularly and in between there was no update for a whole year. Due to the VC participation, I am not quite so critical of the limited communication, since the professionalization of the company (unfortunately) often means that crowd investors are kept up to date less often and in less detail.
Overall, my opinion remains rather bullish for this startup. In my view, the risks are relatively high, but the company appears to be well managed. If opportunities are used and this company grows successfully and sustainably breaks into the profit zone, then in my opinion there are also good chances of high profit increases for crowd investors.