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Opendorse Raises $1.75 Million With Plans To Make Athlete Endorsements Smarter
 
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forbes.com | April 8, 2015

By Darren Heitner

imageA company that focuses only on athletes’ off-field and off-court endeavors has raised $1.75 million to build on its mission, which is to make athlete endorsements smarter, better and faster. The company is Opendorse, and it essentially serves as a middle-man of sorts to match brands with athletes for an end goal of creating more meaningful endorsement campaigns with actual metrics that better determine a brand’s return on investment.

The $1.75 million raised concludes Opendorse’s Series A Financing round, which began in June 2014 and was led by Leawood, Kansas-based Flyover Capital. As part of the deal, Keith Molzer, General Partner at Flyover Capital, is now part of Opendorse’s Board of Directors. At the close of the Series A round, Opendorse has received a total of $2.1 from outside investors since its founding in 2013.

“We looked at different options in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley before we got in touch with Flyover Capital,” explained Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence. ”While those firms in other areas wanted us to move to their locations, [Flyover Capital] wanted us to stay put.”

According to Lawrence, the company has been involved in more than 1,500 endorsement deals over its existence and has amassed a user base of more than 3,000 athletes, 1000 marketers and 500 sports agents. Recognizable names like Rob Gronkowski, Joe Flacco and Jamaal Charles, all National Football League players, have used Opendorse in the past for certain endorsement opportunities.

Opendorse plans to use the additional capital to expand its existing partnerships and hire additional employees. It already has partnerships in place with the National Football League Players Association and Ultimate Fighting League. The multi-year partnership with the UFC has not yet launched, but will provide a similar service to the Activate campaign it launched with the NFLPA almost a year ago.

“We continue to have interest from additional leagues and associations to implement our solutions for their players and brand partners,” said Lawrence. ”It’s really good to have a case study in our belt. The conversation is now ‘this is what we’ve done.’”

There are fifteen employees currently working at Opendorse. Lawrence is looking to get to 20-25 employees by the end of 2015.

“Our mission is to power every endorsement in the world – by providing marketers with a premium research, activation, and measurement platform that enables them to reach and engage their target market like never before,” added Lawrence. ”With this round of funding, we’re positioned to solidify our status as market leader in the sports business industry, and build a world-class company, right here in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

 

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This article was brought to you by Licensed NBA & NFL Player Agent Andrew P. Lehman, J.D. and Free Agent Sports, the Nation's Leading Provider of Athlete Endorsement Services, with Offices in Los Angeles, CA and Houston, TX. FAS saw the need for more aggressive action on behalf of agents for athletes to obtain brand endorsements and took this industry by storm. It is our background as Corporate Executives and inside relationships with CEO's that gives us the competitive edge over all other sports agencies. Our philosophy is to present business-to-business opportunities for players to sustain them long after their playing career is over. FAS is an Attorney owned and operated Sports Agency representing Professional Basketball and Football Players in the US and Abroad. "While it is true that good things come to those that wait, it is only those things left over by those that hustle." Andrew P. Lehman, J.D. Licensed Player Agent & Entrepreneur. www.freeagentsports.com

 

 
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