A start-up specialising in software to deliver more efficient mobile ticketing and a better fan experience to smaller clubs has closed a seven-figure investment round that will allow it to further product development and expand its presence in the US.

Operating out of Edinburgh, Fanbase’s technology is being used by multiple clubs across a variety of sports such as Hibernian FC, Netball Superleague’s Strathclyde Sirens, and Super 6 rugby team Southern Knights. The platform includes a new portal recently launched that allows back office teams to collaborate, incorporating allocated stadium mapping, automated subscriptions and renewals.

The £1 million funding round was led by SaltPay, which was founded in 2019 to build a pan-European cooperative of payment components for small and medium-sized firms. It follows a seed funding round of nearly £500,000 in May 2021supported by a variety of angel investors.

Individual investors include Steve Pankhurst and Tim Ward of Friends Reunited, which was sold to commercial broadcaster ITV in 2005, and DesignMyNight co-founders Nick Telson and Andrew Webster.

The Herald: Michael Crawley was a Scotland Under-20s playerMichael Crawley was a Scotland Under-20s player (Image: Getty)

Launched in 2021, the idea for Fanbase came three years earlier when former Scotland Under-20s winger Michael Crawford and his brother Alasdair got involved in helping a local rugby club to boost income. Drawing on the data engineering expertise of their third co-founder, Carl Barton, they developed the foundations of what would become the Fanbase app.

“Our vision is for Fanbase to unlock a huge amount of revenue for sports teams by making it easier to buy and engage with sports organisations outside of the top tier,” said Alasdair, the company’s chief executive.

Fanbase recently won its first US customer, soccer club DeKalb County United out of Illinois, and on the back of that has secured five additional US teams in recent weeks. Alasdair said the company, which currently employs 10 people, plans to expand its operations and marketing in North America.

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"We are enabling sports organisations to launch a team-branded mobile-optimised, sports-focussed digital ticketing service in minutes, while increasing hospitality revenue and saving hours per week for staff and volunteers responsible for bookings and operations," he said.

"We are now a fully-integrated sports ticketing tech stack that can handle online, ticket office and ‘pay at the gate’, so right through from ticket office order, payment, and fulfilment.”

He added: "Clubs using Fanbase can use our data layer to track fan data, identify audiences, and optimise sales. They can communicate directly with their fans from the platform via push notifications, and we’re also working on unlocking more channels.”

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Fanbase recently became the first UK-based sports technology firm to join Microsoft's start-up accelerator programme, marking Edinburgh's return to the sports technology game.

The Scottish capital was previously home to online fantasy sports operator FanDuel, which later shifted its headquarters to New York to be closer to its main North American market. FanDuel opened a UK hub for product innovation in Edinburgh in September of last year.

In a separate announcement yesterday, original FanDuel founders Nigel Eccles and Rob Jones announced a $4m fundraising for their latest venture, US-based music platform Vault.