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Fancred, mobile app for die-hard sports fans, wraps up $1.5 million funding round

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 16, 2013 08:30 AM

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When last we heard from Fancred in May, the startup had engineered a pretty sweet cameo: during the company's pitch to investors at the conclusion of the TechStars Boston program, Sox slugger David Ortiz strutted onto the stage at House of Blues to help spark some enthusiasm.

Five months later, the Sox are in the American League Championship Series, and Fancred is announcing that it has finished raising the $1.5 million it hoped to raise at TechStars Demo Day. Investors include Atlas Venture, Militello Capital, Star Power Partners, and an interesting collection of angels including Linda Pizzuti Henry, Acquia founder Jay Batson, Boston Chicken mogul George Nadaff, Bob Mason, Elisabeth Bentel-Carpenter, Ed Godin, and Adam Berrey. Those last four are all veterans of Brightcove, the Boston video hosting company, which was also a proving ground for several members of Fancred's founding team, including CEO Hossein Kash Razzaghi. (Razzaghi, who goes by Kash, is pictured above with Big Papi.)

Fancred's iPhone app is a place where fans, sports commentators, and franchises can share sports-related news and opinions, organized by team, and build up points that indicate just how much of an authority they are. Fancred has 10 employees, and is still operating out of the TechStars accelerator office in Kendall Square. The Sox were the first professional team to take ownership of their profile on Fancred, and Mississippi State was the first university to do so, Razzaghi says. The app is free, and the company is still pre-revenue.

Fancred had raised about $750,000 before it entered the TechStars Boston program in February. Razzaghi says they collected commitments for another $250,000 during the program, and $500,000 after it.

He had the chance to pitch Linda Pizzuti Henry, wife of Sox owner John Henry, in the owner's suite at Fenway last September. It was the tail end of a pretty rotten season, and the Sox lost the game, but Razzaghi says it was "an awesome experience" — and he persuaded Henry to invest. (Disclosure: John Henry has agreed to buy this very website and the Boston Globe, but the acquisition hasn't yet closed.)

When I spoke with Razzaghi on Demo Day, he said he was in talks with Ortiz and his managers about joining the investor syndicate, or perhaps signing on as a spokesperson. That hasn't happened yet — but Ortiz, of course, has been a busy guy these past few months.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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