Events social networking platform FanZone raises $5m

Former English FA general secretary Alex Horne is helping FanZone expand operations.

As reported in Globes: Israeli startup FanZone, which provides a social networking platform for sports and music fans, has raised $5 million in a Series A financing round. The financing was led by Olive Tree Capital Ventures.

The company was founded in 2014 by CEO Ori Shilo (former CEO of the Israel Football Association) and Tomer Kazaz (a former youth goalkeeper with Maccabi Netanya). Together with last year’s seed round of $1.2 million, FanZone has raised $6.2 million to date from the Chief Scientist, Ilan Shiloah’s Time incubator, Ron Zuckerman and others. The company, which took part in the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, has 20 employees in its Tel Aviv office and is hiring more staff.

The soccer background of the two founders is reflected in the company’s main activity enabling soccer fans to link up and travel together to matches to save on fuel.

The startup’s customers include Israeli soccer teams Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa, while in England customers include Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion.

FanZone’s platform is operated in cooperation with the clubs, football associations, police, railways, and other bodies.

In recent months, the company decided to expand and work in related fields such as live events and thus FanZone launched FanZone Events for major events. This platform includes ways of reaching the event and more to serve both the event’s producers and those attending the event. The platform has already been used for major musical events in Israel including concerts by Robbie Williams, Backstreet Boys and other artists.

Shilo said, “The large scale events market in sport, music and generally is huge and varied and includes many needs for both the crowds who arriving and the organizers of the event. Our vision is to create a platform that includes a broad range of service and solutions around the event, and which will allow for lowering overall costs, fast and convenient travel, and making the journey to the event a more pleasant and fun experience just like the event itself.”

He added, “The company is undergoing major momentum and is set for some major collaborations in Europe and we are happy to have the cooperation of Alex Horne who comes to us after a successful term as general secretary of the English FA. The current financing round will let us develop infrastructures in the markets we are focusing on and grow into other markets.

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