Irish-Based Sports Media Platform, Pundit Arena Raises €650,000
Irish based sports media platform; Pundit Arena, has raised a seed round of €650,000 from a collection of angel investors, based both in Ireland and the United States. Pundit Arena, the leading sports media platform that enables articulate fans to become paid journalists through their unique revenue-share model has grown to more than 300 writers and over 1.4 million monthly users in the last year.
The company is set to double its workforce in Ireland in the coming months. The investment has been led by Colm Lyon, one of Ireland’s leading internet and payments entrepreneurs. Lyon is the CEO and founder of Fire Financial Services and in March 2015, Lyon sold Realex Payments – a business he also founded – in a deal worth €115m. With regard to the investment, Lyon stated that:
“The team at Pundit Arena are outstanding and they have achieved enormous traction to date. The global scalability, current adoption rates and the highly talented team, all combined to make this a very exciting investment for us. We are really looking forward to supporting the team as the business accelerates during 2016 and beyond.”
In addition to Lyon, investors include Graham Kinch; Head of Ads Policy at Google, Conor Mallaghan of Carton House, Silviu Preoteasa; Head of Marketing Technology at Hostelworld, and Silicon Valley-based Joe Gallagher, who leads up Data for Reddit. Enterprise Ireland also participated in the round via matched funding.
Co-Founders Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett are now looking to the future. “We’re now looking to make new key hires to our internal team and increase the number of external writers on the platform, as both have been key factors in the platform’s success to date and will continue to be so. We’re both grateful to all of our investors for backing the company and us. 2016 is all about scale.”
Pundit Arena was founded in November 2013 by University College Cork graduates Ross O’Dwyer and Richard Barrett. The founders were selected to participate in the IGNITE Graduate Business Innovation Programme in 2013 as separate individuals by programme Director, Eamon Curtin. Curtin subsequently saw the potential for synergy between the duo, and 9 months later the business they co-founded; Pundit Arena, was awarded the top prize on the incubator; the Bank of Ireland/IGNITE Business of the Year. The company continued to progress when John Lamphiere, who then was Regional Director at Facebook and is currently International Corporate Sales & Operations Director at Quantcast, came on board as the company’s first investor and chairman.
Users have grown dramatically since the launch of Pundit Arena. While users on the platform initially amounted to just 386 users for the month of November 2013, Pundit Arena has now amassed over 1.4 million monthly users to the platform. The United Kingdom accounts for over 40% of the users on the platform with Ireland in close second, followed by the USA, Australia and Canada in that order.
The creation and delivery of content is led by Editor in Chief John Murphy. Pundit Arena’s offering of alternative angles on the best sports content and news has gained worldwide attention with sports stars past and present such as, boxing's Sugar Ray Leonard, rugby's Nigel Owens and golf's Shane Lowry interacting with and sharing content from the platform.
Having launched the platform with just six writers in November 2013, this number has recently surpassed the 300 mark due to Pundit Arena’s unique gamified model which allows contributors to compete for cash prizes and more. The platform also allows writers to share in the earnings from syndicated content to media partners.