BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mercury, the leading fan experience company for top student athletes and collegiate sports programs, today announced a $7.5 million seed funding round led by Multicoin Capital with participation from North Island Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Brevan Howard Digital, and others. The funding will be used to expand Mercury’s leadership team as it scales to support a growing pipeline of athletic programs reimagining the fan experience.
The funding announcement comes after Mercury recently announced a new group NIL signing of over 70 Kentucky Athletics’ student-athletes for the University’s Mercury-powered fan engagement platform. The platform features a robust NFT-gated fan community with exclusive experiences, such as access to sit-down interviews with players and coaches, limited NFT drops and a community marketplace. The company also recently partnered with the University of Central Florida’s athletic department and Clemson University’s athletic department, and will partner with the University of Oklahoma’s athletic department, Villanova University’s athletic department, and other top programs this fall. In each of these partnerships, Mercury works closely with student-athletes and university athletics departments to design and build tailored community platforms that cater specifically to their fans and collegiate traditions.
“We are grateful to our investors, brand partners, and the athletes who trust us with their personal brands as we build the future of the fan experience,” said Porter Grieve, CEO of Mercury. “We’re fortunate to already have a strong pipeline of schools interested in using Mercury to build bespoke fan-engagement platforms. This funding helps us capture that interest and create innovative experiences for athletes, universities, and most importantly, fans.”
Mercury is best known for Kansas University’s Rock Chalk fan site and University of Kentucky’s Blue Chips fan community. These sites showcase the power of Mercury’s platform, which makes it possible to deliver fans a front row seat to athlete conversations, specialized team content, and digital collectibles that unlock special access to games and other college events.
“Mercury is catalyzing NFT adoption at the collegiate level by unlocking compelling new experiences that bring fans closer to the athletes and schools they love,” said Matt Shapiro, Partner at Multicoin Capital. “Mercury is creating a rich design space for fan experience innovation. In only a very short time, they have become a schelling point for passionate fans, college culture, and athlete monetization.”
In addition to a series of large partnership deals set to be unveiled this fall, Mercury continues to strengthen its senior leadership team. The company recently hired former three-time Division I All-American and sports media personality Adam Breneman as Vice President of NIL and Media to work directly with top athletes to cultivate their personal brands across the company’s fan platforms, and on Mercury’s recently launched Next Up podcast series.
“The first wave of popular NFT projects were mostly 2D static images that served a niche market of crypto enthusiasts but we believe the next big wave of successful Web3 projects will be more interactive and relatable, thereby reaching a broader, more mainstream audience,” said Travis Scher, Managing Partner at North Island Ventures. “The potential for Web3 in sports marketing is particularly immense, and Mercury has already delivered terrific fan engagement experiences in the college sports world. We have tremendous confidence in Porter and team’s ability to execute on their grand vision, and are thrilled to be a part of the journey.”
“The Mercury team has effectively created a season-long digital front row seat for fans,” said Matt Bigge, Partner at Crosslink Capital. “In a world of commoditization, Mercury has tapped the need for specialized, memorable content that shows real depth and connection, and that’s what sets them apart.”
Mercury’s platforms deepen the fan experience by using digital collectibles built around student-athletes, collegiate landmarks, traditions, and legacies, and using the collectibles as a gateway to an interactive community that helps universities and athletes engage and retain their audience and unlock previously inaccessible revenue streams.
“Athletes will be attracted to the schools that offer them the optimal platform to monetize their name, image, and likeness by authentically engaging directly with their fans,” said Colleen Sullivan, Co-Head, Ventures, at Brevan Howard. “Mercury is building so much more than “NFT collectibles”; they have imagined, created, and delivered to top universities a net new experience for athletes and fans alike that wouldn’t be possible without the combination of blockchain technology and their deep substantive experience.”
Mercury will use the fresh funding to expand their partnerships to new schools, grow their significant NIL roster of student-athletes, and expand their offerings to build out a robust fan experience for each of their communities.
A full list of the company’s university partners and its platforms are accessible on Mercury’s website. To learn more about Mercury’s platform and Web3-enabled NIL and collegiate experiences, please visit https://teammercury.io/.
Mercury was founded in 2021 to create an exclusive digital experience for top collegiate brands to bring fans closer to their favorite athletes and teams. The company partners with leading collegiate brands across sports to build hyper-local platforms for a modern fan experience. Its communities encompass dynamic conversations with and between athletes, specialized team content, and digital collectibles and passes to unlock special access for fans.
About Multicoin Capital
Multicoin Capital is a thesis-driven investment firm that invests in cryptocurrencies, tokens, and blockchain companies. Crypto networks and companies will create trillions of dollars of value over the next decade. But investing in tokens is fundamentally different than investing in companies. New tools, heuristics, and security measures are needed to responsibly invest in this ecosystem. We leverage our deep understanding of blockchain technology and crypto markets to deliver exceptional returns. For more information, visit: https://multicoin.capital/.