Two former AFL players have raised $1 million in investment to relaunch the tech start-up they started five years ago and expand the business overseas.
PickStar was founded by former St Kilda and Adelaide Crows player James Begley, in conjunction with Fremantle legend Matthew Pavlich, in 2013 as a means of linking professional sportspeople who lacked the high-profile sponsorship deals with businesses and community organisations looking for speakers, local brand ambassadors and personalities for marketing campaigns.
It takes a 25 per cent commission from completed bookings for brokering the deal.
“Typically, it is a 60-step process to find and book a sports star and our technology now automates most of that process. Clients can now tender their requests to PickStar’s talent marketplace or directly to talent; talents are notified and can respond instantly,” Mr Begley explained.
“The system also includes reminders, notifications, invoicing, payments and reporting. Since launching the new platform, we have been able to facilitate complete bookings within an hour.”
It was a hard slog initially, with the business only really gaining traction within the last two years, followed by a significant surge in activity in 2018.
The company currently has more than 900 registered athletes and sports stars from both footy codes as well as soccer, cricket and swimming, as well as current star of TV’s The Bachelor Nick Cummins.
Mr Begley said PickStar has to date brokered more than 1,000 commercial relationships.
Having closed a capital raising of $1 million this year, PickStar has plans to invest in enhancing its technology platform as well as expand overseas, with plans to launch within the next 12 months in both New Zealand and the UK.
“We’re very happy to have secured backing from some well-known sports personalities, as well as a sophisticated cohort of investors and business leaders,” Mr Begley said.
“We are using this funding to develop a PickStar app and talent management system for agents and managers, as well as speed up our expansion into New Zealand and the UK.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.