NOCAP Sports, a platform connecting college athletes and universities to corporate sponsors, just announced a $2.5 million seed capital raise. The round was led by Florida Funders with participation from investors including the Florida Institute, College Hunks Hauling Junk CEO Omar Soliman, and an executive from sports marketing agency Wasserman.
When 24-year-old co-founder Nicholas Lord (pictured above) was a Division-III basketball player, he saw firsthand how athletes weren’t getting a fair shake when it came to monetizing their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
“A bunch of my friends were high level athletes, and I began to realize how much they were being taken advantage of,” Lord told Refresh Miami. “I realized how much revenue they were bringing into the schools, but the craziest part was that they didn’t have the rights to their own name.”
That all changed last July, when the NCAA changed its rules to allow college athletes to make money off its NIL. Lord identified the opportunity and pounced. He teamed up with Casey Floyd, former Director of Compliance at the University of Michigan, and veteran technologist Stan Golubtsov.
The platform simplifies the sponsorship process for all parties involved, ensuring compliance at every stage of the process. Through NOCAP, universities and athletes can find the best opportunities to make the most of their personal brands. On the flip side, brands and agencies get access to thousands of athletes, plus advanced analytics and communications tools.
Lord reports that the platform currently has 64 universities signed up, including big names like the University of San Diego, the University of New Mexico, and Boise State University. NOCAP Sports has prioritized onboarding universities because it was “an easier way for [them] to get as many athletes as possible,” said Lord. But athletes from any university who play any sport are welcome to join.
While NOCAP was officially founded in May 2020, the company pivoted to its current model over the summer. The co-founders, based in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, are yet to meet in person, but have worked with each other remotely for over a year.
The NOCAP Sports team expects this seed funding will help them on three fronts. First, it will enable them to expand their marketing apparatus. “We spent zero dollars on marketing until a month ago,” said Lord, noting that most of their growth had come from direct relationships with universities. Second, they will expand their development team in order to further hone their product. More developers on board will also enable the startup to release new features for athletes and agents. Third, they plan to make some strategic hires. Top of the list is a VP of Sales. Including these new hires in the pipeline, NOCAP Sports will imminently have 10 full-time employees.
Despite having roots in Philadelphia, NOCAP Sports is deeply connected with the South Florida tech ecosystem. Lord said that the team plans to make Miami their homebase in early 2022 to take advantage of South Florida’s strong sports scene – including access to top talent and agents.
As for the future, Lord is keen to keep pushing forward: “I’m just excited to continue building for our customers and bring more people onto our team and continue meeting people along the way.”
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