Mountain View, California (EastBayDaily) — FanChatter, Inc., the mobile social fan engagement company, today announced it has received a seed round of funding from Silicon Valley investment firm Y Combinator.
The capital infusion comes during a highly productive summer for the Minnesota-based startup, whose technology leverages social media to engage fans and generate more revenue for sports franchises and other businesses. In addition to doubling its client roster and updating its popular Scoreboard Photo Sharing feature, FanChatter recently introduced its new ChatterBox social media aggregator/publisher on the homepage of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
ChatterBox displays a real-time feed of the social media conversation surrounding the Timberwolves in a single column on the team’s official website. Fans are invited to sign in with their Twitter and Facebook accounts and sort by their friends as well as publish their own chatter directly on the Timberwolves’ homepage. It debuted on July 11th at the start of the team’s NBA Las Vegas Summer League schedule and became an instant hit.
“We love it,” said Ted Johnson, Timberwolves Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “ChatterBox enables us to capture the online conversation about the Timberwolves and allows fans to participate right from our home page. Our fans love it too and tell us that they visit our site more often, primarily because there’s always something new to see or say in the ChatterBox.”
FanChatter’s Scoreboard Photo Sharing technology allows fans at stadium events to share their own mobile photos on the jumbotron for all to see. Approved photos are also posted to a branded web gallery in real-time, creating a popular attraction on the organization or sponsor website filled with images of fans having a good time.
The feature is currently in its second season with Major League Baseball’s Minnesota Twins and sponsor Qwest Communications, who have seen the average number of “Qwest TwinsPics” received per game more than double since last year.
“Fans take a lot of photos at ballgames,” said FanChatter co-founder and CEO Marty Wetherall. “They chatter online during events. We allow organizations to harness this content in ways that not only benefit sponsors, but also leverage all the real-time engagement and data that fan content sharing provides.”
“Our clients and their sponsors have shown an appreciation for the fans’ point of view, and the fans are rewarding them with their attention,” said Wetherall. “The ChatterBox along with Scoreboard Photo Sharing effectively turn fans from customers into ‘users’, which in this sense means they’re actively engaged and participating on a recurring basis. That’s extremely valuable for any organization.”
FanChatter is actively seeking to add more sports franchises and sponsors to its growing client roster as well as social media forerunners in other event industries like music and television. Additional platforms including video sharing and mobile applications are in the works along with updates that will allow Scoreboard Photo Sharing and ChatterBox to work together as a real-time hub of fan content and engagement.
About FanChatter: FanChatter offers a platform for sports teams and other organizations to engage their fans through content sharing and generate more revenue through sales and sponsorships. As the first Y Combinator company originating out of Minneapolis, MN, FanChatter is operated by co-founders Marty Wetherall, Luke Francl, and Norm Orstad. Clients include the Minnesota Twins (MLB), the University of Oklahoma Sooners (NCAA) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) among several other professional and college teams and events. For an updated client roster visit http://fanchatter.com.
About Y Combinator: Y Combinator is a venture fund based in Mountain View, CA which focuses on seed investments to startup companies with “good” ideas. Described in Newsweek as “Silicon Valley meets Amercian Idol”, it offers financing and business consulting along with other opportunities to 2-4 person companies looking to take an idea to a product. The company made its first investments in Summer 2005 and successful exits by Y Combinator funded companies include Reddit, Omnisio and Zenter. Other successful companies that went through Y Combinator include Loopt, Justin.tv, Weebly and Scribd. For more information visit http://ycombinator.com.