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London Tech Week

This football legend just launched a new investment firm in Silicon Valley

Messi-1-pic
Photo Credit: Twitter

Lionel Messi, one of the most well-known names in sports, is foraying into Silicon Valley. But you could be forgiven for thinking he’s been there the whole time.

Messi has established a company to invest in sports, media, and technology around the world in order to diversify his post-retirement income.

The Argentine soccer star is one of the world’s wealthiest celebrities. Messi’s career, which began with his time at FC Barcelona, dates back to 2004, and he has nearly 400M Instagram followers.

Messi following the trend

His entry into Silicon Valley follows a trend of major sports and entertainment figures venturing into investing. For years, local Golden State Warriors players have been open about their investments, and Serena Williams and Kevin Hart visited San Francisco last week to promote their funds. Even FC Bayern Munich’s Sporting Director, former Bosnian professional footballer Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić invested in a Stockholm-based online pharmacy startup Apotekamo.

According to a statement, Play Time Sports-Tech HoldCo LLC, based in San Francisco, will be Messi’s primary investment vehicle. The company will look into “stage agnostic” opportunities, such as assisting startup founders in building football-tech companies or investing in teams.

A report quoted him as saying, “I am thrilled that Play Time will collaborate with daring entrepreneurs from around the world,” Messi, 35.”

“I hope that Play Time’s success will benefit many people and have a positive impact on the world.” I have faith in our team and our partners to achieve our goals.”

The partnership

Razmig Hovaghimian, who founded and sold his video site Viki to Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten for $200M in 2013, is collaborating with Messi on this venture. Rakuten was also a major sponsor of FC Barcelona during Messi’s last season with the club, but did not renew its agreement after the superstar left to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.

Matchday.com is a soccer startup that was one of Play Time’s first investments, albeit one that is still in its early stages. Hovaghimian founded the company, which aspires to “create a space where fans can mingle with the world’s best athletes.”

Play Time did not specify how much money it intends to invest. In a statement, it only stated that it will be “stage agnostic,” investing in businesses at various stages and locations.

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