Lionel Messi is unarguably one of the best players to have graced the soccer field. And as his illustrious career’s finishing line appears closer each day, the Argentine superstar is looking to secure his future through startup investments.It appears that once Messi has completed his run as a premier football player, he is reluctant to bid a complete farewell to the sports world which has elevated him to lofty heights.
Messi will be making a foray into the tech space with the creation of Play Time Sports-Tech HoldCo LLC, a holding company to make investments in the sports, media, and technology arenas, all across the globe. Headquartered in San Francisco, Play Time is the brainchild between the Messi Group and Silicon Valley execs Razmig Hovaghimian and Michael Marquez, and will help startup founders build “football-tech” firms, as well as acquire stakes in several sports teams.
“I am excited to extend our roots into Silicon Valley, and I am thrilled that Play Time will collaborate with daring entrepreneurs from all over the world. I hope that through its success Play Time will help many people and have a positive impact on the world. I trust in the team and our partners to achieve our objectives,” Messi said in a statement.
Hovaghimian, who is a partner at VC firm Graph Ventures and the co-founder of football venture and interactive website Matchday.com, will be the CEO and in charge of running Play Time, while Marquez, founding partner of investment bank Code Advisors LLC, will be a special adviser to the investment vehicle.
“From the time I met Leo and the Messi family in 2017, it was clear that their vision for the future is bold. They want to continue to have a direct and lasting impact on and off the pitch,” Hovaghimian said in a statement, adding, “We’re all in, starting by building a strong bridge between football’s 5B fans and technology.”
Play Time has already poured the dollars into Matchday.com, which is expected to launch ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The World Cup, which is likely to be Messi’s last ahead of his retirement, will begin next month. The holding company also made its maiden seed-stage investment in football-tech startup AC Momento, which teams up with clubs and players and auctions match-worn memorabilia to fans.