Sponsorship Software Start-up Secures Seed Funding To Accelerate Global Expansion.


CrownBet CEO Matt Tripp’s $600K seed funding investment in SponServe, the Australian sponsorship software start-up, builds on its early success and primes it to make even bigger inroads into the $8B global sponsorship market.


“At CrownBet and in my previous roles we’ve relied heavily on sponsorship in our marketing,” says Tripp.


“As a sponsor I know first-hand how administration heavy managing sponsorships is, on both sides of the fence, and how easily things can get missed or go wrong.


“When I saw how SponServe addresses those painful issues I immediately saw the opportunity and wanted to be involved. It is really exciting to be involved as it is the first of its kind software in the world”


In 2014, Tripp, in a joint venture with Crown Resorts, established CrownBet after previously selling his stake in the online gambling business SportsBet to Irish based Paddy Power.


Since then, along with establishing CrownBet, Tripp is also part of the group, led by Gerry Ryan, Jayco caravan tycoon, and who bought the Melbourne Storm NRL team.


Since launching in June 2015, SponServe has focused on rights holders in Australia and New Zealand. This has not only included sports but also not-for-profits, events and the Arts.


In the past 15 months they have built an impressive list of clients including Trek Factory Racing, the professional road cycling team, current A-League Champions Adelaide United, seven NRL Clubs and a whole-of-sport procurement for Netball Australia to provide access to the States and their National League teams.


The team has had initial success in New Zealand with the Chiefs Super Rugby Franchise, Football New Zealand and Touch Football New Zealand and are progressing discussions with many more rights holders.


The idea for SponServe was born from the first-hand frustration of managing sponsorships at a rights holder and the lack of dedicated software available.


“Every other function of the business has dedicated software to help it. Sales have CRMs, Membership has databases, Merchandise have retail software and Finance have accounting software. Sponsorship has nothing!” says Mark Thompson, SponServe’s Managing Director.


“The partnership team are just left to try and use spreadsheets and folders. That’s not good enough when you consider that sponsorship is one of the biggest income streams for rights holders. I thought that it was time to do something about it” Thompson adds.


With co-founders Tim Canham (Chief Technology Officer) and Daniel Oyston (Chief Marketing Officer), the group set about building the platform and in 2015, SponServe was a finalist in the Australian Sports Technology Network’s National Sports Tech pitching competition.


SponServe then went on to win the ACT Government – Sports Tech New Innovators Award which was presented by Andrew Barr, ACT Chief Minister.


Today, the software now provides rights holders complete overview and control of their commercial program. The software tracks all benefits and inventory and creates relationships between that data, the sponsors who receive it and the events at which it needs to be delivered and does so over multiple years.


It provides complete end-to-end reporting so that everything that is contractually obliged to be delivered is delivered and sales can be maximised.


That type of oversight and control simply cannot be achieved with spreadsheets or non-dedicated software and so it is an attractive proposition for rights holders including the Brisbane Broncos who are widely regarded as having one of the best run commercial programs in Australia.


“We are really excited to partner with SponServe to streamline the administration of our sponsorship program. The SponServe platform addresses some inefficiencies that all rights holders face in tracking and allocating multiple benefits to current and potential sponsors.


“The system is providing us with useful technology to simplify the administration of our sponsorship accounts and is something that all rights holders will benefit from using,” says Terry Reader, General Manager, Marketing & Commercial Operations at the NRMA Insurance Broncos


The company plans to use the investment to accelerate its international growth and product development,” says Thompson.


“We will shortly be launching a brand version so that sponsors and rights holders can connect their systems and reduce admin and risk even further but ultimately maximize their partnerships.”


“This will give them back time which they can spend building meaningful relationships with each other as that is the foundation of any great sponsorship.”


It’s not just the funds that will assist SponServe with Tripp’s networks proving very attractive.


“I intend to use my extensive network to open as many doors as I possibly can, both in Australia and overseas. Considering how much pain rights holders and brands feel in managing their sponsorship, I am positive that we will make great progress quickly” adds Tripp.


Part of the investment will see Chris Dow become SponServe’s Chairman. Chris has extensive international business experience having founded and managed the ground-breaking UK based recycling company – Closed Loop Recycling.


“I’ve been impressed with what SponServe has been able to achieve in such a short amount of time,” say Dow.


“Many start-up software companies bleed money and take many years to make a profit, if at all. The unique blend of the team now means that we have the perfect combination of networks, experience and in-house skills to really grow the business. The future for SponServe is very exciting.”


About SponServe: Rights Holders face numerous sponsorship challenges which impact their ability to attract, serve and retain sponsors. SponServe is a software solution that streamlines and enhances sponsorship servicing and inventory management through simple to use cloud based software.


SponServe easily allows the planning and tracking of deliverables, inventory management, on-going reporting and sponsors acquittal. SponServe also assists in managing the risk associated with single points of failure and loss of knowledge during staff turnover.