Mentioned in this article
- Sponsorship data platform FanAI has hired Jeff Katz as chief product & strategy officer and Adam Holt as senior vice president of sales.
- The additions of Katz and Holt fuels FanAI’s growth strategy as the company expands its offerings beyond esports to traditional sports and brands, which taps into a $65B USD global sponsorship market.
- In November 2019, FanAI raised an $8M investment led by Japanese trading house Marubeni to finance the company’s expansion in the context of which the new hires were made.
Today, sponsorship data platform FanAI announced the addition of Jeff Katz as chief product & strategy officer and Adam Holt as senior vice president of sales. Holt and Katz join FanAI from Hookit and GumGum Sports, respectively. The additions of Katz and Holt fuels FanAI’s growth strategy as the company expands its offerings beyond esports to traditional sports and brands.
Prior to joining FanAI, Jeff Katz conceptualized and launched sponsor media valuation platform GumGum Sports in 2016. Before GumGum, Katz was the director of mobile business development at Verizon Media (formerly AOL). Katz has spent most of his career as an innovation expert, with over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur, creating and bringing media technology products to market.
In a conversation with The Esports Observer, Katz explained that he first met Johannes Waldstein, founder and CEO of FanAI, through an adviser who is a mutual connection. “We formed a partnership between GumGum Sports and FanAI; GumGum Sports did the media valuation and FanAI helped with audience analytics. We brought that as a joined solution to the esports space and closed some really big brands together, some big esports organizations as well as esports brands in that partnership,” remembered Katz.
“It was clear that esports was a rocket ship and was going to experience massive amounts of growth,” explained Katz answering the question of why he decided to join an esports-focused company. “From my digital marketing tech background, I knew that essentially the sponsorship space was overdue for a new level of accountability in that brand executives are calling for a greater level of accountability in sponsorship measurement to be more in line with other marketing channels.”
Furthermore, he said that “brands are struggling to connect real business outcomes to their marketing efforts. Today, most of the sponsorship metrics are top-of-the-funnel such as exposure, awareness, favorability. They don’t necessarily adequately answer the question of ‘did this actually move the needle in terms of sales?’” In his new position at FanAI, Katz is trying to help solve this issue for esports and sports sponsors.
Adam Holt’s professional background revolves around sports, media, and entertainment, where he has been responsible for building and leading sales organizations, including at Hookit and Shareablee, through their high-growth phases, including post-series A funding.
Holt said in a conversation with The Esports Observer that “joining FanAI is a fantastic opportunity for me personally. I came from a company, where traditionally sponsorship media valuation was the key focus. In my previous roles, I sat in board rooms and conference calls with CMOs, CFOs, and CEOs and the challenge they continually gave to me was, I can see that I earned $1M in media valuation but what does this do for my business objectives which is increasing my revenue. Previously I wasn’t able to tell them that. But now, working at FanAI, I‘m able to answer those questions, which is the big reason why I decided to join FanAI.”
“It’s an interesting space,” said Holt about the appeal of the esports industry and what he is looking forward to working on at FanAI. “The way we’re approaching this is unlike any other people who have attempted and done similar things in the market. It’s a real white space opportunity for us to establish ourselves as the currency and industry leader in the space.”
In November 2019, FanAI closed an $8M Series A investment led by Japanese Trading House Marubeni to support the company’s continued expansion and growth.
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