Kevin Durant and a pair of FanDuel co-founders are among those going in on 2020’s sports card boom via a seed-round investment in card marketplace StarStock. Investors Jeremy Levine and A.J. Vaynerchuk as well as basketball player Matthew Dellavedova also joined the $1.3 million raise.
Founded in November 2019, StarStock currently has nearly 200,000 cards for sale in its centralized storage facility, allowing users to buy and sell rights to cards without having to deal with shipping. Individuals are able to mail parts of their collection to StarStock and have purchased cards sent from the company. StarStock takes a 5% fee from sellers. Many transactions are made for cards worth less than $10, but some deals have stretched into the thousands of dollars.
“What we really focused on was building a seller experience that took out friction,” StarStock co-founder and CEO Scott Greenberg said, pointing specifically to the amount of time it took to mail cards to buyers before they could be flipped again. “Being a millennial who sets up my fantasy lineup 30 seconds before a game starts, I just didn’t understand that.”
Co-founder Mike Kuchera was an early FanDuel employee, and Greenberg said a large portion of StarStock’s team came from the fantasy platform world. “I personally think sports cards are the best way to make money on your sports knowledge,” he said.
StarStock launched in May, just as sports card trading received a new wave of interest.
“What we’re experiencing today I have never experienced my entire life, let alone in my career at PSA and Collectors Universe,” Joe Orlando, CEO of Collectors Universe, the largest grading and authentication company in sports memorabilia, told Sportico in September. “It’s the most exciting time that I’ve ever been a part of this hobby.” Weeks earlier, a Mike Trout rookie card had sold for a record-setting $3.9 million. Collectors Universe’s stock price has nearly tripled over the last year.
“As a lifelong sports fan, it’s been incredible to watch how tech has changed the way we trade memorabilia and created a revamped culture around trading cards,” said Rich Kleiman, another new SportStock investor and co-founder of Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures. “There is an immense opportunity to take sports memorabilia to the masses.”
Thirty Five Ventures has now invested in dozens of startups, including Postmates, Whoop and Overtime.
(This story has been updated to add additional quotes from StarStock CEO Scott Greenberg and other startups that Thirty Five Ventures has invested in.)