Daps, a new platform launching today, will let fans buy a range of digital experiences from athletes at all levels, starting with basketball players.
The pre-seed startup has onboarded former NBA All-Star Penny Hardaway; current NBA players Jonathan Kuminga, Duncan Robinson and Jose Alvarado; and a number of men’s and women’s college players from Duke, Kentucky, and elsewhere, as well as a few high school-level athletes. It plans to continue adding players on an invite-only basis.
On Daps, players can offer a range of online services, from relatively cheap video and text shoutouts to experiences like playing video games together that could cost more than $1,000.
“There’s this really big gap that exists right now between what the modern generation of sports fans want in terms of how they’re able to access and interact with their favorite athletes and what athletes have been able to provide them,” Daps cofounder Jake Klores told Sportico.
Klores, a former Columbia basketball player who graduated last year, cofounded Daps with Ryan Berger, who played college ball at Ithaca and previously built and sold influencer marketing software platform HYPR.
“When we were growing up, it was all about getting an autograph, and that autograph sits in your room and really nobody ever gets to see it,” Berger said in an interview. “Now … the new autographs are these digital experiences that you can have for life.”
While other platforms such as Cameo and OnlyFans have come along to help a wide swath of online personalities monetize their audience, Daps’ founders said that athletes deserve a more dedicated marketplace—and that fans would appreciate the company’s focus on sports. (Daps plans to eventually expand beyond basketball players and personalities.) The startup has also committed to donating a portion of its earnings to anti-gun violence organization Everytown as well as the Brittney Griner Advocacy Account.
“Daps allows me to interact with fans in a whole new way,” Kuminga said in a statement. “When testing the app, I got to feel how easy it is to put a huge smile on a fan’s face and I can’t wait to keep doing more of that.”