Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the best players to grace the football field. And with the end of his illustrious career drawing ever closer, the Argentine superstar is looking to secure his future by investing in startups. It seems that after Messi has ended his career as a top footballer, he does not want to completely say goodbye to the sports world that raised him to great heights.
Messi will foray into the tech space with the creation of Play Time Sports-Tech HoldCo LLC, a holding company that will make investments in sports, media and technology around the world. Play Time, headquartered in San Francisco, is the creation of Messi Group and Silicon Valley executives Razmig Havagimian and Michael Marquez. The company will help startup founders build “soccer tech” companies as well as acquire stakes in multiple sports teams.
“I’m excited to expand our roots in Silicon Valley, and I’m thrilled that Play Time will be partnering with bold entrepreneurs from around the world. I hope that through its success, Play Time will help many people and make a positive impact on the world. I trust the team and our partners to achieve our goals,” Messi said in a statement.
Havaghimian, who is a partner at venture capital firm Graph Ventures and co-founder of soccer venture and interactive website Matchday.com, will be CEO and will be responsible for managing Play Time, while Marquez, a founding partner at investment bank Code Advisors LLC, will be special adviser of the investment mechanism.
“Since I met Leo and the Messi family in 2017, it has become clear that their vision for the future is bold. They want to continue to make an immediate and lasting impact on and off the field,” Havaghimian said in a statement, adding, “We’re all for it, starting with building a strong bridge between 5B soccer fans and technology.”
Play Time has already invested in 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 before his career, starts next month. The holding company also made its first seed investment in football tech startup AC Momento, which teams up with clubs and players to auction off match-worn memorabilia to fans.