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Social Network Sqor Wants to Help Athletes Crowdfund Themselves

With NFL great Brett Favre as a spokesman, Sqor is expanding into crowdfunding.

Sqor Inc., a social network focused exclusively on sports, isn’t following the typical social media roadmap.

Just over a year after launch, the service still doesn’t have private messages or detailed user profiles. Instead, Sqor is jumping into crowdfunding, and if all goes to plan, it thinks one of the NFL’s most legendary quarterbacks — who’s made millions in endorsements alone over his career — can help athletes in less popular sports like racquetball or UFC use their social followers to fund their professional careers.

Brett Favre, who won multiple MVP awards and set NFL passing records during a 20-year career (primarily) with the Green Bay Packers, is using Sqor to crowdfund The Favre 4 Hope Foundation, a charity he started to help breast cancer survivors. Lots of athletes have foundations, and charity funding is one of the two main uses Sqor CEO Brian Wilhite envisions for the crowdfunding product, which the startup unveiled last month.

The other use case: Athletes funding their own training or travel expenses. Lots of athletes who play niche sports don’t get the sponsorship dollars or pro contracts to fund their careers. These are the athletes Wilhite believes he can help, and while charity campaigns are the only ones allowed at the moment, personal campaigns are coming soon.

Wilhite’s working with Favre, who is also a Sqor investor and board member, to get the (pro bowling?) ball rolling on the new product.

Favre, who doesn’t consider himself tech or investment savvy, had never heard of crowdfunding until a few months ago. He essentially serves as a spokesperson for the company, he told Re/code, but he loved the crowdfunding idea and was eager to try it out. In the past month, Favre has raised almost $12,000 for his foundation by offering items like autographs or even follow-backs on Sqor in exchange for donations. For comparison, the average Kickstarter campaign brings in just over $7,400.

“It’s very impressive,” says Favre, who says he doesn’t have plans for any more tech investments at the moment. “It would have been neat if Sqor was up and running when I was playing.”

Brett's campaign

Ideally, Sqor will attract athletes in need of training or travel expenses — and with them, their fans. It’s not unheard of. The Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the Sochi Winter Olympics this past February raised more than $100,000 for travel expenses and equipment costs using a number of different crowdfunding services.

That doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be easy. There’s a slew of well-established crowdfunding services out there, including GoFundMe, which is used for similar personal-funding projects. The company may also run into issues if NCAA athletes start using the platform. The NCAA has a number of rules about players accepting cash, either before or during their collegiate careers; doing so can harm that athlete’s status as an “amateur,” which the NCAA requires.

And while Favre’s campaign has generated good money, a handful of other campaigns on the platform haven’t been as popular. None have raised more than $400.

Still, Sqor hopes crowdfunding athletes will give both fans and athletes a reason to come use the platform. If it does, well, it’ll be a score.

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