OneFootball Creating a Digital Sports World

Entertainment
2/11/2021

​​​​​​​​​​​​With so many live events sh​ut down during the pandemic, online entertainment platforms have become more essential than ever. This is especially true in sports, where fans can no longer go to the stadium and cheer on their favorite teams up close and personal. 

​​​So how can entrepreneurs seize on this disruption to create new and meaningful business models? In the latest episode of Samsung’s “The Next Wave” interview series, Young Sohn, Chairman of HARMAN and Senior Advisor to Samsung Electronics, sits down with Lucas von Cranach, CEO of OneFootball, to answer this question. 

Twelve years ago, Von Cranach set out to create the biggest football media platform and today the company counts 85 million active users who now have unprecedented access to their favorite teams, matches, and leagues. In their conversation, Sohn and Von Cranach delve into what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to create a business that will have maximum impact.

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Lucas Von Cranach

Founder and CEO, OneFootball

Lucas von Cranach is the founder and CEO of the world’s largest owned and operated digital football media business, OneFootball. Born in 1977 in Arnsberg, Germany, von Cranach studied economics and business administration at UC Berkeley, the London School of Economics and the Technical University of Berlin. Previously, he worked at EM.TV, Bertelsmann Venture Capital, Siemens S.A., Golding Capital Partners and the Horstmann Group.​

Driven by his passion for football and his entrepreneurial spirit, he founded OneFootball back in 2008 with the aim to provide football fans globally with the go-to source for football content on mobile devices. At a time when smartphones first came into existence, and the birth of mobile apps kick-started the modern digital age, von Cranach was convinced that the consumption of football would never be the same again. In 2009, OneFootball was the first sports app and among the first 1,000 apps ever to be listed in the Apple App Store.

His company was among the first start-ups to settle in Berlin, today known as the start-up capital of Europe, and a first mover in attracting US venture capitalists. In 2013, as part of a Series A round, van Cranach was able attract one of the major American venture capital firms, Union Square Ventures, which had already invested in various well-established companies such as Twitter, Soundcloud, tumblr, Etsy, Kickstarter or Stackoverflow. Thanks to von Cranach’s vision and determination, Union Square Ventures was soon to be joined by Earlybird, another highly regarded venture capital investor focusing on European technology innovators (e.g. N26, Wunderlist).

In subsequent years, further prominent venture capitalists joined the list of investors, such as Lakestar (e.g. Spotify, Facebook), TPG Growth (e.g. Airbnb), but also strategic partners from the football industry, including global player adidas, the Hopp Family Office (SAP founder) and the American sports marketing agency Creative Artist Agency (“CAA”). In addition, renowned personalities such as Herbert Hainer, former adidas CEO, Philipp Schindler, global Board Member at Google, and Jorg Kukies, former CEO of Goldman Sachs Germany and now State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Finance, have personally committed to von Cranach’s project and joined the company as investors over the years.

In December 2020, OneFootball acquired Dugout to reshape the football digital media landscape and form the world’s largest owned and operated digital football media business. The acquisition saw Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Olympique de Marseille join OneFootball as shareholders. OneFootball now has close to 300 employees at its headquarters in Berlin and across regional offices in London, New York, Singapore, Istanbul, Cairo, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. Following the acquisition, von Cranach will lead a company that has hundreds of partnerships with the world’s largest clubs, leagues and federations, media publishers, brands and advertisers.

In addition to his role at OneFootball, von Cranach uses his vast knowledge, experience and network to drive a variety of different entrepreneurial projects. He is recognised by industry experts as a serial entrepreneur who has successfully invested in several up-and-coming start-ups across Europe and the USA.

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