Romanian entrepreneur poised to launch first fan-funding platform for footballers

Romanian entrepreneur poised to launch first fan-funding platform for footballers
/ Nordensea
By bne IntelliNews April 6, 2023

Adrian Docea, founder and CEO of Nordensa, the world's first fan-funding platform for football talent, outlined the company’s plans for a global launch in an interview with bne IntelliNews

Docea and his colleagues are currently preparing to launch the platform that will offer football fans the opportunity to support young players from developing countries to play for European clubs. Fans, meanwhile, will get the chance to hold a stake in the future success of the players they support.

Prior to the launch of Nordensa, Docea says, financial ownership in the football world was largely reserved for wealthy individuals and shareholders. The new app will now give fans the opportunity to fund players, who have an offer from a club in Europe. The funding will cover the player's salary and expenses for the first year. 

“We started thinking about how football is not fair for so many players around the world, because you always have to know someone who knows someone. It’s so conservative as an industry,” Docea told bne IntelliNews

“The other problem is fan engagement, which is not as advanced as fans would want. What fans want is to have a share in the game. They want to own something, to be part of it. What they get is a remote control, betting odds, a scarf with a club logo, and that’s not ownership. When we built Nordensa, we found a way for problem two to solve problem one by getting fans to invest in young talent.” 

The platform aims to give talented young players from underprivileged areas a chance to be discovered by football scouts from around the world, who have been vetted by Premier League and Bundesliga-level scouts. This provides smaller clubs with access to a wider pool of talent. 

Speaking by zoom from Cluj, in Romania’s Transylvania region, Docea says he spent much of the last few months building the team. He is based in Romania, where he previously founded, but the team is an international one, hailing from 10 different countries. 

Nordensa plans to earn money by sponsoring players, with the player returning a percentage of their earnings to the app. The model is simple, with 3% of the earnings kept by Nordensa to cover costs, 3% going back to the fans, and 1% being used for promotion. 

“I expect most investors to have an emotional connection with players they back, but there will be some just want make profit, which is fine,” said Docea. 

The app works by listing players that have been validated by a team of scouts, who use data scouting to identify talented players. While Docea stresses there is an element of risk for investors, to increase the chances of players picked succeeding the team also interviews players and uses sports psychologists to ensure that they have the right mindset for success. 

The Nordensa app is due to launch in 2023, at which point the first partner clubs and scouted players will be announced. Nordensa has already made contacts with several clubs in Portugal and Spain, and is planning to sign contracts with them soon. 

Nordensa’s scouts are currently focusing on players in Africa and the Middle East. Alongside data scouting, there are plans to start two pilot projects directly with football academies in first Nigeria and later Ghana. 

Commenting on the new company’s strategy, Docea says: “I’m amazed at how slow and traditional things are in football and I think we can change this. There are some smart clubs out there really changing the game. We are not a competitor with clubs or agents we’re a software company, an app and because we’re in the middle [between players and clubs] we can really help change football and update the way things are done.” 

Nordensa has already raised a pre-seed funding round of €750,000 from a group of angel investors mainly from the UK. This closed in just four days rather than the 20 originally envisaged, and was large enough to help the founders build the app and team, and start approaching clubs. A second funding round is likely in the coming months.