Loupe Tech Inc., a new sports card breaking app launched in October, has since closed $3 million in funding with a first round led by Upfront Ventures. Notable card collector Nat Turner has also contributed capital to help accelerate Loupe's innovative business model.
Sports and trading cards are a multi-billion-dollar market, with eBay selling 45 million cards in 2020, and rookie cards of star athletes like LeBron James and Mike Trout selling for more than $1 million each at auction.
An emergent trend within the hobby is a craze called “box breaking.” In box breaks, audiences watch live as a seller opens buyers’ cards on video. Box breaking has specifically been credited as one of the primary reasons the sports card hobby has undergone a renaissance and has spiked in popularity.
Loupe provides the first unified platform for breakers to live stream and sell sealed packs and single cards to collectors. The service thrives because it’s able to maintain a deep pool of buyers and a solid stable of sellers, all in one place. Loupe also removes the friction of other sports card box breaks by providing all tools—from start to end of the transaction—for a seamless experience with nearly no latency. On any given night, you will find card collectors coming together in one place to chat about sports cards and adding to their fast-growing collections. Loupe Tech’s approach to eagerly supporting box breaking has been validated by strong 100 percent month-over-month revenues.
“Demand for sports cards has skyrocketed over the past 12 months and it’s clear the hobby wasn’t prepared for the surge in buyers,” says Loupe founder and CEO Eric Doty. “Our mission is simple: We want to bring modern technology to the card-collecting hobby. The initial reception to Loupe has been so tremendous that we’re confident this segment has been itching for its own dedicated streaming platform. We’re fortunate to have partnered with fantastic investors, like Upfront Ventures, who share that vision with us at an early stage in our company’s history.”
"The surging consumer interest in sports collectibles, live interactive video content, and new commerce platforms make Loupe a special opportunity," said Greg Bettinelli, Partner at Upfront Ventures. "Eric and his business are combining the three elements of breakout marketplace success—current segment fragmentation, passionate fandom, and product scarcity—and we are thrilled to support him on this journey."
Loupe Tech, Inc. recently relocated to the Miami area from Los Angeles with most of its team coming from backgrounds of video games and live video tools. The company intends to aggressively hire in the coming months to support the service’s faster-than-projected growth. It also plans to quickly expand on the service by developing a host of user-requested features, signing high-profile sellers, and inking strategic partnerships in the pro sports space.