Welcome to this very special edition of our "Meet the Manager" series, where we get to put the Co-Founders of Footstock, Tilmann Weischer and Oliver Renner, under the spotlight.
Before we kick-off, I'd just like to give a special thanks to Till and Oliver for taking the time to do this article, it is very much appreciated. So without further ado, lets Meet the Directors...
What are your names?
Tilmann and Oliver
Which clubs do you support?
Tilmann: I love my home team FC Cologne.
Oliver: I support Red Bull Salzburg.
What are your backgrounds?
Tilmann: Before founding Footstock with Oliver, I was the Managing Director of the CBS Cologne Business School.
Oliver: My background is in building software products. Before teaming up with Till, I led various projects as an employee and consultant, building products serving millions of customers.
How would you describe Footstock to somebody who has never heard of it before?
Footstock is a combination of card trading and fantasy football where you can use your football knowledge to win real money. You can buy player cards from every Premier League club and use them in fantasy football tournaments throughout the season.
We run tournaments for the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, Carabao Cup and FA Cup, so the fun never stops. With different rewards and challenges, alongside games such as raffles and roulette, there’s plenty of ways to build your player collection and bankroll even on non-match days. Footstock really is a 24-7, 365 hub of footballing action.
John Nellis (@IRISHFI1 - Twitter)
I'd like to know about your marketing strategy going forward?
We redirected our course on marketing a few weeks back, focusing more on spreading the word via blogs, communities and influencers. This proved to be successful and we are very happy with the short term results.
Going forward, we plan to launch a blog and more Footstock/football related content very early in 2020. Additionally, we are continuously placing ads on big DFS/FUT/FPL related websites and blogs (We’re proud to say we’re the exclusive sponsors of the High Wide and Handsome podcast and the premier Facebook FIFA 20 group with over 60,000 users). We address this topic a few more times later in the interview.
Stu (@Redsjb77 - Twitter)
We currently see big drops when a user sells up. How do you plan to address this and get new users on board?
We had a big pool of early Footstock backers, and naturally not everybody wanted to stay involved due to various reasons. The volatility of the market post IGG did take us by surprise, and as with any new product we’ve seen multiple ups and downs. This did provide opportunities for new users or active traders to reap some profits, but also took many backers who didn’t trade actively into a negative ROI.
As the number of active users is constantly rising, combined with decent promotions, we are confident that the overall card prices will keep the current upward trajectory. It’s also worth mentioning that cards do not expire and you can use them to profit in freerolls indefinitely.
Our main focus is now on spreading the word about Footstock and reducing barriers around joining.
Footstock100 (@Footstock100 - Twitter)
As a Footstock customer what should I be excited about over the next few months?
There’s a lot coming up to be excited about, not all of which we can reveal today! In the short term the enhanced freeroll tournies over Xmas and New Year will be great, and then we have the FA cup making its debut in early January.
Then we'll have a lovely combo of improved functionality across the site, improved player images and marketing activity, plus we get closer every day to delivery of our Footstock app which’ll be huge for us.
FPL Green Arrow (@FPLGreenArrow - Twitter)
1) What are your plans are for the next 6, 12 & 24 months in terms of new features/improvements and also the growth of the platform?
Looking back at our launch we feel Footstock was a great idea with a “working” product, but hard to get your head around without help. During the last few months, we’ve tackled the most important flaws and worked hard to get the tech right.
Looking at the next 6 months, we want to make Footstock accessible to a wider audience! This means launching a native iOS and Android version, working on the onboarding experience of new users and building a huge content base around Footstock. Additionally, we will add more leagues (we’re looking at you, Euro 2020!), tournament formats, freerolls and games, to make Footstock a thrilling 24/7 product.
Feature wise we try to listen closely to our community and let some of our decisions be influenced by user feedback. Our goal for 2020 is to establish Footstock on the UK market as a major player for daily football excitement.
2) At the moment anyone can enter every tournament, which potentially puts off new people or those with smaller portfolios, any plans to have restricted entry tournaments, with a view of them catering to different sized portfolios?
We are looking at ways to improve the onboarding experience, and being able to successfully profit on a tournament is a big topic here. Restricted tourneys seem to be a good way to do that. We plan to add a series of tournaments (replacing the ‘Beginners Welcome’ and one or two others) which are only accessible a few times per user. Longer term we will also introduce the ability for users to set up their own tournaments with customisable restrictions, putting the power in your hands!
Holly Shand (@FFCommunity - Twitter)
How big a portfolio do you need to be successful? Have I missed the boat by joining now when other players have a more established portfolio?
Missed the boat? - Definitely not! Despite some controversial opinions on this one, we strongly believe Footstock can be played on a very tight budget. Players for beginner tourneys can be cheaply bought on the market, and we have people winning tourneys with teams priced below £5 on the market. You can definitely level up on Footstock and build your team on a small budget, after all tourneys are a skill game and simply owning the most expensive players is not a guarantee to success. There’ll be a blog post coming soon around this topic from one of our most successful tournament players.
Ben Stokes Fan Club (@Davmatter - Twitter)
What are your main tips for success?
We highly suggest you actively follow the Footstock community on social media, our own twitter account (@Foot_stock - Twitter) and of course the FootstockChat Slack channel (@FootstockChat - Twitter and FootstockChat - Slack Chat). Footstock is evolving with its community, and there is a lot of knowledge and insight one can gain by joining those communities. Many successful tournament players post their insights and strategies, and one can only learn from them.
In terms of portfolio building and trading, everybody has their own minds. There are very successful traders scouting youth players and holding them long term, as well as some people trading on a daily basis and timing the market with a decent ROI.
CM (@InTheLxb - Twitter) How do you see the market in 5/10 years?
Considering the Footstock market currently only contains Premier League players, there is a lot of space for additions. 5 or even 10 years is a huge timespan, but we will definitely see cards from additional leagues up for sale in 2020, and even more so in 2021.
DanJackKnife (@DanJackKnife - Twitter)
1) When will we see the app?
The app is a big focus point right now, it will arrive sooner than some might expect.
2) Any Asian market roadmap?
We do plan to explore other markets in 2020/21, but at this time we cannot comment on specific timelines or jurisdictions. However, Asia is a very interesting market and we do see a lot of potential there.
3) Can we introduce a trader of week? E.G. highest point wins.
We currently have the Manager of the Week in our
£10,000 freeroll and we definitely want to build
on an additional leaderboard, connected prices and features allowing competitiveness amongst players.
FUDstock (FUDstock - Twitter)
1) What happened to the roadshows?
The roadshow was cancelled as it was very difficult for us to get hold of the responsible people at the supporters clubs. Given that we now have employees located in the UK, we are reevaluating the roadshow and other local marketing activities.
2) Where are we at with marketing? Where next?
As mentioned above, next to classical social media ads, we recently moved towards related content ads and sponsorships. We are at the beginning on this, but very happy with the results so far. Going forward we will introduce a Footstock blog and additional partnerships with DFS, FPL, FUT and FI related parties.
An experienced, full-time marketing employee (everyone say Hi to James) will start working in January, which should give us more manpower to work on it.
Looking at the product, there is also a lot of marketing related stuff we will do. Mentioning a few things, we will improve the onboarding experience, add more tutorials and explainer videos, change the welcome gift to something more appropriate and beginner friendly and finally, add bigger freerolls.
3) Are you still considering a further round of funding/shares?
Yes, we are looking into options to raise capital in 2020. This includes evaluating a crowd investment platform like Seedrs.
Girty (@FI_Girty - Twitter)
1) What has been your personal highlights since the IndieGoGo (IGG) crowdfunding campaign finished?
Our personal highlight definitely is the community which built around Footstock. We love reading success stories or positive shoutouts on twitter. Looking ahead, we are excited about the early days of 2020, which will definitely bring new highlights.
2) Will the App be able to send push notifications for buys/sells etc?
Yes, as well as tournament reminders and much much more!
3) Are there plans to add the ability to make our own private tournament lobbies setting our own entry requirements.
Yes, we plan to allow private tournaments in 2020.
4) If you were to put a % on how close Footstock is to absolute completion. I.e 100% would mean everything you dreamed has been successfully implemented.. Where would you say Footstock is now in its current state?
Well, that depends from which angle we look at it. Compared to the version we launched via IGG, we definitely think that Footstock has grown into a stable platform with a reasonable product market fit. But if you compare it to our vision where Footstock is played on every continent, it has just started and there is unlimited work to do.
But, one step at a time, we trust 2020 is the year where Footstock will flourish and establish itself on the UK market as a unique and competitive platform for football fans.
Tom Mitcham (@TomJMitcham - Twitter)
Plans for the European championships?
The Euros will be the centre point in the summer and we plan to make it huge for everyone. Announcements will follow on this one.
Blades1889 (@leeroy_brown_ - Twitter)
What's been one good and bad thing that has surprised you since the IGG funding?
Well, obviously the amount raised was a big and pleasant surprise. We also loved the interest people showed in the unique concept, and how everybody tries to make it a big success.
Looking at bad things, we were frustrated by the early tech issues and multiple issues with payment providers. Happy to report these are behind us now!
SiegeTheDay23 (@SiegeTheDay23 - Twitter)
Are you considering an update/adding further youth players to the database? One of the most enjoyable aspects for some people is scouting and following potential stars for the future, and currently quite a few are missing in the database from Premier League clubs. Is that a feature you see Footstock promoting more comprehensively?
Yes, some were announced in our latest email. We will periodically add all new players. If some are missing, please let us know and we will try to add them.
Ucananalyse2much (@ucananalyse2mu1 - Twitter)
1) Are you concerned about the low prices and how this is impacting existing users perception of their investment/gamble to date?
We mostly answered this for Stu (@redsjb77). Since prices are influenced by supply and demand, we certainly try to affect both variables in a reasonable and positive manner. The December cashback bonus seems to have had a healthy effect so far. We are continuously evaluating additional options to improve the prices. More so, we try to add features which reduce the market volatility, like the instant sell or more recently allowing multiple buy orders at once.
2) What is your target number of users on the platform in the next 12 months?
We want to reach 20,000 users by the end of 2020!
3) Will there be a trader meet in the near future?
If there is a demand, we would love to organise something.
Chris D (@DigitalChrisD - Twitter)
How long do you think it will be before new leagues are introduced to Footstock? Which league will be the first one?
We will add new leagues in 2020. Stay tuned for announcements on which ones!
... and there we have it, a really amazing look behind the scenes of Footstock, setting things up perfectly for what is going to be an outstanding 2020.
There are a just a few points of order to finish. If your question wasn't included, this may have been intentional as some were removed because of duplication. However, some may have been unintentionally missed during the process of gathering the questions. If your question wasn't included and yet you don't think it was answered, please contact me on the Slack Chat and I will arrange for it to be covered separately. Please also note some of the questions were tweaked before they were submitted to Footstock to improve the readability of the article, the actual substance of the question was not altered.
Finally I would like to say thanks to the Footstock community, it is your goodwill and spirit that keeps me so enthusiastic about Footstock's future, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!