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Lionel Messi Announces Sports-Tech Investment Firm in San Francisco

Avatar Written by Fizza Akbar ·  1 min read >
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Lionel Messi, the Argentine professional soccer/football player widely recognized as one of the best players of all time, is planning to invest in technology through a new vehicle led by two Silicon Valley veterans.


Play Time is the name of a new collaboration between the Messi Group and Silicon Valley CEO Razmig Hovaghimian and special adviser Michael Marquez.

The Messi Group, headquartered in San Francisco, stated that Play Time would be a holding company that would serve as the primary vehicle for Messi’s global investments in sports, media, and technology.

At the same time, Play Time will consider investing in sports clubs and “football tech,” according to a corporate statement.

Play Time also stated that it has previously nurtured a firm named Matchday.com, which is still in stealth mode and aims to launch before the FIFA World Cup in November. In addition, it has made its first seed-stage investment in AC Momento, a company that sells off match-worn football jerseys from teams and players.

“I am happy to expand our roots into Silicon Valley, and I am thrilled that Play Time will partner with brave entrepreneurs from around the world,” Messi said in a statement. I believe that Play Time’s success will benefit many individuals and have a beneficial influence on the planet. I believe in our team and partners to achieve our goals.”

Razmig Hovaghimian will be Play Time’s co-founder and CEO (pictured, left). Hovaghimian formerly served as the CEO of Hoodline (Pixel Labs), a local news platform that blended machine learning with on-the-ground reporting. He also co-founded the entertainment business Viki, which Rakuten acquired for more than $200 million in 2013.

Consequently, he became a board observer on Rakuten’s corporate board and was designated the company’s first Entrepreneur in Residence in 2016.

“We’re all in,” Hovaghimian added, “beginning by developing a solid bridge between football’s 5B fans and technology.”

He will co-lead Play Time alongside Michael Marquez of merchant bank Code Advisors and Morado, a seed-stage firm focusing on early-stage investments.