SBJ/June 27 - July 3, 2011/Media

BeRecruited.com buys Fanvibe, names Prabhakara CEO

Atlanta-based beRecruited.com has acquired sports social hub Fanvibe, extending a strong run of growth for both companies.

Vishwas Prabhakara, chief executive and co-founder of the San Francisco-based Fanvibe, will become the new chief executive of the combined entity and remain in California with his three employees. Jeff Cravens, who had been beRecruited’s president and oversaw a large expansion in site users and traffic in recent years, has been shifted out of the company’s day-to-day operations to a strategic adviser role.

Prabhakara
The two businesses will still operate largely as separate entities under their own brand names, though there will be crossover with regard to back-end technology and strategy.

Fanvibe, a 2011 nominee for Best in Sports Technology at the Sports Business Awards, has established an early leadership position in connecting fans around sporting events through social media. The company holds major partnerships with several sports entities, including the NBA, Turner Sports and Comcast SportsNet.

BeRecruited.com, meanwhile, links non-elite prospective college athletes with school programs and team coaches, not unlike how a professional networking site such as LinkedIn operates. The site has more than 1 million registered users and traction into more than 80 percent of U.S. high schools.

Fanvibe connects fans around events.
“We’re each basically built around the notion of connection,” Prabhakara said. “The beRecruited.com mission has been to connect athletes and colleges, and our mission has been to connect fans with each other. So on that core, conceptual level, this is a great fit, and we see a lot of opportunity to boost beRecruited even more through social media.”

Prabhakara said Fanvibe, formed two years ago, wasn’t necessarily looking to sell so early in its life cycle, but found the beRecruited offer a “great opportunity.”

“With any startup, when you have an opportunity like this, you have to make an important decision to go it alone or team up,” he said. “In this case, we’re teaming up, but still get a lot of ‘go it alone’ opportunity given our leadership position in beRecruited.com and the ability to impact people’s lives.”

Financial terms for the deal, which emerged in part out of conversations through mutual contacts in the venture capital space, were not disclosed.

BeRecruited.com Chairman Ray Sozzi said that Fanvibe’s initial success in deploying mobile technology will be instrumental to the recruiting hub.

“We believe [Fanvibe’s] mobile applications and underlying technology will dramatically accelerate the growth of beRecruited.com’s mobile service,” Sozzi said.

Fanvibe’s competitors in the fast-emerging space of check-ins include the far larger Facebook, which last year acquired check-in service Hot Potato, and the New York-based GetGlue, which earlier this year expanded from its roots in entertainment with a sports push that includes partnerships with Fox Sports, the NHL, Turner Sports and the NFL Network, among others.

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