Business analysts agree that NIL is ‘uncharted waters.’
It’s unexplored, lacks true definition, and because of that, is completely unfamiliar to brands, students and policymakers alike.
But with unfamiliarity comes curiosity. That curiosity has shown that NIL has become a buried treasure for businesses.
That makes Brandon Wimbush an NIL pirate searching for gold.
Like many in the space, he is, of course, curious. However, his perspective is different from that of your run-of-the-mill businessman.
He’s an athlete.
A former quarterback at Notre Dame and Central Florida, Wimbush sees NIL as a way to help athletes, not just profit off of them, after all, he went to school during a time where name, image and likeness rules didn’t apply.
During his time at Notre Dame, Wimbush interned with Accel, a venture capital firm responsible for funding some of the most well known companies in the world including Facebook, Spotify, Etsy and Bumble.
“I was intrigued with startups and was always around them and venture capital at Notre Dame,” Wimbush told The NIL Deal. “I was interested in doing my own thing, working for myself and raising funds.”
By 2019, with a degree in accounting in hand, Wimbush was ready to give back to the next generation of college athletes. Alongside friend and partner Ayden Syal, they created MOGL, a minority-founded startup.
“Primarily, it was about being a college athlete and wanting to give back. It was a good opportunity for me to jump into a space that I was passionate about, that I understood and had first hand experience with,” Wimbush said.
Before name, image and likeness laws were an idea, Wimbush and Syal set sail to find their way in college athletics. Come 2021, with the passing of NIL laws by the NCAA, MOGL was ahead of the game, and the duo took off.
With a wave of companies flooding the NIL space, Wimbush and Syal had to find a way to stand out.
Competing with companies like Opendorse, NBC and others, Wimbush told The NIL Deal that MOGL adapted to the landscape, and as they utilized their background in athletics, they carved out a comfortability level with their athletes.
“We’ve done a great job at building an athlete community where athletes feel safe and compelled to engage with the brands that are on our platform,” Wimbush said. “80% of our team is former collegiate athletes, so from that standpoint, athletes have someone they can completely trust and have the understanding because they were in their shoes once.”
Wimbush accredits success not only to its team, but MOGL’s ease of use platform and their automatic disclosure solution.
“[MOGL] runs an automatic compliance disclosure from the athletes on the mobile platform. What we tried to build is an ease of use product where athletes don’t need to jump from one platform to another to do different parts of their NIL process,” Wimbush said. “MOGL is this holistic product that athletes can leverage as easily as anything else they do in their day to day.”
For the athlete, sign up on MOGL is free.
Athletes go through a profile creation process with core information such as college, sport and social media handles.
Once approved by MOGL’s customer success team, athletes are directed to their personalized dashboard where they can view campaigns for hundreds of companies, both national brands and local companies specific to the athlete’s market.
“We work with national level brands such as Facebook, Applebees, Sports Clips all the way down to local brands that surround the college markets and the athletes,” Wimbush said. “For us, the local opportunities give the greater majority of athletes on campus an opportunity to get involved in NIL. [Local brands] want that local approach and awareness that our athletes can deliver on.”
For companies to join MOGL, sign up is free as well, with companies incurring a 20% service fee as deliverables are met by athletes.
While the vast majority of companies partnered with MOGL are for-profit, they are finding some non-profit organizations jumping in as well. Through their portal, collectives and colleges can partner with MOGL to help streamline operations and communication with athletes for an annual fee.
As athletes view campaign details, they can sign an automated contract expressing interest in a campaign.
On the company side, brands can review profiles and hand pick athletes they’d like to work with. From there, athletes are given a set of deliverables to meet. For each deliverable met, the athlete will receive a portion of the overall payment the campaign promises.
Since inception, MOGL has procured over 4,500 athletes, most notably through social media marketing and its athlete referral and ambassador programs.
A common quote for pirates is “the rougher the sea, the smoother they sail.”
For Wimbush, the journey has had its fair share of rocky waters, but he’s learned a lot in his time working for himself.
“The toughest part in all of this is the consistency,” Wimbush said.
He added this summer has been a turning point for him personally, learning that his dedication and work ethic as an athlete is starting to take form in his daily routine.
“This summer, I learned that having played a sport, it’s showing up with an attitude to win and be consistent, and I’ve taken that to work and we’ve seen results. I’ve been showing up everyday for three years now, and we’ve seen the marketplace begin to weed people out. You’re starting to see who’s going to last.”
Heading into their third year, Wimbush has seen their consistency pay off. He said MOGL onboarded its most athletes this summer in company history. With an eager tone, Wimbush said the future of MOGL sees major strides on the horizon.
“We have a phenomenal core team. Our sales team, marketing team, and between Aydan and I, we feel really strongly about our position,” Wimbush said. “We’re hoping to hire more people who are aggressive in the market. We’re looking to onboard 50 universities and amass 8,000 athletes by the end of the year.”
Wimbush also detailed the rollout of a new agency portal, where MOGL hopes to onboard 75 to 100 agents by 2023.
“Again, it’s about consistency and wanting to last. That’s what we say when we go to work, 75% of this is ‘can you last?’ and MOGL is something that’s here to stay.”