Earlier this month, the NCAA Convention was held in San Antonio, Texas and hosted a bevy of athletes, administrators, brands and marketplaces showcasing and exchanging ideas and information regarding some of the biggest topics in collegiate athletics.
MOGL Co-Founder Brandon Wimbush recently sat down with The NIL Deal to discuss his experience and what he learned, as well as giving an update on MOGL and the company’s plans for the near future.
The NIL Deal: How was the conference? What did you learn and what were some highlights of the week?
Wimbush: “The convention was great. I’d say the highlight for us and our biggest takeaway was the need for Division II & III schools, administration and athletic directors to understand that there was an opportunity to provide ample resources for their athletes in regards to NIL.
“A lot of people approached us and mentioned ‘We don’t have any room for NIL, we’re Division II, we’re Division III.’ [MOGL] goes as far to serve athletes that are at JUCOs [Junior Colleges], we have a partnership with the College of Southern Nevada. Our ability to touch athletes at any level, conference, division is pretty unique and NIL is way more than just a social media presence and what sports you play at what school. That education starts at the staff level and trickles down to athletes.
“We established a partnership with a school, Winona State in Minnesota, which was a Division II school, so that was a great opportunity for us to use them as a sounding board, as an example as far as how our resources can be valuable to Division II and Division III schools. There are limitations at those levels primarily the budget constraints is what those staff members and admins are pretty weary of. We’re able to manipulate both our pricing and product offerings to serve their needs and make sure that all their needs are met and we’ve been able to do that on multiple accounts.”
The NIL Deal: Having a unique opportunity to talk to athletes, administrators, brands and so on, what did you learn from others that you’re bringing back to MOGL?
Wimbush: “One of the bodies we engaged with heavily was the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), I was a part of that when I was at Notre Dame and so that’s a group of athletes who have a profound voice on campus island within the entire NCAA makeup. Just to break it down, each SAAC on campus is made up of probably 25 to 40 athletes, then there is a conference-wide SAAC and a national level with a president who generally has a good voice as far as climbing the ladder to the NCAA president.
“So for us, approaching those SAAC members and getting in their ear and having them understand our business model, how athlete-friendly our product is, is an approach that we want to continue to reemphasize because we are an athlete-first and athlete-focused product platform and for them to informally adopt our platform speaks volumes to what we’ve built. They cannot formally promote or advocate for an NIL platform legally, so the more we’re able to educate them on our services and our offerings, the better off we are.
“There are always going to be businesses and brands that are looking to activate within college athletics and NIL. For example, Aviant Academy, which is a flight school that United Airlines is putting on, is looking to do a very similar campaign to what WWE has done. They think athletes are going to make good flight attendants and pilots, so they’re looking to activate with about 250 athletes or so throughout 2023 and hopefully bring on the next batch of United Airlines pilots so those are always cool opportunities to engage with new brands and see what opportunities are out there.”
The NIL Deal: Did you learn from other companies similar to MOGL?
Wimbush: “I played football with Mick Assaf who runs YOKE, so it’s always interesting to see what they are up to and how they are engaging with their school’s fans because that fan segment and fan engagement portion of our business is something that is intriguing and is going to open up so many more doors for us.
“Not a lot of other marketplaces were there, Opendorse and INFLCR were there informally but not as an exhibitor, but it’s always good to interact with those companies because they are doing so well in a saturated space.
“Of course, feedback from the universities was really important to us because of our university product. Implementing a lot of the feedback and hearing how we can benefit some of their athletes and the schools is important to us.”
The NIL Deal: Give us an update as to how MOGL is doing since our last conversation, how have things been?
Wimbush: “So we’re almost at 6,500, roughly 7,000 athletes now so we’ve surpassed our end of year goal which is awesome. We’re now licensing our technology to collectives and universities. In September we launched our university product and we’ve established partnerships with 10 universities, most notably Notre Dame all the way down to Southern Nevada as I mentioned, so a really wide range of universities that have reception for our product.
“Working with collectives has been exciting as we figure out the dynamics between collectives and universities is something that is ongoing as there was recent NCAA policy that clarified some of the relationship status between those two parties.
“We’re continuing to travel, be at these conferences, hopefully continue to connect with different brands looking to reactivate and newly activate within the NIL space because some brands have stayed on the sideline for so long and now they are just getting educated on it and learning how to do it. And partnerships like NBC, they give us access to 4,500 different advertisers, it’s really a phenomenal opportunity for us to leverage those types of partnerships and bring more opportunities to the platform for the athletes which is ultimately what we want to do.
“So we’re continuing to grow, continuing to bring on new members of the team, we just hired a new COO, we’re looking to hire a new head of product, head of engineering, and really take this thing to the next level.”
The NIL Deal: Tell us about that. What are your expectations for your new COO Kate Reinmiller as well as your other new hires and what are you looking to achieve?
Wimbush: “The big thing for us from a COO’s position is to bring in an operator who understands how to structure and run processes among the company. Now we’re at 12 employees and [Kate] has such a phenomenal background of running startup operations and being within early stage companies and taking those to million dollar annual recurring revenue (ARR), so that is what we’re looking to accomplish this year.
“On the product side, launching a mobile app is going to be a significant increase in user retention and athlete engagement on the platform, just giving them something that is more available and accessible on a daily basis is going to be massive for us. As a former athlete myself, I know how important it is to have an app in my hand rather than having to sign in on a web application every time.
“And of course on the fan engagement side I mentioned earlier, that is going to be huge to open up the platform to the public and allow our athletes to engage with their fans. The ultimate goal is more revenue streams, more structure, more processes and more accessibility.”