Sofanatics is a social TV service that lets sports viewers engage in webcam conversations with one another while the game plays in real time on thir computer screen. The company just picked up an undisclosed amount of funding in its seed round and the Finland based startup has also added the CEO of the Finnish Broadcasting Company to their Board of Directors. Sofana seems to be targeted at soccer for now, and opened up its gates just as the World Cup went live a few weeks ago.
The service, which is available at Sofanatics.com, was opened up to an international audience on June 11 as the FIFA World Cup started in South Africa. Sofanatics claims to have had visitors from more than 130 countries to the site, but haven’t mentioned user totals, which usually means the service hasn’t gained a significant amount of steam just yet. Perhaps this funding can help push the service out to more users.
The service itself in fact includes more than just video chat. Users are asked to login to a well implemented Facebook integration, and they then sign in using their Facebook credentials. Once you’re in, you can set up the basics of your profile, and get ready for your first sports match. Once that game is on TV, live, you sign in and can talk with other viewers via WebCam and also chat. Then, depending on the amount of support, a small “faithometer” keeps track of each team’s support as the game moves forward. We can currently see something similar to this in Canada with the CBC’s support meter shown below streamed FIFA World Cup games.
The investors for Sofanatics include Jaiku founders Jyri EngestrÃ¶m and Petteri Koponen, (Lifeline Ventures), and a Finnish football legend, former Crystal Palace midfielder Aki Riihilahti, who is also known from his columns in the British newspaper, The Times. This kind of support might very well lend itself to big popularity as the next soccer season approaches, and we’ll be keeping in touch to see how these guys do.