- LoopGolf is an on-course betting app that lets golfers wager with their friends on their own games.
- The startup raised $2 million from VCs and $50,000 from supporters through a newsletter callout.
- Read what they sent in that newsletter, and the pitch deck slides that convinced investors to buy in.
When Matt Rum was working at Square on the Cash App, he and his coworkers spent a lot of time on the weekends golfing. They were all competitive, according to the former college basketball player, so they began betting on rounds.
However, keeping track of multiple games on paper scorecards and dividing up bets at the end of the day became challenging. So Rum and his cofounder, Thomas Reinholm, created the first prototype for LoopGolf, the on-course betting platform.
Rum and Reinholm quit their jobs in 2021 to turn LoopGolf from a weekend hobby into a business. They raised nearly $2 million in venture capital funding.
This summer marked the company’s first season with an App Store product. According to Rum, LoopGolf acquired approximately 7,000 customers and processed approximately $250,000 in gross payment volume, or money flowing in and out of the betting platform. Customers can use the app to connect with friends to bet on rounds and transfer money, and the product also has an on-course GPS that uses satellite technology.
When it’s time to play, users choose the course, set the stakes, and invite their friends to join the game via the app. Players’ scores are updated throughout the round, and when it concludes, funds are instantly distributed between LoopGolf wallets.
“Really exciting first summer for us,” Rum said to Insider. “Really validating that it’s not just us that have these problems and showcasing that the product is valuable to a lot of golfers.”
Attempting to attract a younger generation of golfers
The company didn’t have much money to spend on marketing, so it hired a young golfer to help create social media content. Rum admitted that he had never done anything like this before, but his inventive videos found an audience.
“We’ve kind of struck gold,” Rum declared. “We’d have a couple that have gone viral, and have acquired 4,000 or 5,000 customers via TikTok alone.”
Three of the videos have received millions of views, and the company now has nearly 7,000 TikTok followers. Rum stated that the app’s primary demographic is between the ages of 21 and 35. Part of this is due to TikTok, but it is also due to older golfers being more resistant to changes in their game, he added.
“They have a way of doing things out on the golf course and they don’t necessarily want to incorporate technology,” he said.
LoopGolf recently added golf creator Mike Bartels to its team, who has nearly 12,000 Instagram followers.
Rum claims that the multiplayer experience has also helped drive customers to the app because users are incentivized to sign up their friends.
“To get the most value out of your app, you want your friends on it,” he said. “We’re benefiting from that word-of-mouth marketing, and I don’t think a lot of the sports betting operators have that same luxury.”
Fundraising efforts are becoming more inventive and scrappy.
Rum and Reinholm raised about $2 million in venture capital funding after leaving Square in 2021. LoopGolf needed to find another way to stay afloat as investments slowed in 2023, particularly for sports gambling startups and high-risk, early-stage companies.
Rum said, “We were striking out left and right” with venture capitalists.
In August, the team turned to the community they’d built through their weekly newsletter, The Sunday Sweat, and offered the opportunity to become a stakeholder in the company. The effort raised approximately $50,000 to aid in product development and growth.
The following is the fundraising message that the team included at the top of their newsletter:
We’ve recently received a lot of questions from our community about how to invest in LoopGolf, so we wanted to make an announcement. First and foremost, we are humbled by the level of interest, and the prospect of having a highly engaged community with some skin in the game appeals to us greatly.
Given that many of you are new here, we thought now would be a good time to share our full vision for creating golf’s first real money super app — where gaming, fintech, and e-commerce collide to create a one-stop shop for golfers. Here is our vision board.
With that in mind, we’re wrapping up our first round of fundraising this month and have set aside the final $50,000 for you! We are offering 50 members the chance to invest $1,000 each by the end of the month. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, please contact Matt Rum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s been a really fun and rewarding, a very challenging year,” he said. “But it’s forced us to get really creative and really scrappy.”
Rum stated that he wants to restructure the company so that it can fund itself and not rely on outside capital for growth. Given the difficult funding environment, he believes that more small businesses will transition to a profitable model sooner than usual. He also mentioned partnering with a sportsbook in the future to reach a larger audience.