NFL Star Russell Wilson’s Celebrity-Content App Startup Raises $9 Million From Jeff Bezos, Others

Russell Wilson
Courtesy of TraceMe

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl champ, is now a tech and media entrepreneur — and he’s got some deep-pocketed business partners.

Wilson is the founder and exec chairman of TraceMe, which has released the beta of an app designed to connects fans with their favorite celebrities, athletes, and artists.

TraceMe has raised $9 million in Series A funding, led by venture-capital firm Madrona Venture Group, along with a number of individual investors including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (through his Bezos Expeditions investment company), Chad Hurley (co-founder of YouTube), Joe Tsai (co-founder of Alibaba), Mike Mahan (president of Dick Clark Productions), and Kenny Dichter (founder of Wheels Up).

Leading the Seattle-based company is CEO Jason LeeKeenan, former exec at Hulu, Disney’s corporate strategy and development group, and zulily.

Wilson will be the first featured celeb on the platform, with more personalities promised to be added soon. “I’ve dreamed about launching TraceMe for a long time and I am excited to finally see it come to fruition,” he said in a statement. At the start of the NFL’s 2017-18 season, he added, “TraceMe is going to help me on that journey by providing me with a direct line to my most passionate supporters who drive my motivation throughout this amazing season.”

Wilson’s content on TraceMe will include “DangerTalk,” Wilson’s weekly podcast with his take on the most recent Seahawks game plus personal views on family, faith, and relationships; “Legends,” in which Wilson sits down to talk with sports superstars such as Jim Brown, Chris Berman, Laila Ali, Bill Russell and Steve Kerr; and “Training with Decker Davis,” an instructional series with Wilson’s personal trainer.

The TraceMe beta is available for iPhone on Apple’s App Store worldwide. Initially, the app is free but company execs see an opportunity for a subscription model down the line.

“Our vision for TraceMe is to define a new category for superfan engagement,” said CEO LeeKeenan. “When the floodlights are shut off at a big game or a sell-out show, the smartphone offers the best place for a superfan to immerse themselves in the worlds of their favorite artists, athletes, and entertainers.”

Watch TraceMe’s launch video:

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