Playmaker Capital begins trading on the TSX Venture Exchange


Toronto-based Playmaker Capital has officially commenced trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV). Playmaker is trading under the ticker symbol PMKR.

Playmaker went public through a reverse takeover of a capital pool company called Apolo III Acquisition Corp. The deal closed May 31. At time of publication, Playmakers’ shares trade at $0.46.

“To be joining Playmaker, fresh on the heels of a go-public, and ready to scale through both organic and acquisitive growth, is hugely exciting.”
– Jake Cassaday

Jake Cassaday, a former partner at Relay Ventures, an investor in Playmaker, has also joined the company as chief operating officer.

Playmaker is a digital sports media company building a collection of sports media brands meant to monetize and mobilize a community of sports fans. Playmaker is specifically looking to join an audience of sports fans across multiple channels with product tools aimed to create fan value and loyalty for sports betting companies, advertisers, and sports leagues.

Playmaker first announced its intention to go public earlier this year. In April, the company completed a $24 million brokered private placement, led by Canaccord Genuity. CEO of Playmaker Jordan Gnat said the proceeds from that deal would be put towards its strategy of “rolling up digital sports media assets and technology.”

One month prior to the closing of the private placement, Playmaker entered into a binding letter to execute a reverse takeover of Apolo. Following the completion of the reverse takeover, Relay was issued 32 million common shares, representing 18.5 percent of Playmaker’s total issued and outstanding common shares on a non-diluted basis, and 17.5 percent on a fully diluted basis. Another Playmaker investor, JPG Investments, said it acquired 15 percent of the company’s common shares on a non-diluted basis following the reverse takeover.

COO Cassaday worked at Relay Ventures for six years and has sat on the boards of several Canadian tech companies, including Lane, Silofit, and Kira Talent. He was promoted to partner in February 2019.

Prior to joining Relay, Cassaday was involved in the startup and venture community during his time at the Rotman School of Management MBA program as a member of the Creative Destruction Lab, and as vice president of the Rotman Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Association. He was also an advisor at startup accelerators, including Techstars and the Future of Sport Lab.

Cassaday will still be involved at Relay, where he will attend partner meetings, provide advice to entrepreneurs in the portfolio where he has pre-existing relationships, and refer new entrepreneurs to the firm for investment consideration.

“To be joining Playmaker, fresh on the heels of a go-public, and ready to scale through both organic and acquisitive growth, is hugely exciting for me,” said Cassaday. “Playmaker connects my passions for sports, technology, and media, and allows me to leverage my experience to support the Playmaker growth engine and build a lasting company in the sports media arena.”

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Playmaker said Cassaday has been heavily involved with the company since its inception, helping Playmaker build its strategy, raise capital, and carry out initial acquisitions. One of Playmaker’s first acquisitions was Futbol Sites, a digital sports media group based in the United States and Latin America. That deal was completed in early April.

Cassaday is Playmaker’s first COO. He told BetaKit he first got connected with the company in October 2020 when the venture firm was looking to build out its sport tech investment thesis.

“Relay is an investor in Playmaker, but we were also very hands-on in developing the strategy, raising capital, and ultimately, getting it to where it is today,” he said.

“It was a portfolio company that I was really excited to be working in,” he added. “As things progressed, it started to become quite obvious to me that this was a really unique opportunity.”

Cassaday said now he is in the role of COO, he wants to make Playmaker a leading digital sports media company, and help the company engage in more acquisitions, including aqui-hires, in order to cultivate a highly engaged group of users.

“Having our COO come in from a prior position as an investor is incredibly fortuitous for us. There is no learning curve,” CEO Gnat told BetaKit in a statement. “He started on day one with detailed knowledge of our business, and that is a huge asset as we embark upon the growth plans we have for Playmaker.”

UPDATE (06/03/2021): This story has been updated with additional commentary from Jake Cassaday and Jordan Gnat.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by JC Gellidon.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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