June 10, 2023
Scout Markets Itself to College Athletes’ Personal Finance Needs – Business Insider

Scout Markets Itself to College Athletes’ Personal Finance Needs – Business Insider

  • In June, the NCAA ruled that student athletes were eligible to profit off of their personal brand.
  • Scout is a financial app designed to help student athletes invest and save money.
  • Sports stars like Chris Paul and Elena Delle Donne offer financial coaching via Scout.

When the NCAA issued a game-changing rule this summer allowing the nation’s roughly 460,000 college athletes to profit off of their personal brands for the first time, it opened the door for them make money in an industry that generates roughly $14 billion in annual revenue for college athletic programs.

Industry analysts expect student athletes could see anywhere from $500 to $2 million a year by monetizing their name, image, and likeness, according to previous reporting by Insider, 

Scout, an upstart fintech founded this year, is looking to tap into the growing market of college athletes who, even if they’re not signed to multi-million dollar sponsorship deals, might have a little more cash to put to work.

Scout offers business coaching from some of the biggest names in sports — including NBA superstar Chris Paul, NFL all-star Travis Kelce, and two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne — and a set of investment and money tools designed with student athletes in mind.

The launch comes as a growing number of consumer fintechs build out products developed with specific communities in mind, all with the view that individual savers and investors are looking for tailored financial experiences. 

Michael Haddix, cofounder and CEO of Scout.


Scout is the brainchild of Michael Haddix, who played basketball at Siena College. Haddix previously worked as an investment banker at Lazard and Goldman Sachs and wealth advisor to professional athletes at a family office that counted Paul, two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry, and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as clients. 

Haddix’s father, Michael Haddix Sr., spent eight seasons playing in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. His experience helped the younger Haddix understand the importance of learning investing and financial concepts at a young age.   

“If you know what to do early, it literally will move the needle so substantially. And if you don’t, you’re playing catch up,” Haddix told Insider. “We want to make sure that you feel like you have a home in this place, in the intimidating world of finance.”

Inroads into college athletes

Haddix met Scout’s cofounder and CTO, Cindy Zeng, at the startup accelerator On Deck. Zeng joined Scout in October 2020 from Citizen, the public safety app, where she worked on the engineering team. Scout’s team has now grown to five employees, including key hires on the product development and content teams. 

Since launching, Haddix said that Scout has begun working with athletic programs at the University of Kentucky, Florida State University, Mississippi State, the University of Cincinnati, Rutgers, DePaul, and Siena — and will reach some 10,000 students by the end of the year. 

This June, Scout raised $1 million in pre-seed funding. 

Scout’s service is based on two pillars: a content library where coaches like Paul, Delle Donne, and Kelce offer personalized advice on entrepreneurship and investing, and an app that has social investing tools and a “Scouting Report” and budgeting feature that serves as a window into student athletes’ credit scores and financial health.

Haddix said the app will also offer a tool called “Scout Replay” that will show how customers could have invested more efficiently over a certain period of time, and that Scout is currently working on an investing product that will allow users to invest in funds aligned with their own values, like supporting Black-owned businesses. 

The app is particularly designed for student athletes who might not be signing massive advertising and sponsorship contracts but will see a new source of income tied to their athletic careers as a result of the rule change.

“The majority of college athletes are probably more similar to you and I than they are to LeBron James,” Haddix said.

Haddix envisions Scout appealing to a broader population of students, not just athletes, who are attracted to the fintech because of the ability to start out investing in small ways, and its connections to some of the sports world’s biggest stars and college athletes well-known on social media.

“If you put $5 in the stock market, $10, when you’re 18 or 19, you’ve started to build that confidence,” he added. “The biggest thing is, now the money is top of mind even earlier. So how do we help you to get the confidence to go do something with it?”

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/fintech-college-athletes-sponsorship-deals-personal-finance-app-scout-2021-11

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