Football season isn't the only thing to officially kick off this week. On Friday, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson launched his new company TraceMe, an app that aims to give superfans an inside look at celebrities.
Wilson is the first person to be featured on the app, but the goal is to include more stars in the coming months. TraceMe will present users with daily behind-the-scene content that differs from what Wilson shows to his nearly 10 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Wilson is the founder and executive chairman of the company, but he's letting others build TraceMe's platform while he continues his football career.
"Now that it's football season, my number one priority is leading the Seahawks to another Super Bowl victory," Wilson said in a press release. "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."
The company also announced a $9 million Series A funding round on Friday, led by Madrona Venture Group and included investments from Jeff Bezos' personal investment company Bezos Expeditions, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai.
TraceMe CEO Jason LeeKeenan said Wilson wanted a way to speak directly to fans and heard similar sentiments from other celebrities. He also believes that a star should be the CEO of their brand, so he took those ideas and created TraceMe.
The app is free for now and LeeKeenan, who previously worked at Hulu and Zulily, said he couldn't say how the app might monetize operations later. What's more, he wouldn't say which celebrities would join TraceMe next.
Athletes are not uncommon to the startup world. Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James is the co-founder of Uninterrupted, a multimedia venture that makes documentaries, podcasts and web series about athletes. Additionally, former Yankees player Derek Jeter created the online publishing platform The Players' Tribune, where Wilson is listed as a senior editor.