After selling his company for over $100M, Swanston makes history owning pro soccer team in Connecticut

Abu Mubarik February 29, 2024
Andre Swanston. Photo: NBC Connecticut

Meet Andre Swanston; he is Connecticut’s first black majority owner of a pro sports team. The black entrepreneur has always been motivated to one day own a sports team.

“The reason for soccer, even though I didn’t play soccer, was because I was a big soccer fan,” Swanston told NBC Connecticut. Today, he is the president of Connecticut Sports Group which owns Connecticut United Football Club.

In January, CT United Football Club became the newest team to join MLS Next Pro, a professional men’s soccer league that operates under Major League Soccer. His involvement in CT United Football Club makes him one of only a few black principal owners in U.S. sports history.

Before becoming a professional sports club owner, Swanston was invested in the tech world. He established a streaming data and analytics platform called Tru Optik in 2013 inspired by his father’s hard work, who had originally immigrated to the U.S. from the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.

After graduating from La Salle University with a finance degree and a business degree from the University of Connecticut, Swanston got a job as a financial advisor at Ameriprise Financial. He later joined JPMorgan Chase & Co. as vice president of investments between 2010 and 2012.

Prior to joining corporate America, he owned and operated nightclubs and restaurants. He also invested in local advertising to bring more exposure to his businesses. The experience in this space will guide him towards the tech industry full-time, leading to the founding of Tru Optik.

Tru Optik is “an integrated data management, campaign activation, audience measurement, and marketing attribution platform” for over-the-top (OTT) media services and connected TV, according to his LinkedIn page. Per his page on Instagram, Trup Optik is designed to support media companies, advertisers, and publishers.

Starting and maintaining his tech company did not come easy for him. According to him, he had to sometimes accept minimum earnings from the venture to keep the company afloat. And like many black entrepreneurs, getting venture funding was difficult, particularly during the early years.

“My fear of embarrassment helped me battle through constant rejection from premier venture capital funds as a young black CEO who didn’t attend an Ivy League university or work at a major tech company. Most of the VC funds wouldn’t even meet with me,” he said, per Fortune. “Instead of letting these failures defeat me, I used them as fuel to prove the VC funds wrong. I secured angel investors, smaller venture capital funds, state investment vehicles, and strategic corporate investors.”

He later guided the company to become the first to create a patented household graph, which helps advertisers target individuals within a household, according to a report by Skydeo.

In 2020, the company was acquired by TransUnion for more than $100 million, according to NBC Connecticut. This was after TransUnion had previously participated in Tru Optik’s $10 million seed round.

As the first Black majority owner of a pro sports team in Connecticut, his plans for his team include a brand-new stadium, a free youth academy, a hotel, and affordable housing.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 29, 2024


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