Toronto-based social media and rewards platform MoPals has scored big with the latest addition to their all-star board of directors, announcing today the signing of Toronto Raptors point guard Greivis Vásquez to their roster.
Mr. Vásquez will not only join MoPals as a board member and investor, but as a brand ambassador as well. The Venezuelan athlete says that the decision was borne out of consideration for his post-basketball career, and a declaration of his intentions to stay in Toronto.
"Basketball is part of my life, but it's not my whole life, and I have to concentrate in other areas," he said. "MoPals is a great opportunity for me to grow as a businessman, and I really do see a future here in Canada."
Mr. Vásquez says he first met MoPals CEO and self-described "sports junkie" Alex Haditaghi in June at a Toronto Blue Jays game, and quickly hit it off.
"When I was growing up nobody ever thought I would be where I'm at right now, and when he was growing up it was really tough for him to make it to where he's at right now," said Mr. Vásquez. "Nothing came easy for us, so I think you do business with people you identify with and you feel comfortable with and that you can trust."
Mr. Haditaghi says that he and Mr. Vásquez share a competitive drive, and respects that unlike most professional athletes, Mr. Vásquez manages his own social media accounts.
"As an athlete you have to be a competitor to get to that level in the NBA, or any professional league," he said. "You have to be ambitious and work really hard, and these are qualities you need in a startup."
Furthermore, the 27-year old is also poised to help MoPals better connect with their target demographic.
"He fills a void in that he's the age category for our product," said Ralph Lean, MoPals' chairman of the board of directors. "A couple of the other board members are of an older demographic, they believe in the product and the vision, but he just fits right in with us because he understands social networking, understands our app, and he'll be a great asset for us."
Mr. Lean adds that the addition of MoPals' latest board member will be a learning experience for both parties, as Mr. Vásquez will "challenge some of the preconceptions that some of the seasoned business guys like me have," while providing Mr. Vásquez an opportunity to learn from the expertise congregating around the boardroom table.
Established in 2012, MoPals is a points-based platform that rewards members for making purchases and engaging in social media activities that provide value to a variety of participating brands.
"The company's goal is to make MoPals the number one loyalty program in the U.S. and Canada, we want to partner with great brands and make sure our millions of members can go to thousands of businesses to earn rewards," said Mr. Haditaghi. "I believe Greivis, with his network, with his sponsors and with the relationships he has will help us significantly in reaching those goals."