Former CEO of visual research firm Slyce just launched CollX collectibles appraisal app

Like many working parents, Ted mann has spent much of the COVID-19 pandemic balancing his job with the entertainment of his children.

The former CEO of Slyce – now called Party, after its merger with Humai – said his two youngest boys would come into his office frequently, hand-swapping cards, making statements such as “I think this Pokémon card is worth $ 100” or “this Bryce Harper card is worth that much”. The 10 and 7-year-olds kept asking their dad how much he thought the cards were worth, Mann said, and spent time browsing Mann’s own box of sports cards he collected at the over the years. They tried to determine a value for each card using eBay, but couldn’t get the information they were looking for.

So, after trying to find an app that would help them, Mann decided that maybe it was time to make his own. He started it as a side project with the help of his sons, but eventually realized that the app could have real legs.

Mann contacted a technologist Kostas Nasis – the former CTO of Mann’s first company, SnipSnap, and “one of the most talented engineers I know” – and the couple started working on what is now known as CollX, a visual search function application that retrieves price data from multiple websites to help a user understand the rarity and price of a sports card.

Mann officially left Partium this fall to pursue full-time application with Nasis. The couple have opened an office in Haddenfield, New Jersey, and the app is launching this week. Nasis is co-founder and CTO, while Mann is co-founder and CEO.

The market research they conducted got them excited: About 25% of Americans own baseball cards and almost 40% have at least one type of collectible card in their possession, according to Mann. This company will be the third he will work on using visual search technology (Slyce specializing in retail search and Partium in parts search services). It’s a fun journey of his career, said the co-founder, who started out in journalism.

“I never set out to create image recognition software,” Mann said. “Slyce, Partium, now with CollX – in a lot of ways what’s attractive is that I love this technology. There’s incredible precision, and with the current market and the lineups, finding out where it’s sold is pretty cool.

CollX’s database contains information on nearly 10 million cards – 4.5 million baseball cards, 4 million football cards, and 1.5 million basketball cards, per Mann. The team, which he says is made up of eight full-time and part-time employees, plans to add more sports cards and other collectible cards like Pokémon and Magic the Gathering.

The company has raised some capital through angel investors (although Mann declined to share specific numbers or name funders) and plans to raise an institutional round this year. Founders are also being hired and added a market feature to the app that would allow users to buy or sell in addition to pricing their cards.

“It started out as a hobby and then my kids would show it to their friends and love it,” Mann said, “and now we’re tackling this huge market for real.”

Discover CollX in the App store Or on google play.

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