Fantasy Sports Startups Score Success

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Millions of football fans across the globe will kick off their fantasy football seasons this week with the official start of each league – the draft. And where there are exciting, fast-growing and innovative industries, startups built for those industries are always surely to follow. Here’s a quick look at three exciting new startups that are changing up an industry that has gone from friends mailing newspaper box scores back and forth to each other to recently being valued at over $7 billion and holding a 24 hour fantasy football marathon on ESPN.

Win-Win – 

A Cannon Community member that recently returned to Houston from Silicon Valley, Win-Win is combining the concept of fantasy sports with the world of charitable giving. Fans compete in tournaments (i.e. March Madness Brackets, Playoff Pick-ems, and more) hosted by their favorite athletes, while at the same time choosing to donate to a charity or foundation specifically selected by that athlete.

Following the tournament, fans can win a full selection of prizes, ranging from VIP experiences and meet and greets, all the way down to autographed items and customized video messages or social media shoutouts. Most importantly – the platform gives fans the opportunity to team up with their favorite athlete and raise money for a great cause. 

DraftKings – 

Three former Vistaprint employees debuted DraftKings in 2012, with its first offering launching with a one-on-one baseball competition at the start of Major League Baseball’s opening day that spring. Just three months later, DraftKings immediately raised $1.4 million from a variety of investors, and then eventually even raised an undisclosed amount from Major League Baseball in 2013, who became the first major professional sports league to invest in fantasy sports.

DraftKings platform has evolved since that launch, growing from one baseball competition to daily and weekly fantasy sports contest covering a full spectrum of sports and providing tournaments for millions of daily users. With a number of competitors in the daily fantasy world growing, including FanDuel who actually started three years before DraftKings, the company has felt the need to grow and explore new markets and verticals. Last year, DraftKings took advantage of New Jersey’s recent relaxation of online sports gambling, launching an online sportsbook and preparing to move into any other states who join the trend of reducing gambling regulations through a number of key strategic hires with experience in that industry.

The Fantasy Life App –

Matthew Berry, potentially the most notable and famous fantasy football analyst in the world, launched The Fantasy Life App with one main goal – level the playing field between everyday players and experts like himself. The mobile-based application holds a number of features that can help drive the everyday fan to fantasy football success, including up-to-date injury and lineup alerts, an easily managed polling system for those tough start/sit decisions, an intuitive message board for trade discussions. And, with a successful recent Series A that included investors like Berry, MLB stars Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria and David Price, NASCAR’s Kyle Busch, plus early stage investment firms SK Ventures and Upstage Ventures, the Fantasy Life App is set up to lead the market in fan-focused fantasy content for a long time.

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