Week 08, 2023

Here's what we saw, heard, and read in the betting industry's early-stage ecosystem last week

Hey, we’re back with our second weekly issue!

Let’s get right to it:

📰 Headline news

  • Female-focused operator Betty raises $5m round ahead of Ontario soft launch. (Link)

  • LeoVegas has agreed to sell its 25% stake in igaming B2B venture BeyondPlay to Bettor Capital for €1.9m. (Link)

  • Zeal Ventures, one of the biggest investors in the lottery space, invests in soccer sweepstakes app Circl. (Link)

  • Incentive Games launches the first free-to-play game on LiveScore’s mobile and media app. (Link)

  • Jake Paul and Joey Levy’s microbetting startup Betr has launched a combat sports media vertical, Betr Combat. (Link)

🗓️ Industry event field notes

  • iGaming NEXT NYC is coming up in two weeks, and it’s shaping up to be a can’t-miss event. Standard passes are now sold out (with a wait list being taken), but a limited number of VIP passes are still available.

  • Last week the Fantasy Sports & Gaming Association held its winter conference in Las Vegas. The event included the FSGA awards, with several categories dedicated to early-stage companies.

    Bettor Sports Network landed two awards: Best Product Experience (Non-operator startup) and Best Video Content Startup, while DFS Karma/Bet Karma took home the award for Best Audio Content Startup.

    We checked in with the founders of both startups to see how last week went for them:

“This was my 21st FSGA Conference and it may have been the best! There was a positive and inclusive atmosphere, with participants eager to meet new people and explore ways to help each other. The presentations were highly compelling and informative, the social events fun, and the cherry on top was a surprise visit from NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, who dazzled the crowd and again proved to be one of the nicest and most respectful athletes I’ve been around.”

Matt Deutsch - Founder, Bettor Sports Network

“Our Sports Betting & Player Props research hub, Bet Karma, has seen tremendous growth the last few months (all without a single dime of paid marketing mind you). So, winning the FSGA Award for Best Audio, attributed to our podcasts and live streams, was just icing on the cake. Add in the fact that the interest in our acquisition is also heating up, 2023 is proving to be an amazing year for us already.”

Trevis Waters - COO & co-founder, BetKarma.com / DFSKarma.com

📚 Recommended reads

  • USBets gives us a nice breakdown of microbetting did during the Superbowl. Spoiler alert: Simplebet saw a 47% increase in like-comparison of YoY handle. (Link)

  • Sportico shines a light on Steph Curry’s NFT project, which was expected to show the promise of web3, but like many NFT projects, it’s all but disappeared. (Link)

  • iGB published an investor roundtable discussing predictions for the investment climate in 2023 . (Link)

🔍 Featured founder

This week’s featured founder is Pierre Lindh, Managing Director at iGaming NEXT.

Pierre is well known across the igaming industry as an event organizer, podcast host, and vocal advocate for the industry that he has dedicated his entire career to.

But like most journeys, his hasn’t been a linear one while building and scaling iGaming NEXT. As this week’s featured founder, Pierre shares some candid insights from his journey so far.

Making calculated bets with your back against the wall
The story of iGaming Next is one of remarkable resilience. It planned to launch its first event in 2020, and then Covid canceled live events for an indeterminate length of time. At that time, it was unclear when live events would resume, and iGaming NEXT didn’t have the capital to weather an indefinite storm. This pushed Pierre and his cofounder to quickly look at new ways to bring in revenue, which resulted in them committing their life savings to buy five month’s of runway to figure it out. Spoiler alert: they are still here and on stronger footing than ever, but getting here required serious sacrifice in the face of major uncertainty.

On building trust through personal branding
Pierre credits his role as podcast host with helping to establish trust and build credibility with his audience - which he has leveraged to support iGaming NEXT’s event business. He encourages others to think about also creating content to profile themselves professionally, whether that be through podcasting, social media, writing, or other mediums.

Organizing ‘the Davos for iGaming’
Recognizing that the industry event calendar is congested, Pierre spends lots of time thinking about how iGaming NEXT differentiates itself from the rest. He believes that while other industry events position themselves as the biggest, iGaming NEXT will succeed due to its intentionally smaller size, ability to attract the industry’s most influential thought leaders, and a content-led agenda.

Hear Pierre tell his full story on Ep. 60 of The Betting Startups Podcast.

👔 Make your next move

Our favorite jobs at early-stage companies on BettingRoles.com, the largest job board dedicated to the betting, iGaming, and fantasy sports industries.

Before we get out of here this week, reminder if you’re part of an early-stage company in the space:

Forward this email to your PR people and ask them to add <[email protected]> to their contact list. We want to know everything announcement-worthy from your company!

See you again next week ✌️

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