Week 16, 2023

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

Hey! We’re back to give you the straight goods on another busy week in our corner of the industry. Let’s get into it:

📰 Headline news

New milestones from early-stage companies in the space:

  • BeyondPlay secures $5m+ funding round led by Bettor Capital to bring its innovative multiplayer gaming product to market. (Link)

    👉 Pssst! Listen to BeyondPlay Founder & CEO Karolina Pelc discuss the raise on The Betting Startups Podcast. Part 1 | Part 2

  • NHL makes strategic investment in Low6, which becomes the league’s official free-to-play gaming provider in a multiyear deal. (Link)

  • Sports streaming startup Buzzer raises $20 million as it looks to license it platform to leagues, teams, and networks. (Link)

  • Mojo celebrates six months of live trading - “combining the liquidity of capital markets with the excitement of sports”. (Link)

  • BettingStartups.com launched a new podcast mini-series called Betting On It, an 8-episode series that follows one betting industry startup as it gets investor-ready ahead of its seed funding round. (Link)

📚 Recommended reads

  • Sportico highlights a new clause in the NBA CBA that allows players to make larger investments alongside owners. More athlete-funded startups to come? (Link)

  • Over in the wild west known as Linkedin, we’ve seen a couple recent case studies of successful marketing by early-stage operators Underdog Fantasy (link) and Dabble (link). Shout out to James McLoughlin for his good work on these!

Are you reading (or writing) something interesting that you think belongs here? Hit reply and send it to us for inclusion!

🗓️ Industry event calendar

Upcoming events that have a focus on industry startups:

Free admission - apply now!

  • 💥 New! GeoComply launches the Challenger Series Summit in partnership with Citi on May 8 in NYC. Learn from the industry’s top gaming experts as they help you navigate through business challenges, including the complex regulatory environment. Want a taste of what you will experience? Watch the trailer and learn more here.

  • 💥 New! SiGMA Asia has announced that its upcoming Manila expo in July will host 100 startup companies as part of its Startup Village project. The event will also feature a pitch competition to connect budding startups and entrepreneurs with leading industry experts. See event details.

  • SBC Summit North America returns to NJ May 9-11. As always, the First Pitch competition will showcase live pitches from 5 industry startups. Use promo code BSP23 for $200 off your ticket. Event details & agenda.

  • The Canadian Gaming Summit descends on Toronto June 13-15, which also includes First Pitch. Industry startups are invited to apply for the competition until April 30. Same deal: promo code BSP23 to claim your discount. Event details & agenda.

  • Hot on the heels of a wildly successful event in NYC, the team at iGaming NEXT is preparing to welcome over 4,000 industry leaders to its annual flagship event June 21-22, iGaming NEXT Valetta. Just the excuse you needed to visit beautiful Malta! Event details & agenda.

🤝 Deal corner

Can you help us connect to qualified leads for these opportunities?

  • 💥 New! Early-stage industry startup with product + existing relationships with leagues and sportsbook operators. Closing seed round in the next month. Less than $300k left unsubscribed, 50k minimum.

  • For sale: portfolio of 20 betting-focused website properties, 19 social media channels w/ 70k combined followers, email list w/ 16k opt-ins, and more. Low-to-mid six figures. Offers accepted until April 30.

  • Now buying: [redacted] is in the market for properties to purchase or JV with. Especially interested in sports-specific properties with a decent .com presence, and some local, and/or regional domain authority around legal teams or markets.

  • Seeking angels: Betting-focused B2C mobile app raising 500k. Live product with 5-figure downloads, revenue, and solid team.

Looking for investment, or have an interesting deal to share? Reply w/ deets.

🔍 Featured founder

She managed professional athletes like Pete Sampras, Marcelo Ríos, and Martina Hingis. She co-founded The Players Tribune with Derek Jeter. And in her latest act, she has co-founded The Gaming Society with Kevin Garnett to build an inclusive community of sports fans. This week’s Featured Founder is Jaymee Messler.

On partnering with Derek Jeter
When Jaymee was the CMO of a sports management company, she met Derek through his agent, and started advising him on his post-career strategy. Through conversations, they connected on the idea of empowering athletes to have a voice and be able to own their narrative and own their story. That idea would become The Players Tribune, which launched in 2014 the day after his last professional game!

Creating inclusive content
Jaymee doesn’t think that current marketing efforts in the betting ecosystem sufficiently speaks to women, which she sees as opportunity for The Gaming Society:

“Everything's really targeting one demographic of avid bettors, and so we're trying to create inclusive content that speaks to a variety of people - but women specifically. Part of our priority is propelling women sports forward. The other priority is talking to and empowering women as sports fans.”

Holding sportsbooks accountable
For betting to help drive interest and growth in women’s sports, sportsbooks need to offer markets on these events - which of course isn’t a priority for their roadmaps unless there is demand for the product. But Jaymee welcomes this challenge: “We really wanna create that movement and start showing people how much interest there is in betting on women's sports, and hold the books accountable to start making those odds and lines available.”

Having conviction over consensus
When she started pitching the concept for The Players Tribune, she faced widespread pessimism at the idea that athletes would participate and share their stories. But her background and experience working with professional athletes gave her conviction that it would work, which is why she believes that entrepreneurs should trust their own instincts, experience, and insights.

Hear Jaymee tell her full story on Ep. 62 of The Betting Startups Podcast:

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That’s a wrap! Make sure to take a stretching break before you move onto the next thing in your day.

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