Week 20, 2023
Here's what we saw, heard, and read in the betting industry's early-stage ecosystem last week
Hey! We’re now back (and rested) after a fantastic week in NYC/NJ for SBC Summit North America.
Let’s get you caught up on the latest from the last couple weeks: ⤵️
📰 Headline news
The SBC Summit North America was held in New Jersey last week, and it was action packed. Read the official event recap from SBC.
The First Pitch competition was held, with 5 industry startups pitching to a live audience and judging panel for a $55k prize package. Congrats to Scrimmage on being declared winner by the judges! 🏆 (Link)
GeoComply acquires OneComply in its first-ever acquisition. (Link)
Jake Paul’s Betr acquires FansUnite’s Chameleon Gaming Platform for $7.45m. (Link)
Also from Betr: it unveiled new micro-parlay product Scripts, alongside its Massachusetts launch. (Link)
WagerWire announces nine affiliate deals and US licensing. (Link)
Tallysight enters into data and content partnership with Sportradar. (Link)
We checked in with Scrimmage co-founder Dan Taren on what the W means to him:
For us, winning the pitch gave us validation. We know what our product can do, but sometimes it takes validation like this before other people believe what our product can do, and they have very quickly started to believe it.
📚 Recommended Reads
A look at the explosion of best ball-style fantasy sports, following Underdog’s launch of its biggest-ever tournament with a $15m prize pool. (Link)
FrontOffice Sports looks back on the 5-year anniversary of PASPA’s repeal, and why “sports betting is at a tipping point”. (Link)
The good folks over at Gaming News Canada recorded a cool interview with OneComply’s co-founders a couple days before the rest of us found out about their acquisition by GeoComply. (Link)
Solid 3-piece summary of various panel discussions at SBC, including on the topics of microbetting, suggested bets, and responsible gambling.
Are you reading (or writing) something 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:
The Canadian Gaming Summit descends on Toronto June 13-15, which also includes First Pitch - which I’m pleased to announce that I’m once again moderating! Use Use promo code BETTINGSTARTUPSVIP for $200 off your All Access pass. Event details & agenda.
The buzz is building for iGaming NEXT Valetta! Over 4,000 industry leaders will attend its much-anticipated annual flagship event June 21-22. The agenda is packed in what is sure to be a memorable week in beautiful Malta. Event details & agenda.
🤝 Deal corner
Can you help us connect to qualified leads for these opportunities?
💥 New this week! Seed investment opportunity in early-stage innovative P2P sports betting platform taking a unique and novel angle on the sector. Product, users, and partnerships established and growing. Raising $250k.
Early-stage operator raising new funding to help facilitate expansion into selected US markets. Available for meetings at SBC to discuss further with qualified investors.
Seed investment opportunity in an early-stage product that has existing relationships with leagues and sportsbooks. Less than $300k left unsubscribed!
Looking for investment, or have a relevant deal to share? Reply w/ deets and we’ll get you in.
🎙️ ICYMI: Check out Betting On It
Betting On It is an 8-episode podcast series that follows one betting industry startup as it gets investor-ready ahead of launching its seed funding round.
Season 1 focuses on the fundraising journey for BetsBooster. The final episode will see its co-founders pitch their business to 3 industry investors for feedback and advice.
Get caught up and then tune in for the last 3 episodes:
S1 E1: Exploring key assumptions. Apple Podcasts | Spotify
S1 E2: Learnings from the UK market w/ John Gordon from Incentive Games. Apple Podcasts | Spotify
S1 E3: A masterclass in gamification w/ Yu-Kai Chou. Apple Podcasts | Spotify
S1 E4: Embracing the entrepreneurial grind w/ Colin Davy from Betscope. Apple Podcasts | Spotify
S1 E5: Running a successful crowdfunding campaign w/ Aaron Basch from Sparket. Apple Podcasts | Spotify
S1 E6: Dropping later this week! (and it’s 🔥)
🔍 Featured founder
His career has seen him work for professional leagues including the NFL and MLB before spending 10 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars overseeing fan engagement. Now he is taking that experience to create a novel solutions for fan engagement. This week’s Featured Founder is Hussain Naqi, founder & CEO of Inside The Pocket.
On the current state of fan engagement
Hussain says that fan engagement in the digital age is complicated. Teams are constantly navigating between the rights of the league office and the teams, and determining which rights to delegate to which side of the ledger. This creates an equity question where small markets are versus large markets, which makes it difficult to determine how to be fair to broadcasters. Nonetheless, teams are embracing all the new technology and platforms to engage fans in diverse ways that are exciting to watch.
How operators should think about free-to-play (F2P)
Hussain believes that the F2P model is a strategy and not a tactic. Oftentimes, operators will spin up a product and see whether it works or not. If it does not get the promised traction, then F2P is considered a general failure. However, treating F2P as an owned and operated affiliate is an interesting approach to acquisition since it is still cheaper than paying a CPA - provided that the operators dedicates someone to own and champion it internally.
Aggregating F2P content
Inside The Pocket has built a single integration for operators that gives them access to F2P content from 16 different providers. Hussain simply wants the best products out there on the platform, and is agnostic about who gets chosen by operators. He sees this approach as a win-win solution for everyone involved because the end consumers can choose the best product out there for them.
India as a growth market
As an operator of a DFS game focusing on cricket and soccer in India, Hussain has a unique perspective on that market. He notes that India is a huge growth market for early stage companies in the betting and gaming space, but that the landscape is still evolving. Determining what products will be considered games of skill versus games of chance is done on a state-by-state basis, creating some regulatory fragmentation. India is also expensive to get your name out there and cut through. But for those willing to invest, there is a huge opportunity to tap into this high-growth market and drive significant value.
Hear Hussain tell his full story on Ep. 67 of The Betting Startups Podcast:
⚪ Apple Podcasts
We’ve hit the finish line for this week’s edition, but fear not, we’ll run it all back again in seven-ish days! ✌️
Give us the straight goods:
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