GamesBeat

DraftDay raises $875K round for daily fantasy sports web site

Fantasy sports leagues require a big investment of time. You pick your fantasy team and watch your results unfold over the course of a season. If you aren’t lucky, it could be a very long season.

That’s why DraftDay is offering something different: a fantasy sports game that lasts for just a day and then starts over. That idea, in turn, has enabled the company to raise an $875,000 round of investment from Lightbank, the tech investment fund created by Groupon co-founders Eric Leftkosky and Brad Keywell. DraftDay is applying some form of the daily deal Groupon business model to fantasy sports.

Chicago-based DraftDay launched its site in September with the game DraftDay Perfect Lineup, which had a $1 million prize. It provides fantasy competitions for basketball, football, baseball and hockey. Players build a fantasy team based on the salary of every player in real life and then compete for one day only. Winners get cash prizes.

“We are very pleased to invest in DraftDay and foresee substantial long-term growth for the company’s unique daily fantasy model,” said Paul Lee, partner at Lightbank.

The company has had more than 10,000 registrations. Users can play for free or place bets when they compete against a pool of other players. Taylor Caby and Andrew Wiggins founded the company in 2011. Both are serial entrepreneurs and former professional poker players. They previous created CardRunners, a dorm-room business that generated millions of dollars per year.

“DraftDay is transforming fantasy sports into a daily event,” said Caby. “We understand that not everyone wants to manage a fantasy team for months at a time, especially since one unlucky injury can ruin a season.”

The company has nine employees. Rivals include Fanduel and Draftstreet. FanDuel says it has already paid out more than $20 million in prizes and is on track to pay out $50 million this year. Lesley Eccles and her husband set the business up in Scotland in 2009 and now FanDuel has 25 employees. It has raised $7 million in capital.

DraftDay evidently knows who its audience is: the male sports fan. The video below has a couple of sexist remarks about women, so the company doesn’t seem to be trying to recruit them as players. “Go on, play the field,” it says. “Whatever happens, it all starts over tomorrow.”


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