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Midnite has raised $16 million to create a licensed esports betting platform in markets that allow it.

The Raine Group, a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media and telecommunications, led the round. As part of the round, existing investors increased their investment in London-based Midnite.

The Raine Group’s cofounder and partner John Salter will join Midnite’s board and managing director Garrett Gomes will become a board observer. Raine’s investment is a part of its dedicated gaming investment platform.

Proceeds from this round will be used to help fund Midnite’s growth initiatives as the company supercharges its product platform.

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So far, that includes Sportsbook, launched in 2020, which lets users wager on esports and traditional sports. It also includes CashMode, launched in 2021, to provide skilled gamers the chance to bet on their own gameplay for real cash prizes. And it has an upcoming product dubbed Arcade — launching in 2022 — that offers users a hypercasual casino and minigames experience with a user interface and features designed specifically for gamers.

“We have a super simple UX, we’re constantly shipping new features, upgrades and content to improve the product and we have the mentality that we’re never finished and that’s what the customer deserves,” said Nicholas Wright of Midnite, in an interview with GamesBeat.

He said the company is targeting Generation Z players.

Midnite founders Daniel Qu and Nicholas Wright .

“Midnite employs a product-first growth mentality, and we have been impressed by its founders and fully believe in their vision for the company,” said Salter, in a statement. “Their talented and dedicated team is passionate about changing the way fans experience the games they love, and we look forward to helping them create the next generation of sports betting.”

Midnite was founded in 2018 by Wright and Daniel Qu, gaming industry specialists who previously created Dribble, a daily fantasy sports platform. They were both Americans, but they migrated to the United Kingdom around six or seven years ago to focus on the intersection of licensed gambling and and daily fantasy sports.

“We really just discovered this big hole in the big betting operators that we know today,” Wright said. “We didn’t think they were thinking far enough ahead on who the fans of tomorrow are. They weren’t catering to them.”

A lot of the online gambling and fantasy sports products were are still using HTML5 and Flash games, and slow-moving legacy brands, Wright said.

“If you look at gamers, they’re taking over the world,” Wright said. “They’re more sophisticated consumers. They are digital first. These big betting companies are just marketing brands from yesterday, built for for your dad and your grandpa. They’re not mobile first or familiar with the Discord or Twitch generation.”

Their new team worked closely with Sky Bet, one of the largest operators in the United Kingdom, to launch the platform. The company is currently licensed with the British Gambling Commission and is pending licensing approval with the Malta Gaming Authority.

Outside of the United Kingdom, Midnite has held a soft launch in Brazil and next expects to enter Mexico, which will be accelerated by a partnership with a Mexican operator.

Raine has been investing in the gaming sector since its inception in 2008, with early investments in DraftKings, Jackpocket, and Mythical Games.

By contrast, Midnite is targeting Gen Z and millennials.

“We do think our product speaks for itself and the user experience feels more natural to them,” he said. “Midnite’s experience feels like home to the next generation and it lets them get some skin n the game.”

The company is focused on the U.K. because it is a regulated market, which Wright said is key to building responsibly.

“We think this market should be technology led, and we look at betting as a form of entertainment,” Wright said. “We want users to get that entertainment around the games that they love, every week or every month.”

Wright said the team built all of its technology in house.

“That has given us a ton of flexibility,” he said.

Right now, the company has a native iOS app and it is also available on the web. An Android app is in the works in the coming months. The company will also launch another iOS app for the CashMode app. The company will put multiple games in a single app, or separate them as needed.

The Arcade game will be a hypercasual title with random-number-generated games, where you can bet on titles such as crypto casino games. Wright said the company is considering a nonfungible token (NFT) project for the long term as a way to supercharge its loyalty program.

“I don’t think we’re going to go full out blockchain anytime soon,” he said. “I think it’s too early for the regulated operators. But I think we’re going to be tracking how it applies over the next two to five years.”

Midnite has about 30 people working for it, and it expects to double in the coming months. He said the company is focused on organic growth as well as partnerships to get its apps noticed.

“We have we have we have brought on some really awesome new talent on the teams and some noteworthy hires,” Wright said.

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