The chase and constant raise of money for FanDuel and DraftKings has slowed down since the companies have refocused their attention to lobbying for change in state gambling laws and a pending merger that has yet to be approved. But the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry is still alive and well, with investing opportunities abound.
In fact, DraftKings' founder and CEO Jason Robins is an investor in a $1.2 million seed round for a company in the daily fantasy sports space. The company, RotoQL, is a data and analytics play that provides tools for daily fantasy sports players for building competitive lineups. It claims to level the playing field amongst competitors vying for big prize money, referencing a known problem in the industry -- that it has become exceedingly difficult for the majority of consumers to compete with an elite few who dedicate countless hours and automation to winning daily fantasy sports competitions.
Robins is joined in the raise by Boston Seed Capital, which led the seed round, and Saahil Sud, a top ranked daily fantasy sports player who is the founder of RotoQL.
"RotoQL seeks to build and own the information highway for consumers in the sports vertical," says Sud. "Our vision goes beyond just DFS. We also seek to revolutionize and democratize the way consumers access and enjoy sports data and this seed round will help us get there faster."
Currently, RotoQL supplies a DFS product, but the company plans to soon introduce data products for season-long fantasy players as well.
"While there are several large B2B sports data businesses, there is no leader in sports data for consumers -- we believe the team at RotoQL will become the Bloomberg data terminal for sports fans," says Boston Seed Capital Managing DirectorPeter Blacklow.
Other investors joining Blacklow, Robins and Sud include Tim McSweeney, a former hedge fund manager who is also invested inDraftKings; Mark Mariani, owner of VegasInsider; Paul Beattie, founder of OpenBet; and Ralph Topping, former CEO of William Hill. The $1.2 million seed round follows an earlier $500,000 raise with a family office leading that round. RotoQL is already profitable and will generate seven-figures in revenue in 2017, according to the company.
"This idea is that sports data is really a new form of entertainment. We see that as a potential focal point of sports and entertainment going forward," saysRotoQL co-founder and CEO Justin Park. "Our vision is to be a premium consumer data company. Up until this point you have STATS and Sportradar that provide data to media companies and teams. We want to democratize sports data at the consumer level . . . give the Average Joe the same insights that a general manager of a sports team has."
Sud noticed a problem in the DFS space and sought to find a solution. It makes sense from a business standpoint, but could actually work against claimsmade by lobbyists who have pushed the premise that excelling at DFS requires more skill than chance. If the playing field is actually leveled by Sud's software, then it could be argued that chance plays a larger role in the outcomes of competitions and that it resembles more traditional casino gambling than skill-based contests.