Boston’s DraftKings Inc., an online gaming destination that seeks to exploit the popularity of fantasy football and its equivalents in other sports, said Tuesday that it has closed a $24 million Series B funding round.
Fantasy Football seems to be gaining in popularity. On Thanksgiving when the National Football League is scheduled to offer a full menu of programming --- three games likely to run from just after noon until nearly midnight Eastern time --- many a young man will likely prefer to be watching football on TV to logging quality time with loved ones and family. For this dedicated breed of fan, having access to fantasy football while watching the game on TV is nearly as essential to an enjoyable game-day experience as a having a refrigerator loaded with light beer tall-boys.
Or to use the vernacular of the DraftKings press release: The firm’s “daily fantasy sports for cash” website is evolving into a “valuable companion to the live sports viewing experience” while “spawning impressive customer engagement statistics.”
According to the firm, DraftKings players currently spend more than five hours per week on its mobile app and website and often compete in several different sports. DraftKings added that it expects to award more than $50 million in prizes over the course of 2013.
DraftKings chief executive Jason Robins said the company plans to allocate some of the new funding to making the company’s mobile app more engaging and enjoyable for fans. Redpoint and GGV both have “deep experience in mobile gaming,” he said in a statement. Money will also be set aside to fund marketing and acquisitions, develop strategic partnerships, and to hire talent.
The release included a separate statement from Tom Dyal, a partner at Redpoint Ventures.
Said Dyal: “One of the most exciting aspects of venture investing is when we see a company that plays a role in creating a consumer phenomenon. DraftKings is just that sort of company. DraftKings’ innovative approach to coupling a clear monetization model with a huge, engaged fantasy sports audience captured our attention. The DraftKings’ team’s execution and focus made investing in them even more attractive to us.”