According to a report by Acumen Research & Consulting, the global online gambling market size is expected to reach a market value of around USD 172 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 11.6% over the forecast timeframe. Practically, every day, millions of people play on various platforms.
Among other ways, sports betting is the most common form of mobile gambling, also given the opportunities of live-action. In addition, the introduction of tech-powered payment options has further enabled it. Given the above, several tech startups have come to life and new and established venture capitalists have invested in them to grow and thrive in the new market.
Below, you can have a (non-exhaustive) list of betting startups who have received VC backing at their early stage in the latest few months.
The new US legislation which allows single states to legalize sports betting has enabled the creation of new business models and the opening of new market opportunities in the industry. Some states already have fully regulated sports betting approved – e.g. online gambling in Michigan is legal while others have legalized limited wagering via in-person sportsbooks or mobile apps. Other states are in the process of opening up legally.
VC-backed companies include:
- Sporttrade provides an open betting marketplace that allows participants to trade sporting events the same way they trade stocks, with features like “always on” in-play trading, and the ability to trade in and out of bets at any time.
- Lucra Sports aims to enable social-first wagering, enabling users to legally wager across 37 states with their peers in a safe environment and with no traditional sportsbooks involved. The company’s app offers allow players to compete against each other and wager any amount in skill-based contests. In Fall 2021, Lucra launched an app offering legal head-to-head wagering, extending across state lines, for NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, golf (PGA TOUR), tennis (WTA and ATP), and soccer (MLS, UEFA Champions League, Premier League). The technology also applies to eSports (League of Legends, Counterstrike) and eSports wagering.
- ZenSports provides a mobile gaming app that offers sports betting, esports, payment, and NFT solutions for consumers. The sports betting platform allows customers to choose to bet against the house or create their own bets with their own odds and terms in a peer-to-peer way. The company provides a range of esports tournament features that can bring any tournament to life, including brackets, registration, payments, streaming via Twitch, Discord integration, and prizes/rewards using cryptocurrencies and NFTs. It also offers more options for how sports bettors and gamers can fund their accounts, wager, and earn rewards.
- Sports Gambling Guides is a social media affiliate marketing company which currently operates a network of over 800 Twitter and Instagram content influencers and creators with a combined audience of 22+ million followers. The client database includes big-name sports betting brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, PointsBet, and more, as well as Daily Fantasy Sports operator, PrizePicks. The company is currently licensed in all legal online betting states in the U.S.
- TAPPP is a technology and marketing company that helps media, consumer products, and sports wagering clients drive customer acquisitions, transactions, engagement, and retention through products and services offered on-screen, at events, and in-store. With a business focus built on Interactive Gaming, Betting & Transaction Platform, the company offers proprietary, real-time, content-specific viewing experiences across any end-user device and a Distribution & Payments Service Platform, which enables cash and digital transactions for gaming, betting and consumer products merchants.
- Vaunt partners with athletes, artists, and entertainers to develop interactive fan experiences that combine entertainment with technology, social, sports betting and merchandise including collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
- Chalkline is a provider of free play and real money games for operators and media companies. Its platform delivers personalized, localized games at scale, focusing on state-level conversions and measurably engaging sports fans for both media companies and operator clients.
- GridRival is a sports betting startup dedicated exclusively to motorsports that combines content and community to engage race fans.
- Data Skrive is a global provider of sports, and sports betting (which is now legal in 22 states,) content which leverages a patent-pending platform to automate the entire production process by converting raw data into actionable content optimized to client goals. It automates each aspect of content marketing from researching the topics of interest to optimizing performance for a given goal. Every piece of content is formatted for distribution channels like web, voice, native apps, OTT, search, social, email, or SMS.
- The Game Day is a digital sports media company for betting and fantasy fans. It works with influencers, athletes, and talent from across the sporting universe and offers news, entertainment, real-time updates and resources for its audience, odds and expert picks, as well as direct access to affiliated sportsbooks.
- PropSwap is a peer-to-peer marketplace for active sports wagers. Customers who place a legal sports bet in the US are able to list their tickets for sale, at a price they determine, and PropSwap helps them find a buyer. Buyers on the platform find the best odds available, by purchasing directly from another individual.
- Rivalry is a Toronto, Canada-based internationally-regulated sports betting and media property company.
In the more established UK market, there are startups who continue to try to disrupt the industry with the development of advanced solutions. Among them,
- Kero Gaming is a developer of an algorithmically-powered in-game betting engine that – delivered as a white-label platform to professional sports teams leagues, and sportsbook operators – enables clients to provide users with a mobile-optimized, real-time interactive experience to increase engagement and retention. The company, which to date offered its product as a free-to-play experience inside the apps of professional sports teams, has announced the launch of a real money wagering version of its technology tailored to sports betting operators in Q3 2022.
- Midnite is a dedicated esports and sports betting platform which also provides skilled gamers the chance to bet on their own gameplay for real cash prizes and a casual casino and minigames with UI and features designed specifically for gamers.
- BetDEX is building a decentralized sports betting protocol built on public blockchain Solana to offer consumers trades, while eliminating counterparty risk. The decentralized and open-sourced protocol allows third parties to build their own applications and innovate on top of the solution.
- Cipher provides users with a combination of tools, content and communities to make sports more bettable. Its advanced analytics drive the machine learning models developed by a team of data scientists, who specialize in sports betting and daily fantasy. These predictive analytics models, combined with its proprietary technology, power its entire network of consumer brands, as well as B2B partnerships with media companies and betting operators.