Eccles, Bullpen, Sequoia, Kaszek Invest in Draftea $13.2m Round

A daily fantasy sport (DFS) app focused on Latin America raised $13.2 million in a seed funding round that saw some prominent industry investors back the startup ahead of the app’s launch in Q1 2022.

Nigel Eccles Moves in on the Venture

Draftea, a socially geared DFS platform that is currently in its beta-testing phase and preparing for launch in Mexico, attracted investor interest from some industry heavyweights, including FanDuel co-founder Nigel Eccles and venture capital funds Kazsek, Sequoia Capital and Bullpen Capital.

Eccles, who was the main figure behind the decentralized betting exchange BetDex launched in October, expressed his excitement and high hopes for 2022, propping up expectations for an “epic” year for the startup. The co-founder of FanDuel became chairman of Draftea.

The app is initially expected to allow players to draft teams based on Mexican soccer but is not hiding its ambitions to expand into other sports in the region and internationally. Developed by former Stanford-graduate Alán Jaime Misrahi, the app is aiming for rapid expansion in the lead to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

“Our goal is to, by then, have an amazing product, have launched in many countries in Latin America, and to have hundreds, if not thousands or millions of users engaged with our platform,” Misrahi commented for TechCrunch, emphasizing on the social status of soccer in the Latin American region.

“When you think of a region where football is almost a religion, where people gather for sports-related activities, where stadiums are full, where people enjoy [sport] as a family tradition, where people are in various WhatsApp groups talking about sports and fantasy, we want to unite all that.”

Alán Jaime Misrahi, Founder, Draftea

Draftea is also looking to double up its current team of 34 employees in the coming months, following the completion of the funding round. The executive team of the app features former EA Sports executive Andreas Assad as head of operations, Joe Cohen as head of technology, Alejandra Lascurain as head of product, and Miguel Gutiérrez-Barquín, who will be responsible for the marketing of the business.

Bullpen Capital Keen on the Action

“We have great confidence in this rockstar team that they will execute on their ambitious vision,” wrote in a blogpost Paul Martino, managing partner of Bullpen Capital, another of the investors in the funding round.

Bullpen Capital was also among the first to invest in FanDuel during its nascent years, defying all regulatory uncertainties related to the business at that time.

“In many ways, this is a classic Bullpen contrarian investment. We’ve made 10+ investments in sports betting and fantasy sports gaming play, and we are accessing a market that others have found difficult and uncertain. However, in other ways, this is atypical for our fund.”

Paul Martino, Managing Partner, Bullpen Capital

Despite Draftea being a “blue blood-backed company” fitting the business profile Bullpen avoids to invest, the investment is showing the fund’s “willingness to find overlooked founders, geographies and sectors to find the next great company,” Martino concluded, suggesting Draftea could be the “FanDuel for Spanish-speaking Latin America.”

California-based venture capital fund Sequoia Capital and Latam-focused venture capital fund Kaszek were also among the investors in the funding round.

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