DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) announced today its venture capital unit, Drive by DraftKings, is rolling out its first venture fund, following a $60 million raise.
Drive by DraftKings invests in entertainment and sports technology companies, among others. The venture unit of the Boston-based daily fantasy sports (DFS) and online sports betting giant rapidly raised that $60 million and counts some well-known investors among its backers.
Raised in just six months, the fund is oversubscribed by 20%, with notable investors including The Kraft Group (New England Patriots), Jerry Jones family (Dallas Cowboys), DraftKings Inc., Todd Boehly (Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks), Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., Arctos Sports Partners, and Mike Gordon (Fenway Sports Group),” according to a statement.
Boehly and the Jones and Kraft families were early DraftKings investors. Investable areas of emphasis for the DraftKings’ venture business include human performance, sports and gaming, media and fan engagement, and data analytics and monetization.
DraftKings Evolution Continues
A year and a half removed from its debut as a freestanding public company, DraftKings is extending efforts to position itself as much more than a gaming company. The venture capital unit jibes with that objective.
Earlier this year, DraftKings signed a $50 million deal with Meadowlark Media, the owner of Dan Le Batard’s network of shows. Prior to that, it acquired Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) and it’s been rumored the gaming company could eventually mull a streaming entertainment acquisition, among other pursuits.
Additionally, DraftKings recently launched DraftKings Marketplace — a non-fungible tokens (NFTs) business. The platform partners with Autograph, an NFT collecting platform cofounded by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady.
Drive by DraftKings could leverage the parent company’s long list of well-heeled contacts and famous athlete partners to make inroads in the burgeoning digital gaming and sports venture spaces.
Sports Venture Investing Heating Up
Drive by DraftKings rolls out its initial fund as the sports venture investing space is experiencing a brisk pace of activity. As just one example, Sharp Alpha Advisors recently said its first venture fund raised $10 million and was also oversubscribed.
Drive by DraftKings already has stakes in 11 companies, including Cardless, Elite HRV, Evaluate.Market, Guidesly, Just Women’s Sports, Muxy, Papaya Gaming, PickUp, StreamLayer, Tappp, Toya, VidMob, and WHOOP.
While investor enthusiasm for iGaming and sports betting is palpable, many aren’t aware of the sports tech opportunity set. But data confirms it’s appealing in is own right.
“According to MarketsandMarkets, the global sports technology market (including devices, smart stadiums, sports analytics, and esports) was valued at $17.9 billion in 2020, with some experts forecasting it to eclipse $40 billion by 2026,” notes Drive by DraftKings.
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