Joey Levy and Jake Paul want to bring micro-betting to the forefront of US sports betting. They now have $50 million to back their venture, called Betr.
Levy, who cofounded micro-betting product developer Simplebet, and Paul, a social media influencer and professional boxer, announced the creation of Betr, pronounced “better,” in a Monday morning press release. The Miami-based company has a two-part sports betting strategy and a cadre of prominent investors from the sports, business, and gaming worlds behind it.
First, Betr wants to develop an online sports betting app focused on micro-betting, also known as in-play betting. The company’s press release claims wagering on events like pitches in baseball or plays in football will provide “instant gratification” to the wagering experience.
Levy believes micro-betting will do for sports betting what daily fantasy games did for the fantasy sports industry.
“I cofounded Simplebet to simplify the sports betting user experience – to reconsider why sports betting products felt uninterpretable to the casual fan who had never bet on sports before,” said Levy, who will serve as Betr’s CEO. “In doing so, we discovered that the technology required to enable a scalable micro-betting platform around the moments that drive US sports did not yet exist, given the global market’s focus was on soccer, a fluid sport without a natural start and stop cadence. So, we decided to build it ourselves at Simplebet. However, years later, the user experience remains unintuitive for a mass market consumer.”
Betr will “unbundle” micro-betting because it will be built around the premise, and Levy said it will offer an easy-to-understand user interface. Betr’s platform will use Simplebet’s technology when it’s introduced in the near future.
It also plans to offer online casino games as well. A free-play sports site will also be available across the US.
Betr to Operate Media Division
The second part of the strategy involves developing original media content, which is where Paul comes in. He has more than 70 million followers on social media, and on Monday, he gave a taste of what his weekly show, titled “BS w/Jake Paul,” will feature.
Backers believe the media side of the Betr venture will generate revenue and brand awareness, leveraging Paul’s popularity – especially with Gen-Z, the oldest members of which are now in their early 20s.
In a video tweet Monday introducing Betr, Paul said he declined a $40 million offer from a “crypto-casino” earlier this year and instead chose to partner with Levy. Paul just last year invested in Levy’s Simplebet.
I wasn’t into sports betting until I was introduced to micro-betting,” said Paul, who will serve as Betr’s president. “Micro-betting is the TikTok-ification of sports betting, and I am excited to bring it to the masses through Betr. We are in this for the long haul and are focused on doing things the right way.”
Levy and Paul say the company has already secured access to several US states through equity-sharing partnerships. Those deals will be announced at a later date.
Betr also announced a couple of key hires that will help develop products for the company’s two wings.
Mike Denevi comes to the startup from Bleacher Report, where he helped establish that online media company’s BR Betting unit, and Alex Ursa joins after helping FanDuel develop its sports betting and casino products.
Who is Backing Betr?
So, who is backing this venture? According to Betr’s release, it’s a long list of high-profile investors.
From the sports world, investors include Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman, and Pro Bowl wide receivers Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson. Others who are in include the Stronach Group, which owns Miami-area Gulfstream Park and several other US racetracks, and Miami’s Magic City Casino.
Florida Funders led a $30 million Series A fundraising round for Betr. That ended up being oversubscribed, according to Betr’s release, and that led to a subsequent $20 million Series A1 round led by Aliya Capital Partners and Fuel Venture Capital.
“Florida Funders saw a massive opportunity in a nascent market where the legacy players have not been strong from product, technology, and cultural relevance standpoints,” said Saxon Baum at Florida Funders. “In addition to the market opportunity, the ability to back Joey Levy for the third time – having invested early with Joey in Simplebet and in 305 Ventures – was something we could not pass up on. In addition to Jake Paul, Joey has surrounded himself with great people, including Alex Ursa and Mike Denevi. We could not be more excited about the future of Betr – and are thrilled to be on this journey as this team changes sports betting and sports media in the US.”
Challenges Ahead of Betr
Micro-betting is not a new concept. It’s been discussed for years as sports betting has grown across the US. But it has yet to gain much traction.
While Betr talks a big game in its release, it will have at least a couple of challenges to overcome in its quest to be a sports betting leader.
First, the current sports betting landscape is dominated mainly by FanDuel and DraftKings, with BetMGM and Caesars Sportsbook also holding significant shares of the market. Much of that market share has been acquired through heavy spending as the operators launched in new states.
Levy, in a statement, said he and his cohorts have a chance to “build the most capital-efficient and culturally relevant gambling business in the US.” The model, though, does not seem all that far off from what Penn Entertainment and Barstool Sports envisioned. So far, Barstool Sportsbook has become a mid-tier operator in the states where it’s licensed.
Another issue may be technology. Not Betr’s or Simplebet’s, but the tech behind streaming games online for fans to watch. Latency issues with streaming services mean the games fans are watching in their homes or on their devices are usually a few plays behind. That’s an issue that needs to be addressed in order for micro-betting to be in a position to grow.
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