Aug 8, 2022 - Technology

Jake Paul raises $50M for new sports micro-betting and media company


Jake Paul, the YouTube star-turned-boxer, has raised $50 million alongside sports betting entrepreneur Joey Levy to launch a new company called Betr. The company will create a platform for sports micro-betting transactions and media content for sports betting fans, Levy tells Axios.

Why it matters: Betr hopes to launch as one of the first direct-to-consumer sports micro-betting app experiences in the U.S.

Context: Levy previously founded Simplebet, a leading B2B sports betting technology company that's licensed by major sports betting companies worldwide. Betr will leverage Simplebet's technology to simplify the user experience around micro-betting.

Details: The company, which is based in Miami, is launching with backing from a slew of heavy hitters in the media and sports industries.

  • Earlier this year, Betr closed a $30 million Series A led by Florida Funders. More recently, it raised an additional $20 million Series A1 led by Aliya Capital Partners and Fuel Venture Capital that is scheduled to close this quarter.
  • Big names like Travis Scott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Richard Sherman, DeSean Jackson and others have also contributed to Betr's early funding.
  • The funding will be used predominantly for building out the infrastructure around Betr's media business, and to support a dedicated customer acquisition budget for the betting side of its business.
  • Levy said the company is spending far less than it initially anticipated on deals with market access partners, like land-based casino operators. Instead of paying them for access, the company is offering them equity stakes in Betr, leaving a lot more money to use toward infrastructure and customer acquisition.
  • The firm has about 15 full-time employees and plans to roughly double in size by the end of the year.

How it works: The company will launch the Betr brand first with its new media investments as a way to generate awareness for Betr's sports micro-betting app, which will launch in beta in the coming weeks.

  • On Monday, it will debut its first sports show, "BS w/ Jake Paul" on YouTube. The show will feature Paul and his friends talking about sports and sports betting through their lens as celebrity influencers and athletes.
  • "You can probably expect 10+ videos a day from emerging content creators we've brought into the company," Levy told Axios. "But we're initially focused on the premium content natives, starting with Jake's show."
  • While media is meant to drive brand awareness, Levy said the company also plans to make money from its shows through sponsorships.
  • The company has talked to streamers about licensing some of its content, but it doesn't have any immediate plans to create shows for platforms other than the biggest social media apps to start

What's next: After the beta testing period, the app will launch later this year as a free-to-play experience in all 50 states.

  • "We view free-to-play as more of an interactive tutorial or glimpse into the future of fan engagement and sports betting and micro-betting," Levy said. "And that ultimately [will serve as] a registration, onboarding tool and conversion funnel to our real-money betting experiences."

The big picture: Few apps in the U.S. focus on micro-betting specifically, which has in some ways hindered the sector's growth. Most legacy gambling companies offer micro-betting as one of many add-on features, and few offer micro-betting content to help engage fans.

  • "These are inherently supposed to be entertainment experiences," as opposed to a transactional product stacked with complicated spreadsheets, Levin noted.

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