10 Questions with Cohort 8 – Draft Fantasy Football

10 Questions with Cohort 8 – Draft Fantasy Football

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Blue Startups welcomed Cohort 8 in late October and we want you to get to know them better as they reach the half-way point in the program readying for their demo day at East Meets West 2017 in January and in San Francisco the first week of February 2017.

Today please meet Draft Fantasy Football:

1. What is the secret origin of your startup and your team?
For some reason, despite the fact that over 50 million Americans play draft-style fantasy sports, and the fact that millions of English fans love fantasy soccer, no draft-style fantasy soccer game existed for the English Premier League.

Founder and CEO, Elie Stenbock, noticed this gap in the fantasy soccer market and decided to build a draft-style fantasy soccer platform for the Premier League before drafting into a special unit in the Israeli army as a tank programmer. While running the platform as a side project in our first season, over 12,000 people organically began playing on our platform in before the 2015 Premier League season started. Needless to say, there was tremendous potential.

Sam Guigui, who was Elie’s roommate, was in school completing an International MBA and was gearing up to join a special R&D unit in the Israeli army at the time. One night Sam and Elie went to an investment party, where we met our third partner, Tyler Swartz. Tyler was advising start-ups after recently going through the exit of Wigo. Although Sam and Elie still had over half a year left serving in the Israeli army, we all decided to give Draft Fantasy our full attention to grow our user base and get funded.

The team is formed of likeminded individuals who are dedicated to working towards the success of the company and growing the company.

2. What problem(s) are you solving?
Until recently, English Premier League fans were lacking the ability to play draft-style fantasy soccer. Draft is the most common style of fantasy gaming in the world mainly due to its popularity in the United States. Fantasy soccer is a massive and growing industry worldwide and the English Premier League is one of the most popular professional sports leagues with 1.2 billion fans worldwide, so a lacking in English Premier League fantasy soccer options provides a very large opportunity. Our understanding of this problem guided the building of our solution, which is currently the most popular draft-style fantasy soccer platform.

3. What is your solution? (Your pitch)
We offer the leading draft-style fantasy soccer platform for the English Premier League. We provide a platform that places user experience and ease of use as paramount. Feedback from our 70,000 users has been incredible and has helped guide us to perfect the platform and build apps for iOS and Android.

We are now adding options to allow the 60% of our users living in the United Kingdom to place money on their fantasy soccer games each week in draft-style Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) games.

4. What kind of traction do you have?
We have established ourselves as the market leader in draft-style fantasy soccer with 70,000 registered users. After the success of our flagship Premier League fantasy soccer platform, we decided to expand our offerings to the US soccer league, MLS, and then a game for the 2016 European Championships.
We partnered with 101 Great Goals for the European Championships and saw tremendous growth. We then focused our efforts on the current Premier League season, which brought us to 70,000 registered users and 15,000 weekly actives.

draft-fantasy-football-25. Where do you see Draft Fantasy Football in 24 months after you graduate Cohort 8?
In 24 months we’re planning to grow ten times to 700,000 users with 30,000 paying users. We also plan to have further expanded into other soccer leagues like La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, and the Champions League. That being said, the English Premier League platform will remain as our flagship product and will give us access into the East Asian and Southeast Asian markets, which are currently completely untapped.

As the leader in draft-style fantasy soccer, we are looking to be the start of a revolution in the fantasy soccer world and expect others to follow our lead in the next two years.

6. What are your favorite growth hacks?
Honestly, our favorite growth hack has been our product itself. One of the properties that makes Draft Fantasy so fun and competitive is the social aspect. When someone comes to play Draft Fantasy, they create a league and invite their friends to join.

Our data indicates that over 65% of our users were referred by a friend and that over 85% refer at least one friend to our platform with over 40% inviting over 7 friends!

Additionally, Google SEO has played an instrumental role in our growth.

7. Who/What inspires you? (can be a founder, a person, a movement etc)
Our data indicates that over 65% of our users were referred by a friend and that over 85% refer at least one friend to our platform with over 40% inviting over 7 friends!

Additionally, Google SEO has played an instrumental role in our growth.

8. What is one thing you’ve learned in the program so far that you found valuable/insightful/crazy?
If you build it, they will come. It is the story of our company, but also describes the Hawaiian eco-system. We have seen that accelerators like Blue Startups are playing a major role to grow the Hawaiian eco-system and bring in companies from across the world.

Additionally, with great human resources and some capital, people can build incredible things that are bigger than ourselves. This may sound trivial and obvious, but belief in our ability to impact an industry is vital for entrepreneurship.

9. One secret thing you’ve learned about Hawaii you would tell Cohort 9 about?
It is really hard to find an apartment in Honolulu, but once you do, it’s really incredible being able to wake up everyday and work in paradise. It’s become a gem of entrepreneurship in the middle of the Pacific.

10. Where can we find you online? (list URL, social media and email)