Founder Alán Jaime Misrahi grew up dedicated to soccer, finally taking part in in Mexico’s third division. Whereas he didn’t essentially make it to the “large leagues” taking part in the game, his new firm Draftea goals to win over the 350 million sports activities followers in Latin America, Jaime Misrahi advised TechMac in an interview.
Draftea, which calls itself the primary each day fantasy sports activities firm in Spanish-speaking Latin America, emerged from stealth mode in the present day on the heels of a $13.2 million fundraise led by Kaszek with participation from Sequoia, Bullpen, and Nigel Eccles, founder and former CEO of sports-betting big FanDuel. Eccles serves as chairman of the board at Draftea.
The funding marks Sequoia’s first in an organization headquartered in Mexico, half a yr after the enterprise capital agency introduced plans to double down on alternatives in Latin America.
Draftea’s app prices sports activities followers a payment to draft a lineup of gamers and compete to win each day money prizes. The platform, at present in personal beta mode, will launch someday within the first quarter of this yr. It is going to first host Mexican fantasy soccer matches, although Jaime Misrahi mentioned the corporate goals to finally add choices till it hosts fantasy video games for “each single sport on this planet.”
“Once you consider a area the place soccer is nearly a faith, the place folks get collectively for actions which can be associated to sports activities, the place stadiums are full, the place folks take pleasure in [sports] as a household custom, the place individuals are in a number of WhatsApp teams speaking about sports activities and fantasy – we wish to deliver all that collectively,” Jaime Misrahi mentioned of Latin America.
Whereas sports activities betting platforms like Costa Rica’s Betcris are already in style within the area, Jaime Misrahi mentioned Draftea is relatively a “way more social platform.” It additionally differentiates itself by providing each day video games and interactions, in distinction to the less-frequent video games hosted by seasonal fantasy platforms that are inclined to mirror real-world sports activities schedules.
Apart from Jaime Misrahi, the core founding workforce consists of Alejandra Lascurain, former product head at Mexico’s largest neobank; Miguel Gutiérrez-Barquín, who beforehand led progress at Rappi; Joe Cohen, Vercel’s former head of engineering; and Andreas Assad, who labored at EA Sports activities. Draftea has 34 workers in whole in the present day and plans to double in dimension over the subsequent couple months throughout all key areas, Jaime Misrahi mentioned.
The workforce is waiting for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar this November, anticipated to be this yr’s greatest stay sports activities occasion worldwide.
“Our objective is to, by then, have a tremendous product, have launched in lots of nations in Latin America, and to have tons of, if not hundreds or hundreds of thousands, of customers engaged with our platform,” Jaime Misrahi mentioned.
Sequoia’s Konstantine Buhler met Jaime Misrahi by a mutual connection at Stanford, the place Jaime Misrahi accomplished his MBA final yr. Buhler led Sequoia’s funding in Draftea, partly as a result of he felt Jaime Misrahi exemplified “founder-market match” resulting from his ardour for sports activities and expertise as knowledgeable soccer participant, Buhler advised TechMac in an e mail.
“All of it comes all the way down to buyer love,” Buhler wrote. “Draftea is a first-of-its-kind neighborhood for sports activities followers in LatAm the place they’ll grow to be the protagonist of their favourite video games. We imagine Alán and workforce will rapidly seize the hearts of followers in Mexico then develop to different nations in time for the World Cup.”