LAS VEGAS, Oct. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The market for sports betting in the U.S. is expanding at an unprecedented pace following a 2018 Supreme Court decision that allowed all states to legalize sportsbooks. A wave of innovative startups is emerging with products, services, and solutions designed to tap the estimated $17 billion dollar opportunity that legal U.S. sports betting represents.
Discovering, funding, and guiding the development of the best of those startups is the goal of the Sports Gaming Investment Fund (SGIF), a pioneering VC fund focused primarily on the U.S. legal sports betting industry.
Management for this industry-first fund features a host of gambling industry, investment, and venture expertise:
Chris Grove, Managing Partner: Grove is a partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, heading the firm's sports betting practice.
David Sargeant, Managing Partner: Sargeant is the founder and CEO of iGaming Ideas, a leading international incubator for gambling startups, and sports betting consultant.
Blaine Graboyes, Advisory Partner: Graboyes is the co-founder and CEO of the groundbreaking gambling machine developer GameCo.
Seth Schorr, Advisory Partner: Schorr is the Chairman of Fifth Street Gaming and co-founder of the streaming media startup Konek TV.
SeventySix Capital, Advisory Partner: SeventySix brings decades of fund management to the SGIF team and will assist with deal structure, vetting, and back office.
"There's no doubt that the keys to fully unlocking the potential of the U.S. sports betting market are in the hands of startups," said Grove, a nationally recognized expert on the legal sportsbook industry. "We're just now starting to see the ideas that will ultimately define sports betting in the United States."
"The pace of development in the U.S. market only increases the opportunity for startups," added Sargeant, who has evaluated hundreds of early-stage companies during his career. "Large casinos and software providers won't have the bandwidth or resources to truly innovate. They're too busy simply getting up and running."
Investors in SGIF have been attracted to the combination of timing, team, and opportunity.
"My decision to invest in SGIF was driven by my belief in the team's superior deal flow, their proven ability to evaluate that flow, and the resources they can deploy to support portfolio companies," said Jeremy Levine, an investor in SGIF. Levine is the founder of multiple companies, including DRAFT, which was acquired by PaddyPower Betfair in 2017.
For startups, SGIF will play an invaluable role in guiding them through the regulated gambling landscape.
"Gambling is one of the toughest industries for startups from a compliance perspective," noted Graboyes, who has steered GameCo from concept to a heavily licensed gambling supplier. "Having the right plan as early as possible in the process can easily be the difference between success and failure for a startup targeting the sports betting industry."
SGIF will add additional value to portfolio companies by helping to ensure optimal product fit and market access.
"Startups don't always appreciate what problems larger gambling companies are actually attempting to solve and what opportunities do and don't resonate with those companies," said Schorr, who has held management roles at several Las Vegas casinos and currently operates the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas. "We will help our startups hone their product, model, and approach to fit with the real demand within the gambling industry, and then match a startup's product to that demand."
About SGIF Sports Gaming Investment Fund (SGIF) is a VC fund focused on startups that support the emerging U.S. market for legal sports betting.
DISCLAIMER SGIF is providing this press release for informational purposes only. This is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation for an offer to buy an interest in any fund managed by SGIF. The interests in SGIF have not been recommended, approved or disapproved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or by the securities regulatory authority of any state or of any other U.S. or non-U.S. jurisdiction, including but not limited to Canada, nor has the SEC or any such securities regulatory authority passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this document. Investment in any security involves substantial risk. This press release only provides a partial list of the investments made by SGIF and does not purport to list all investments made by, or that will be made by, it. SGIF is under no obligation to update any of the information set forth herein. Additionally, no guarantee is being given that any investment recommendation made by SGIF will be profitable. This press release includes forward-looking statements that represent SGIF's opinions, expectations, believes, intentions, estimates, or strategies regarding the future, which may not be realized. These statements may be identified by the use of words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "will," "should," "seek," and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements reflect SGIF's view and assumptions with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual and future results and trends could differ materially from those described by such statements due to various factors, including those beyond SGIFs' ability to control or predict. Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. SGIF does not guarantee that the events described in this press release will happen as described.