Former executives of Scottish sports gaming platform FanDuel has raised $21M (approx £15.6M) funding in a Seed round to launch the world’s first decentralised sports betting company – BetDEX. Notably, it is the largest ever seed investment round by a UK startup.
The funding round was led by San Francisco-based crypto investment firm Paradigm and Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Other investors like Multicoin Capital, Hack VC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sino Global Capital, Solana Ventures, and Everblue Management participated in the round.
Blockchain and sports betting
Set for launch in the first half of 2022, BetDEX combines blockchain technology with sports betting to transform the consumer sports betting experience.
BetDEX aims to take the opposite approach, with a protocol built on public blockchain Solana, and will offer consumers extremely fast and low-cost trades while eliminating counterparty risk.
The protocol will be fully decentralized and open-source, allowing third parties to build their own applications and innovate on top of the platform. BetDEX plans to accept wagers in USDT, SOL, and SAMO at launch.
Former FanDuel co-founder and CEO Nigel Eccles becomes BetDEX’s Non-executive Chair, Varun Sudhakar is appointed CEO, and Stuart Tonner takes up the CTO role.
Nigel Eccles, Co-Founder, and Chairman of BetDEX says: “Blockchain technology is set to revolutionise sports betting and we want to be at the forefront of that. It’s exciting to be founding the business with Varun and Stuart and to be building it in Scotland. We are energized to have the backing and wealth of expertise that comes with having Paradigm and FTX as cornerstone investors.”
Varun Sudhakar, Co-Founder, and CEO of BetDEX says: “The sports betting industry charges high prices for poor products and limits trades by its most successful users. BetDEX is diametrically opposed to this approach, we will successfully compete against incumbents with a markedly superior product and low fees, which is now possible with the advent of blockchain technology. Winners will always be welcome on our protocol.”
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO and Founder of FTX, says: “We are thrilled to be backing a team with deep industry expertise to transform the sports betting experience. It is mind-boggling that more sports wagering does not occur on exchanges – we firmly believe in giving consumers the ability and control to set their own price and are excited to partner with BetDEX to bring this vision to fruition.”
Arjun Balaji, the investment partner at Paradigm, says: “It feels obvious crypto will transform online sports betting. DeFi has shown how financial markets can be automated and distributed to the benefit of consumers. Crypto can do the same for all other kinds of financial activities, including betting. The BetDEX team has the right combination of industry experience and technical skill to create something that shows the way forward for everyone working in the space.”
BetDEX plans to scale the business from a base in Scotland and is now hiring for a range of positions.