Pioneering VC Fund Targeting Legal U.S. Sports Betting Opportunity

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.”

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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.