A Boston startup that developed a trading platform for fantasy sports has raised $10 million in venture capital funding.
Jock MKT (pronounced “jock market”), cofounded by Tyler Carlin, taps into the realm of fantasy sports, where individuals use online platforms — such as Boston-based DraftKings or New York-based FanDuel — to profit on the performance of professional teams and athletes.
Jock MKT is a mobile app financial market based on fantasy sports metrics that allows users to buy and sell “shares” of athletes in real time, based on how they are performing — much as investors would with shares of real public companies on a stock exchange.
“With typical daily fantasy sports, you submit your lineup and then passively sit there and watch the results,” said Carlin, a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management who began developing the concept about three years ago. “The nice thing about our app is that you can actually act on what is going on in the game; you can buy and sell.”
Bidding starts with an initial player offering, dubbed the IPO, with which users can purchase shares of players in professional leagues. The startup, launched in September with athletes in the NFL, NBA, and PGA Tour, added the NHL and MLB in early 2021. After a game or tournament users are guaranteed a fixed payout that’s tied to an athlete’s final fantasy ranking.
Carlin said Jock MKT is an attractive option for fantasy sports because it’s not based on a single payday, but rather on accumulating winnings over time.
“Similar to what you would do with an investment portfolio, you are trying to compound your returns over time, rather than having that one big, lottery-style payout, but most nights losing what you put down,” he said. “Some of the people who joined early and deposited $25 into their account now have over $10,000.”
The fund-raising round was led by Left Lane Capital and included participation from early investors Ryan Moore, a board member of DraftKings, and Will Ventures, a venture capital firm led by retired NFL player Isaiah Kacyvenski.
Jock MKT plans to more than double its six-person team, develop a Web-based product, and start marketing campaigns to add to its more than 25,000 accounts ahead of the upcoming NFL season.
Jock MKT joins a market full of deeply funded investment and sports betting companies, including the online trading platform Robinhood, which has grown in popularity among young investors, and DraftKings, which has seen success in engaging sports fans who were stuck at home during the pandemic. But Jock MKT investors think the startup can coexist with other big players because of its differentiated product.
“It’s like a Robinhood tied to a major passion for sports . . . and it’s a new market segment within daily fantasy sports, which we feel is a huge opportunity,” Kacyvenski said. “Boston is a massive sports town . . . this plays into the DNA of Boston in a lot of ways.”