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Draft Raises $3.5 Million to Bring Fantasy Sports to the Casual Fan

Draft wants to simplify daily fantasy sports.

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Daily fantasy sports have blown up with diehard sports fans over the past year — now Jeremy Levine wants to help bring casual fans into the game.

Draft, a daily fantasy sports app run by Levine, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding, he tells Re/code. The round was led by Upfront Ventures, and includes additional investors like Advancit Capital, BoxGroup, the Chernin Group and QueensBridge Venture Partners.


The app works similarly to products such as FanDuel or DraftKings, where fans build a team and play head to head against other players in one-day competitions.

Those games can be tough for the casual fans, though, Levine said. When users draft a team, players are assigned point values and teams are restricted by a “salary cap” that requires the team’s creator to look for good bargain players.

In other words, he added, it takes a lot more time and research.

Levine tried to fix this by simplifying the team creation process. With Draft, users simply select their team one player at a time while alternating with their opponent — no salary caps or point values to worry about.

Levine used to run StarStreet, a more complex daily fantasy site that DraftKings bought in August, an experience that helped him realize daily fantasy sports needed a simpler version. Changing the draft style is a minor differentiator from the other larger daily fantasy sites. But Levine says it’s significant.

“All you have to do is open up the app and you have a list of players you recognize,” he explained. “You don’t need deep knowledge of all the players in the league.”

Draft has been around since December and like its larger competitors allows people to put real money on the line for head-to-head competitions against friends or other users of the app.

Daily fantasy has been big business over the past year. Both FanDuel and DraftKings have taken big funding rounds, and users are spending millions per month on entry fees for fantasy sports contests.

Draft is trying to ride that wave.

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