Founder Alán Jaime Misrahi grew up dedicating himself to soccer and eventually played in the Mexican Third Division. While he hasn’t necessarily reached the “big leagues” of the sport, his new company Draftea aims to win over 350 million sports fans in Latin America, Jaime Misrahi told TechCrunch in an interview.
Draftea, which calls itself the first daily fantasy sports company in Spanish-speaking Latin America, exited stealth mode today on the heels of a $ 13.2 million fundraiser led by Kaszek with participation from Sequoia. , Bullpen and Nigel Eccles, founder and former CEO of sports betting giant FanDuel. Eccles is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Draftea.
This is Sequoia’s first investment in a Mexico-based company, six months after the venture capitalist plans announced double the opportunities in Latin America.
Draftea’s app charges sports fans a fee to recruit a team of players and compete to win daily cash prizes. The platform, currently in private beta, will launch in the first quarter of this year. It will host Mexican fantasy football matches first, although Jaime Misrahi has said the company aims to eventually add offerings until it hosts fantasy games for “every sport in the world.”
“When you think of a region where football is almost a religion, where people come together for sports-related activities, where the stadiums are full, where people love [sports] like a family tradition, where people are in several WhatsApp groups talking about sports and fantasy – we want to bring it all together, ”Jaime Misrahi said of Latin America.
While sports betting platforms like Betcris from Costa Rica are already popular in the region, Jaime Misrahi said Draftea is comparatively a “much more social platform”. It also differentiates itself by offering daily games and interactions, unlike less frequent games hosted by fantastic seasonal platforms which tend to mirror real world sports programming.
Besides Jaime Misrahi, the main founding team includes Alejandra Lascurain, former product manager of Mexico’s largest neobank; Miguel Gutiérrez-Barquín, who previously led growth at Rappi; Joe Cohen, former head of engineering at Vercel; and Andreas Assad, who worked at EA Sports. Draftea now has a total of 34 employees and plans to double in size over the next few months in all key areas, said Jaime Misrahi.
The team is eyeing the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November, which is set to be the biggest live sporting event in the world this year.
“Our goal by then is to have an incredible product, launched in many Latin American countries, and to have hundreds, if not thousands or millions of users engaged with our platform,” said said Jaime Misrahi.
Sequoia’s Konstantine Buhler met Jaime Misrahi via mutual connection at Stanford, where Jaime Misrahi completed his MBA last year. Buhler led Sequoia’s investment in Draftea, in part because he felt Jaime Misrahi was an example of “founding market compliance” due to his passion for the sport and his background as a football player. professional, Buhler told TechCrunch in an email.
“It all comes down to customer love,” Buhler wrote. “Draftea is a unique community for sports fans in Latin America where they can become the protagonists of their favorite games. We believe Alán and his team will quickly win the hearts of fans in Mexico and then expand to other countries in time for the World Cup.