45. DraftKings

Fantasy sports without the real-life commitment

DraftKings looks to change the game in sports
DraftKings looks to change the game in sports   

Founders: Jason Robins, Matthew Kalish, Paul Liberman
Date launched: 2011
Funding: $325 million
Industry disrupted: Major sports leagues, online fantasy teams

The house of Mickey Mouse is getting into the fantasy sports business, a global market set to reach $1.7 billion by 2017, according to IBISWorld. In April, Disney made a $250 million investment into DraftKings, a daily sports fantasy site, bringing the amount of venture funding raised to $325 million.

Boston-based DraftKings is a site that allows folks to pool real money with fellow sports fans to assemble fantasy teams based on real-world athletes in football, baseball, hockey and basketball, to name a few, and then compete. Players deposit money and can enter daily competitions. Winners' accounts are credited immediately rather than waiting for the end of the season. DraftKings makes money by taking a percentage of each pool.


The four-year-old company had revenue of $30 million last year, up from $4 million in 2013. In addition to Disney's infusion, the company has also attracted funding from Atlas Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Raine Group.

(Left to right) DraftKings co-founders Paul Liberman, Jason Robins and Matthew Kalish
Source: DraftKings
(Left to right) DraftKings co-founders Paul Liberman, Jason Robins and Matthew Kalish
"Fantasy sports players have been the most engaged breed of sports fan out there. However, innovation in the space has lagged since the traditional version of the product was introduced." -Jason Robins, DraftKings CEO

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