Sports betting fintech startup and LIFT Labs alum Sporttrade just raised $36M - Technical.ly Philly

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Sports betting fintech startup and LIFT Labs alum Sporttrade just raised $36M

The 2018-founded, 50-person company has eyes on launching in New Jersey later this year.

Sporttrade founder Alex Kane presenting at LIFT Labs' 2019 Demo Day.

(Photo by Hector Davila)

Update: Comment from Danielle Cohn, Comcast's VP of startup engagement and head of LIFT Labs, has been added. (6/24/21, 1:54 p.m.)

Philly fintech startup Sporttrade recently raised a $36 million round from a collection of investors. The 2018-founded sports betting company was a part of the second cohort of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Lead investor Jump Capital is joined by Impression Ventures, Hudson River Trading, Tower Research Ventures, Delavan Lake Investments, former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and former Nasdaq Stock Exchange CEO Tom Wittman. Sporttrade also issued convertible debt to Nasdaq Ventures in connection with the transaction, the company said in a release.

The company’s financial exchange — think Robinhood or the NASDAQ for sports — allows live trades in its app during any sports game. Sporttrade was founded by Drexel University grad Alex Kane in 2018, and after a few years working under the radar, the platform launched in May.

“Our mission is to elevate the sports betting industry, and truly provide an all-inclusive platform designed for the customer,” Kane said in a news release at the time of the app’s launch. “For two decades, retail customers have benefited immensely from unprecedented innovation in equity trading. Sporttrade was created to bring those same great benefits to sports betting, including increased efficiency, real transparency and better pricing.”

The company’s website was built locally by design firm Armor, and its team of fintech, trading and sports betting pros is just over 50 people, the company said. (Check out its open engineering, product and design roles.) The round of funding will be put toward customer acquisition, a focus on expanding to new states and growing Sporttrade’s team.

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“We’re thrilled for Sporttrade’s overall traction, including their recent raise, and have high expectations for the company,” Danielle Cohn, Comcast’s VP of  startup engagement and dead of LIFT Labs, told Technical.ly in an email. “Alex Kane has done an outstanding job building the business, surrounding himself with a seasoned team and mentors, and engaging with best-in-class strategic partners like Nasdaq.”

And it appears one of those moments of growth could come in the second half of 2021: Pending approvals and licensing by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the iOS app will be launching there later this year.

“When we first met with Alex in 2019, he had a vision to transform the existing sports gambling model and leverage the benefits of stock market investing for the recreational sports trader,” David Frohardt-Lane, cofounder of Delavan Lake Investments, said in a statement. “His drive to apply financial markets principles to benefit the customer was the primary reason we knew he was the right person to partner with in this revolutionary venture.”

The company has built a retail trading solution for betting which reflects pricing based on win probabilities and allowing users to easily trade in and out of any position, Jump Capital Partner Yelena Shkolnik said.

“The U.S. bettor will finally have a transparent open market of sports betting wagers to trade, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a partner,” Shkolnik said.

Startups participating in LIFT Labs receive $120,000 in capital in exchange for 6% equity stake in the company going to Techstars, as well as office space during the 13-week program, with the option to continue using the space for the year following their participation. Founders from Sporttrade’s cohort came from India, Ukraine, Canada and cities across the U.S. and worked in media, entertainment and connectivity.

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