Fintech startup Sporttrade aims to make betting on the Phillies as easy as buying a stock on Robinhood - Technical.ly Philly

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Fintech startup Sporttrade aims to make betting on the Phillies as easy as buying a stock on Robinhood

After raising $35 million earlier this summer, the Nasdaq-like sports betting app is rapidly growing — and hiring — ahead its Q4 launch. "If you like trading and you like sports, this is the spot for you," founder Alex Kane said.

Sporttrade's Alex Kane.

(Courtesy photo)

When Sporttrade founder Alex Kane was wrapping up his time at Drexel University in 2018, he was also formulating an idea around using tech to enhance the sports betting experience.

That year, New Jersey legalized sports betting, opening up the market for a host of platforms. Currently, there are more than 20 sportsbooks in the state, Kane said, and they all work in pretty much the same way.

In 2019, Kane took his concept to the second Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator cohort. His version imagined that sports betting could play out like trading stocks on Robinhood or E-Trade. The accelerator opened lots of doors, and led to some fintech experts that helped bring the concept to fruition. Five years ago, it would have seemed harder to pull it off, he told Technical.ly.

“Millennials and Gen Z, we’re a lot more comfortable making these financial transactions on our phones. We’re digital natives,” he said. “I got to college and it seemed like everyone had a Robinhood account.”

The app will work like this: It will list an outcome of a game, or a situation — like the Phillies winning against the Pirates, or Bryce Harper hitting a home run — as an instrument on the market. The app will match buyers and sellers on those outcomes, and the market activity will determine price, just like the Nasdaq. It’s meant to be an elevated experience compared to traditional sports betting.

“American odds can still feel like it’s straight out of the Sopranos,” the founder said. “We’ve felt validation in our concept, selling bets on the Eagles just like stocks.”

Sporttrade’s app. (Courtesy image)

Earlier this summer, Sporttrade raised $36 million from investors Jump Capital, Impression Ventures, Hudson River Trading, Tower Research VenturesDelavan Lake Investments, former MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren and former Nasdaq Stock Exchange CEO Tom Wittman.

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Around this time last year, Kane counted just a handful of employees. The startup has since grown to a company of 55, with multiple open roles and the majority of the workforce in the Philly region. Its website was built by Center City design firm Armor, and Kane said its important to him to remain a local company that grows here.

But to align with rules about sports betting enterprises in New Jersey, the company has set up shop at an office across the river in Camden.

“We chose a location that was in New Jersey but as close as possible to Philadelphia,” Kane said. “It was important to stay a Philly-area company.”

The company will continue to grow ahead of its app’s release in Q4 of this year; check out its dozen-plus open roles across engineering, design, product, people ops and customer support. It also recently acquired Momentum Sports and Entertainment Inc., a Colorado-based sports betting company that means Sporttrade will be expanding to that state in the first half of 2022.

“I think there’s a lot of people doing this the same way, and we’re taking a totally different approach,” Kane said. “If you like trading and you like sports, this is the spot for you.”

Companies: Sporttrade Inc.
People: Alex Kane
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