Fantasy sports start-up Underdog is seeking a new director of trading and risk as it looks to build a sportsbook following a $30m funding round last month.
The New York-based business, which is now valued at $485m, has kicked off an aggressive recruitment drive as it prepares to diversify beyond DFS and into real-money wagering.
The director of trading and risk position is the first to be publicly advertised by the firm.
The successful applicant will act as the leader of sports trading within the business and will own sports betting liabilities and KPIs across all product verticals.
They will also be tasked with leading and developing a team of traders focused on US sports, as well as well as ensuring compliance of a “sports betting trading platform” within the current US regulatory landscape.
The job posting reads: “Using its own proprietary sports trading platform, Underdog is launching its innovative sports betting experience into the US-regulated marketplace and is looking for someone to lead the trading operations for the business.
“The director of trading and risk will work alongside the key stakeholders to implement trading and risk strategies to complement Underdog’s unique approach to the US market, while delivering a fun and safe product to consumers.”
Candidates are expected to have experience in managing a modern-day sports trading team, combined with knowledge of quantitative analysis and an understanding of behavioural trends.
The position is remote as Underdog is a remote-first company, offering a $500 home office allowance to new employees.
Investors in the company include US billionaire Mark Cuban, New York rap legend Nas and former Paddy Power Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran.
The job was posted to LinkedIn by Underdog head of go to market strategy Matt Garrigan, who was previously director of new market strategy at US market leader FanDuel.
FanDuel and key sports betting rival DraftKings were both born out of DFS companies and Underdog is looking to emulate a similar trajectory.
However, the company is seeking to do something different to those two behemoths, according to founder and CEO Jeremy Levine.
“There are 55 brands out there [in licensed betting] and they are all trying to do the same thing as FanDuel and DraftKings,” said Levine at iGaming NEXT NYC ’22 in May.
“I don’t think very many of them will succeed in playing the same game,” he added. “We are trying to do something very different in that we view ourselves as a games studio in a licensed betting environment, and not a sportsbook company.”
Underdog Fantasy has revealed ambitious plans to build licensed sports betting products and hire more than 100 staff following a major capital injection.
The New York-based start-up, which was founded in 2020, has just completed a Series B funding round worth $35m, which now values the company at $485m.
The round included accounts managed by US investment giant BlackRock and gaming-focused venture capital fund Acies Investments.
The company is a real-money DFS disruptor that now plans to expand into mobile sports betting amid an aggressive hiring spree.
Underdog has attracted high-profile investment to date, even without the latest funding round. The business is supported by US sports stars including Kevin Durant and Odell Beckham Jr and rap royalty from Nas to Future, as well as globally renowned DJ Steve Aoki.
Industry backers include former Paddy Power Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran and boutique research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, while business nous has been added from outside the sector with support from US billionaire Mark Cuban and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.
Underdog has garnered attention from the within the US sports betting industry due to its ability to acquire valuable sports-savvy customers without excessive spend on marketing.
“While the typical sportsbook is spending over $500 to acquire a customer, Underdog is bringing in new users for a fraction of that,” said Chris Grove from Acies Investments.
“Underdog’s product is leading to competitive advantages as Underdog’s customer acquisition and retention success is best in class.
“Underdog’s success is driven by the company’s focus on building new, innovative games and delivering amazing customer experiences.
“As the company moves into licensed sports betting, I believe that the unique focus on product and experience will reshape the industry,” he added.
Chris Grove: “As the company moves into licensed sports betting, I believe the unique focus on product and experience will reshape the industry.”
Underdog has recently launched a $10m season-long NFL Best Ball DFS tournament, which is the largest season-long fantasy prize pool ever.
It is worth remembering that two of the biggest operators in US sports betting – FanDuel and DraftKings – started out as DFS companies before expanding into online gambling following the repeal of PASPA in 2018.
Underdog founder, president and chairman Jeremy Levine said the latest funding round would provide the company with the “firepower” required to build for the future.
“Since the start of Underdog, we’ve believed that building quality products and putting customers first is a winning recipe,” said Levine.
“We’re excited to continue to innovate and build new experiences from the ground up in fantasy, sports betting and the adjacent spaces.
“We’re thrilled that funds and accounts managed by BlackRock are participating in our Series B as we continue towards our vision.
“Our players, and players of the future, are going to be delighted by the experiences they’ll be able to enjoy exclusively on the Underdog platforms,” he added.