gettyimages 492854507

Drafty Launches Fantasy Football In Partnership With NFL, Fresh Funding Technology Flow

Drafty, which claims to be the first daily fantasy sports company in Spanish-speaking Latin America, is bringing fantasy football (not soccer) to the region in a new partnership with the National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association, the labor union. Represents the league’s athletes.

The founder of Draftia, Alan Jaime Misrahi, played soccer in Mexico’s third division before attending Stanford for his MBA and starting Draftia. Mexico is the second largest market globally for the NFL, Jaime Misrahi told Technology Flow in an interview.

“There are 50 million NFL fans in Mexico and it’s very interesting because everybody has their natives in Mexico [soccer] team, they have their European team, they have their NFL team, their NBA team, their baseball team. We are really passionate about sports in Mexico,” said Jaime Misrahi.

Images of Draftea's mobile fantasy NFL platform

Images of Draftea’s mobile fantasy NFL platform Image Credits: Drafty

The startup emerged from stealth in January this year with a daily fantasy sports (DFS) platform that hosts Mexican fantasy soccer matches. Unlike traditional sports betting platforms such as Costa Rica’s Betcris or Mexico’s Grupo Callent, which host less-frequent seasonal games that mirror real-world sports schedules, Draftia’s DFS is unique in offering daily engagement.

Unlike Betcris and Grupo Caliente, Draftea is not a sports betting company where players compete against a central bookmaker – instead, they compete against each other. In a region where sports loyalties run deep, Draftea’s local roots and the social nature of the platform helped set it apart from other players.

According to Jaime Misrahi, that’s why the NFL chose a startup to develop its own “NFL by Drafty” product, marking an international partnership unique to the league. “NFL by Draftea” is launching today, meaning users can build their lineups for the upcoming NFL season this fall.

Drafty Understands the impact and value athletes can bring to fantasy sports. With diverse personalities and extraordinary athletic skills, the global popularity of NFL players is at an all-time high, and we’re excited to reach more fans across Latin America,” Terése Whitehead, vice president of consumer products & strategy at NFL Players, the NFLPA’s marketing and licensing arm, told Technology Flow in an email.

Along with the new partnership, Draftea, Sequoia’s first investment in a Mexican company, raised fresh funding from new and old backers. It brought in $20 million for its Series A, led by new investor Stepstone Group, with participation from existing investors Sequoia, Caszek, Bullpen and Courtside Ventures. In addition to the venture firms, soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo, Kansas City Chiefs tight end receiver Travis Kelce, Brooklyn Nets basketball player Kevin Durant and Portuguese soccer agent Jorge Mendes also invested as angels in the round.

“[Latin American] Fanbases are very passionate about their favorite players and teams,” Kells wrote in an email to Technology Flow.

Since its seed round in January, Draftia’s team has grown from 34 employees to a total of 70, mostly in engineering and production, Jaime Misrahi said. Although he declined to share how many users the platform has today or the company’s revenue, he said the number of players using Drafty is growing by “double digits” week over week. He said he has seen a resurgence in GMV as lineups per user have increased.

A picture of the Drafty team on a video call

Drafty team on video call Image Credits: Drafty

“In Draftea, you build your dream team to compete against others. All I will do is build our own dream team to really win,” Jaime Misrahi said of his plans to pursue new hires.

Payouts for games on Draftia range from a couple of thousand pesos to hundreds of thousands or even millions of pesos each week, Jaime Misrahi said. The platform offers several different game structures, including head-to-head matchups and games where the top 20% of players win payouts, and plans to continue adding new types of competitions to keep up with player demand.

The company is eyeing the FIFA World Cup in Qatar this November, expected to be the biggest live sporting event globally this year, as a prime opportunity to gain traction. Jaime Misrahi said the NFL’s participation in Mexico is the beginning of Draftia’s eventual expansion to all Spanish-speaking countries.

“We definitely want to consolidate our position in the Mexican market, but we’re already thinking about the next thing and the next places we’ll go. We want to become the go-to platform for sports fans in the Spanish-speaking world,” said Jaime Misrahi.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.