FanDuel co-founders' latest venture boosting Scots ranks
Nigel Eccles, the high-profile entrepreneur who co-founded fantasy sports platform FanDuel, has unveiled plans to boost the Scottish ranks of his latest venture after securing seven-figure investment.
Eccles and Rob Jones, who co-created FanDuel, are behind Flick, a sports-focused live group chat app, which has just completed a $5 million (£4m) Series A funding round, having previously generated $4m in seed funding.
US-based Eccles told The Scotsman that Flick lets users tap into the community aspect of watching sport, enabling users to sit in their own home but get “some of the fan experience” of the stadium. It has proved a popular option during lockdown, seeing a 45 per cent month-on-month jump in its user base.
Eccles believes that given Flick’s international potential, it is an even bigger opportunity than US-focused FanDuel – which was founded in Edinburgh and famously grew to “unicorn” status, classified as a privately held start-up with a value of at least $1 billion. “We actually think it could be significantly larger."
Meanwhile Eccles’ wife and fellow FanDuel co-founder Lesley is now behind Relish, an app focused on relationship coaching and self care.
The latest funding was led by AlleyCorp with participation from previous investors including Bullpen Capital, Everblue Management, Amity Ventures, Courtside VC and several angels.
Flick is headquartered in New York but it has an office in Edinburgh, and it is there that it plans to boost its engineering team to 16 from about ten, with Eccles highlighting the strong local talent pool. This complements four staff in the US.
He also said football is currently Flick’s most popular sport, seeing good traction with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool – and looking to add some Scottish Premiership clubs at some stage – while it also covers the NFL.
A Series B funding round in the next couple of years is being mulled – and the business is looking to integrate with a betting product early next year.
Flick was created in 2018, and as for how Eccles would like it to look in another two years from now, priorities include boosting its global reach and its sports coverage, including, say, cricket, and rugby. "[Also] we definitely want the product experience to be even better than it is today – more engaging, more fun, bigger groups.”
FanDuel merged with Paddy Power Betfair's US business in 2018, a deal that prompted a legal dispute with its founders. As for how Eccles – who is also on the board of Scottish pizza oven firm Ooni – feels about FanDuel now, he said: “It's an incredible success story, it continues to be an incredible success story. We really want to see it continue to be even more successful... when we started, we had big visions for the company, I think it's definitely delivering and it's continuing to deliver, so that's really exciting. We're very supportive.”
He also said “Scotland and particularly Edinburgh are in a really good position for more tech start-ups – the environment today is ten times better than it was ten years ago”.
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