To launch early 2022

Former FanDuel execs' new blockchain sports betting exchange BetDEX secures $21M seed round

From left to right: BetDEX co-founders Nigel Eccles, Varun Sudhakar, and Stuart Tonner.
Reading time 2:10 min

BetDEX, the new company by former FanDuel co-founder and CEO Nigel Eccles, which was first unveiled late last month, has now completed a $21 million seed investment round. This milestone marks the largest-ever seed round by a UK startup.

BetDEX is described by the company as “the world’s first decentralized sports betting protocol.” It is set for launch in the first half of 2022, and it combines blockchain technology with sports betting, aiming to transform the consumer sports betting experience.

The record-setting investment round is led by San Francisco-based crypto investment firm Paradigm and Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX. Multicoin Capital, Hack VC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sino Global Capital, Solana Ventures and Everblue Management also participated.

Eccles, who is set to become BetDEX’s Non-executive chair, is joined at the company by other former FanDuel executives and experienced sports betting industry experts. Varun Sudhakar, who worked alongside Eccles in senior strategy and corporate development roles at FanDuel between 2015 and 2018, is appointed CEO; while Stuart Tonner, the first engineer hired by FanDuel and a key developer of its core platform, will take up the CTO role at the new venture.

BetDEX plans to scale the business from a base in Scotland and is now hiring for a range of positions, the company announced in a press release. The former FanDuel executives plan to leverage their acquired experience with the popular brand, which became Scotland’s first $1 billion dollar-valued startup before being purchased by Flutter in 2018. FanDuel is now estimated to be worth around $30 billion.

But BetDEX promises an entirely different sports betting experience from the one Eccles helped develop in 2009. “Despite the immense size, popularity and potential of the sports betting market, it has been characterized by incumbents charging high fees and delivering minimal product innovation,” explains the new company. BetDEX expects to change this.

The startup claims it will take “the opposite approach,” with a protocol built on public blockchain Solana. This will offer consumers extremely fast and low-cost trades, while eliminating counterparty risk.

“The protocol will be fully decentralized and open-sourced, allowing third parties to build their own applications and innovate on top of the platform,” describes a press statement. BetDEX plans to accept wagers in USDT, SOL and SAMO at launch.

“Blockchain technology is set to revolutionize sports betting and we want to be at the forefront of that,” said Eccles. BetDEX cites figures which forecast the global sports betting market to grow to $350 billion by 2024 as proof of the potential profitability to be found within it.

“The sports betting industry charges high prices for poor products and limits trades by its most successful users,” added Sudhakar. “BetDEX is diametrically opposed to this approach; we will successfully compete against incumbents with a markedly superior product and low fees.”

The venture promises, by being built on Solana -“the fastest blockchain in the world”- a $0.00025 average cost per transaction and to handle a volume of 50,000+ transactions per second and 400 millisecond block times.

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