New York-based sports technology and marketing company TAPPP has raised $10 million in a Series B funding round. The business aims to help media, consumer products and sports wagering clients drive customer acquisitions, transactions, engagement and retention through products and services offered on-screen, at events and in-store.
The business was formed in 2012 with a focus on developing pre-paid cards for access to live and archived sporting events. However, the company has now expanded its reach by building technology and infrastructure to allow viewers to bet on sporting events via TV and streaming platforms.
The $10 million Series B funding round was co-led by Accomplice and Verance Capital, further reports Axios. Participants included Stephen Pagliuca of the NBA's Boston Celtics and Peter Tomozawa of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Sounders, along with ADvantage, Permit Ventures and Oakvale Capital.
The announcement comes as the company plans to soon launch its first in-game betting product through a partnership with Major League Rugby. The product will allow fans to wager on games streamed on the Rugby Network streaming platform. Both parties are also partnering on a free-to-play game in all 50 states, beginning on April 9, reports Forbes.
The live betting offering will initially only be available for New Jersey residents, through the PlayUp sportsbook. Fans watching the Rugby Network will find a prompt asking whether they want to bet on the game: should they click, they will see an interactive panel with in-game odds and several types of bets.
"When I click Place Bet, the verification of the location, wallet balance, making sure I'm in an approved state, making sure the odds haven't shifted significantly — all of that is happening," TAPPP's head of marketing Daniel Arvidsson told Axios.
The technology and application programming interface for the in-game betting product has been in development for the past 18 months, and the company has patented both the tech and platform behind the solution.
According to Sandy Agarwal, TAPPP’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, the company has secured a vendor license to conduct business with approved sportsbooks in 15 states. The company hopes to launch Major League Rugby betting in more states later in 2022, and to partner with additional operators and pro sports leagues in coming years.
Major League Rugby
“As betting and fan engagement become ubiquitous across platforms, TAPPP is well-positioned to facilitate that seamless integration,” Lyle Ayes, Verance Capital’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “We’re excited to support them through this next phase of growth.”
TAPPP has raised more than $21 million in total at this point. The new funding will be used to launch in more states and with more sportsbooks, in accordance to its growth plan. But it will also permit the company to expand from 20 to 45 employees this year alone.
The company sees an opportunity in the increasing popularity of online sports betting in the US, which has driven betting platforms to look for more ways to make real-time payments easier. "Every single end device is now a cash register,” Agarwal told the cited source. “Our ability for you to conduct a transaction, connect with anything you like directly from your TV screen is pretty powerful.”
The new funding round follows a 2018 Series A round in which the business raised $5 million, shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the law banning sports betting in most states. That moment was key in inspiring TAPPP to expand into the nascent sports gaming industry.
“Our model is not to have (sports organizations and sportsbooks) pay us and then we’ll never see you again and here’s the platform,” Agarwal told Forbes. “Our model is we’re very much in bed with them. As you’d imagine, as we start getting consumers interacting we can start making the experience a lot more engaging. That’s what it's all about is customer engagement or viewer engagement. That’s going to be an ongoing journey.”
The company signed a partnership with BetMGM last year, and has developed gift cards available at US retail stores for the gaming giant. Customers who buy the card may log into the sportsbook and wager using the funds. The product is currently available in eight states.