International edition
July 31, 2021

Alexis Ohanian is funding Wagr, which has former Caesars CEO Gary Loveman as an adviser

Reddit co-founder invests $4M in startup app blending sports betting with social media

Reddit co-founder invests $4M in startup app blending sports betting with social media
“It’s about productizing what already goes down in everyone’s group chat, which is wagers between friends about sporting outcomes,” Alexis Ohanian said.
United States | 06/18/2021

The app will offer gambling on sports with friends instead of casinos, targeting casual wagers. It has pending license applications to operate in Tennessee and Virginia, and intends to launch with point spreads. Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen is also among the investors.

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eddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is investing $4 million in a seed-funding round for the sports betting startup Wagr app, which seeks to blend social media with the gambling market.

Wagr was founded in April 2020, and it offers a gambling app that allows fans to bet on sports with friends instead of casinos. The company plans to create a social platform that doesn’t require betting knowledge and expands the market for casual wagers.

“It’s about productizing what already goes down in everyone’s group chat, which is wagers between friends about sporting outcomes,” Ohanian told Bloomberg. “Right now the way these get resolved is through a Cash App payment or a Venmo payment on Monday, and surely we can do better.”

Ohanian is making the investment through his venture capital firm, named Seven Seven Six. The funding round is also backed by Greycroft, Pear Ventures, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and Brad Martin, former chairman and chief executive officer of Saks Inc. Gary Loveman, the former CEO of Caesars Entertainment, is an adviser to Wagr.

"Our app really strips down the betting experience to the bare essentials, we’re launching with point-spread bets only,Mario Malave, Wagr’s founder and CEO, told Bloomberg. “From a user’s perspective, all you have to do is pick a team, decide who you want to bet against, and select how much you want to wager.”

Wagr believes consumers will be willing to pay a platform fee in order to have access to a one-stop service that handles the odds, payments and smack talk. It expects to charge fees in line with what traditional casinos take and has pending license applications to operate in Tennessee and Virginia.

Initially, the app will launch offering major sports, with gamblers able to take either side of a point spread bet with a friend, family member or member of their community who’s willing to gamble. While the company expects to eventually launch prop bets or money-line wagers, the initial focus on point spreads is in part because they “lend themselves very well to the peer-to-peer model because they’re 50/50,” Malave said.

If a user can’t find a friend who wants to take a bet, the app will aim to match the gambler with someone in their state who does. Wagr plans to impose a $500 limit for a single bet and will allow users to restrict their own use.

“Ultimately, it’s to create a healthier approach to gambling,” Ohanian said. “It’s frankly the perfect time for a business like Wagr to come in and want to build something that really disrupts the way that sports betting has traditionally been done.”

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