Boston-based fantasy gaming platform Jock MKT made its debut on iOS late last week in time for the return of the NFL. The new mobile platform will allow users to buy and sell virtual shares of NFL, NBA and PGA Tour athletes in real time during every second of every game for real money.
Jock MKT, which is currently available in 34 US states, was co-founded by Tyler Carlin, a 2013 graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management. The new platform raised its first round of funding led by Will Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on companies at the intersection of sports and technology, and Accomplice founding partner Ryan Moore, the first investor in DraftKings.
The round also includes: Brandon Adams, poker and daily fantasy sports pro, and former Economics teaching fellow at Harvard; Alumni Ventures Group, investment network for MIT and Harvard alumni; Tim McSweeney, local Boston angel; as well as other strategic investors from the finance and gaming industries.
“We’ve put a ton of time and effort in as a team to bring something new to fantasy sports,” said Carlin. “And we’re really looking forward to launching our cash market format because it’s unlike anything else out there, and not many companies are doing in-game fantasy sports at scale.”
Will Ventures and Accomplice are partnering with Jock MKT to introduce the world to their new “Robinhood-esque” style trading experience for fantasy sports. The idea resonated with Will Ventures’ Founding Partner and Managing Director, Isaiah Kacyvenski, a retired eight-year NFL veteran now turned VC.
“There’s been surprisingly little innovation in the daily fantasy sports space over the last eight years,” said Kacyvenski. “As a former player, I see how much data has improved over that time, and how networks are incorporating more of that information into their live broadcasts. I love the Jock MKT team, and I think there’s huge potential to translate this growing national appetite for real-time info into a more engaging, and unique in-game fantasy offering.”
Jock MKT will offer two ways for users to participate and win money during NFL, NBA and PGA Tour events through the MARKET and CONTEST formats. The Market format allows users to join at any time, and for any dollar amount. They can buy and sell shares of athletes in real-time, cash out early by selling to another user, or hold to the end and receive fixed Jock MKT payouts based on final player rankings.
In the Contest format users pay the same entry fee and receive the same number of virtual chips. They start bidding for shares of athletes during a predetermined auction-style IPO period. Once the IPO ends, the highest bidders receive shares and all users can buy and sell shares in an attempt to improve their position. Cash prizes are paid out at the end based on a user’s final chip count.