Just in time for the NFL playoffs, a new Stanford startup is changing the way fantasy sports players experience the games they love. After an electric beta period where its early adopters placed 1.5 million predictions in just three months, Boom Fantasy has launched a real-money fantasy sports product.
Instead of drafting a lineup and then waiting a day to see how you do, Boom Fantasy players can compete in 10-minute fantasy sports leagues that are centered around live events fans can watch on TV.
“Just as DraftKings and FanDuel improved upon the old fantasy sports model, we are doing the same with daily fantasy sports,” said Stephen A. Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Boom Fantasy. “At Boom, we cater to real fans who actually want to watch the games – not necessarily the number-crunchers who use complicated algorithms to outperform other lineups.”
Boom Fantasy does away with the drafting process and instead allows players to answer questions like “Will LeBron James score more than 8 points this quarter?” or “Will Adam Vinatieri make this 50-yard field goal?” during live events. All real-money tournaments incorporate multiple events, but are centered on a primary game where players compete against one another by answering between 7 to 50 questions, depending on the tournament format.
The company recently completed a $1.4 million seed round, led by angel investor and Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, the Stanford-StartX Fund, and Rubicon Venture Capital. The round also includes five Stanford business school professors, two professional athletes, and several top mobile gaming executives.
“We’ve built a sophisticated and interactive real-time platform that is completely unique in the market,” said Assaf Einat, co-founder and CTO of Boom Fantasy. “Based on the overwhelming growth of in-game play in Europe, we believe that in-game fantasy sports is the future of the industry. We look forward to introducing this innovative format to sports fans in 2016.”
Boom Fantasy’s team has several decades of experience in real-money gaming and technology, having previously worked at MGM Resorts International, Google, the Israeli Air Force, and High 5 Games. The founders of the company joined forces while completing Stanford’s MBA program.
“Boom Fantasy has been very smart in how they have structured their product,” said Jeff Ifrah, an attorney who advises top gaming operators, including the leaders of the daily fantasy sports space. “Boom Fantasy is operating under the same federal and state requirements as the market leaders, but the company has formatted its gameplay in a completely unique way.”
Boom Fantasy launched its real-money product in 12 U.S. states – California, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The company will roll out its real-money product to additional states later this year. Residents of all states can participate in free-to-play tournaments.