Adam Wexler, the founder of recently-sold Insightpool and the now-defunct fantasy sports startup SidePrize, is back launching a fantasy sports app with a different twist than anything currently on the market. Rather than relying on friends or stranger to play with, PrizePicks allows users to make their picks and compete against the game itself — making sure they can get in the game anytime, anywhere, with minimal effort.
“The problem with SidePrize was that I may want to challenge you, but you may not want to challenge me. So we had all these outstanding proposals,” explains CEO Wexler. “What that led me to thinking was that the ideal format was a fantasy sports game against the house.”
Wexler has been a large figure in the fantasy sports industry for some time. He is on the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Board of Directors and co-chairs its research committee. Though SidePrize was derailed after the fantasy sports insider trading scandals of 2015, the founder had never given up on the potentials of the industry — and now that’s coming to fruition.
PrizePicks, available as of this week on iOS, is incredibly simple. Each day, users have a new opportunity to select two, three or four players from a curated board drawn from various sports (basketball, football, baseball, soccer and golf). The user then tries to predict whether each player will go over or under their projected fantasy score. They enter a dollar amount, minimum $10, maximum $100.
If the user gets all their predictions correct, they win multiples — up to $1000 — depending how many players they selected. The prize is sent straight to the user’s account, from which they can transfer directly to their bank account.
It’s so easy, even a non-sports fan can enjoy the game. And that, Wexler tells Hypepotamus, is the goal. The simple interface leads to great customer experience.
“With this new game, we always want to put our customers first. We are looking at how many customers can one of our costumer experience people support — we call it member services or member relations.” Wexler says this approach sets them apart from the current big players in the fantasy sports field, FanDuel and DraftKings.
“We want this modeled after how a high-roller casino would serve people. They only serve a certain amount, but they do it with gold glove support,” he says.
To that end, the startup conducted private beta testing for about a year to ensure they could deliver their service promise. They also had to confirm that they were comfortable with the risk they were taking on, shares Wexler. After all, if a user puts down $100 and chooses four correct picks, the startup is immediately out $1000.
Though that seems risky, Wexler says the model is actually “very attractive” in terms of revenue potential. Whereas with SidePrize they generated revenue from service fees taken off of transactions between users — which meant they were basically competing against Venmo or cash exchanges — in this model the user has to put down cash upfront.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to get multiple coin flips in a row correctly [to win],” says Wexler. “So you can imagine that the odds over time, especially in the aggregate, tend to be in favor of the house.”
They have been attracting users through a combination of word-of-mouth, ambassadors and social media advertising thus far, and Wexler says they intend to maintain a localized marketing approach.
“We want to own the Atlanta market,” he says. Over the next year they’ll expand across the state and then to other regions.
As to whether they’ll have to take outside capital, Wexler says it depends on how they decide to focus the game. If it remains purely B2C, they may need capital to scale. There’s also the option of white-labeling the game in a B2B move, where the startup provides the tech and allows another organization to put their brand on the game.
He does clarify, though, that his hope is for PrizePicks to be a big B2C win for Atlanta. The city’s major startup successes over the past decade have almost exclusively been in the B2B realm.
“I’m very bullish around the future of the Atlanta tech community, and I think its kind of crazy that we’ve had some wild successes… but the B2C tech successes have been few and far between,” he says. “One of our internal goals is to put Atlanta back on the map for B2C tech.”