Founder Alán Jaime Misrahi grew up devoting himself to football, eventually playing in Mexico’s third division. While he didn’t necessarily reach the “big leagues” playing the sport, his new venture Sketch aims to conquer the 350 million sports fans in Latin America, Jaime Misrahi told TechCrunch in an interview.
Draftea, which bills itself as the first daily fantasy sports company in Spanish-speaking Latin America, exited stealth mode today following a $13.2 million seed round led by Kaszek with participation from Sequoia. , Bullpen and Nigel Eccles, founder and former CEO. of sports betting giant FanDuel. Eccles is Chairman of the Board of Draftea.
The investment is Sequoia’s first in a Mexico-headquartered company, six months after the venture capital firm announced plans to double the opportunities in Latin America.
Draftea’s app charges sports fans a fee to compile a roster and compete to win daily cash prizes. The platform, currently in private beta mode, will launch in the first quarter of this year. It will initially host Mexican fantasy soccer games, although Jaime Misrahi said the company aims to eventually add offerings until it hosts fantasy games for “every sport in the world”.
“When you think of a region where football is almost a religion, where people come together for sports-related activities, where the stadiums are full, where people have fun [sports] like a family tradition, where people are in multiple WhatsApp groups talking about sports and fantasy – we want to bring it all together,” Jaime Misrahi said of Latin America.
While sports betting platforms like Betcris from Costa Rica are already popular in the region, Jaime Misrahi said Draftea is comparatively a “much more social platform”. It also differentiates itself by offering daily games and interactions, unlike the less frequent games hosted by seasonal fantasy platforms which tend to mirror real-world sports schedules.
In addition to Jaime Misrahi, the founding team includes Alejandra Lascurain, former chief product officer of Mexico’s largest neobank; Miguel Gutiérrez-Barquín, who previously led Rappi’s growth; Joe Cohen, former head of engineering at Vercel; and Andreas Assad, who worked at EA Sports. Draftea has 34 total employees today and expects to double in size over the next two months in all key areas, said Jaime Misrahi.
The team is preparing for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in November, which is expected to be the biggest live sporting event in the world this year.
“Our goal is, by then, to have an incredible product, to have launched in many countries in Latin America and to have hundreds, even thousands or millions of users engaged with our platform. “, said Jaime Misrahi.
Sequoia’s Konstantine Buhler met Jaime Misrahi through a mutual connection at Stanford, where Jaime Misrahi completed his MBA last year. Buhler led Sequoia’s investment in Draftea, in part because he felt Jaime Misrahi exemplified “the fit of the founders market” due to his passion for sports and his background as a professional soccer player. , Buhler told TechCrunch in an email.
“It all comes down to customer love,” Buhler wrote. “Draftea is a one-of-a-kind community for sports fans in Latin America where they can become the protagonist of their favorite games. We believe that Alán and his team will quickly capture the hearts of fans in Mexico and then expand to other countries in time for the World Cup.