Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, is leading a $4 million seed-funding round for the sports-betting startup Wagr, an app looking to wed social media with a fast-growing corner of the gambling market.
Founded in April 2020, Wagr has a gambling app that allows fans to bet on sports with friends instead of casinos. The company’s plan is to create a social platform that does not 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. 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 said.
Ohanian is investing through his firm 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.
“Our app really strips down the betting experience to the bare essentials – we’re launching with point-spread bets only. 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,” Mario Malave, founder and CEO of Wagr, said.
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.
When the app launches, it will initially offer 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,” Mario Malave said.