Posted Sep. 12, 2017 at 2:35 p.m.

Startup profile: Sideline Fantasy Sports, creating fantasy sports betting

Published: 2017-09-12 14:35:09
Updated: 2017-09-12 14:35:09


Sideline Fantasy Sports, a startup in Chapel Hill, is striving to create a new venue for fantasy sports: Betting.

"Yes, I said 'betting' - and guess what? It's fine," says CEO and co-founder Tyler Eshraghi.

"Sideline is a free and legal game that purely adds enjoyment and competition to our users' lives."

Sideline logoThere is a big Vegas connection, but ...

"We used the principles of sports betting to create a fun and social gameplay that allows any sports fan to make sports bets - wagering points and using the odds pulled in from Vegas sports books," the CEO explains.

"Here's the kicker; you're not competing against "the house," you're competing against friends in a season-long fantasy league. The gameplay we've created makes for very competitive head-to-head matchups, and the ultimate goal is to win your league and be crowned League Champion."

Asked why investors should be interested, Eshraghi stressed the founding team and commitment.

"[W]e absolutely love what we do. All of us left our post-graduate school jobs, forgoing that thing called a "salary," to make something we are passionate about. Our motivations for succeeding are driven by that passion and a genuine desire for sports fans to adopt something that we are wildly confident in," he explained.

"Our team and experience is solid. We all bring something different to the table - from user acquisition/marketing, to design, to development - allowing us to do everything in-house. This is really important to us because we work at a pace where depending on a contracting firm to design and build our games would remove so much of the value that we bring to the table."

Sideline Fantasy Sports will present its business case at the CED Tech Venture Conference on Sept. 19-20 in Raleigh.

This is the latest in a series of profiles published by WRAL TechWire in partnership with the CED.


Profile: Sideline Fantasy Sports

  • Website: playsideline.com
  • Email contact: tyler@playsideline.com
  • Address: 321 W. Rosemary Street. Chapel Hill, NC 27514
  • CEO: Tyler Eshraghi
  • Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6joRNXyOsk&feature=youtu.be
  • How many employees? We have 4 employees - 3 co-founders and a front-end developer.
  • Link to CED Tech Venture Company Profile: https://cednc.org/company-profile/sidelinefantasysports

The Q&A:

  • What is the focus of your business?

We are creating a new area in fantasy sports, called Fantasy Sports Betting.

(Yes, I said 'betting' - and guess what? It's fine. Sideline is a free & legal game that purely adds enjoyment and competition to our users' lives.)

We used the principles of sports betting to create a fun and social gameplay that allows any sports fan to make sports bets - wagering points and using the odds pulled in from Vegas sports books.

Here's the kicker; you're not competing against "the house," you're competing against friends in a season-long fantasy league. The gameplay we've created makes for very competitive head-to-head matchups, and the ultimate goal is to win your league and be crowned League Champion.

  • What is the top pain point/business application you are seeking to address?

The problem is two fold:

1. Fans love to bet on sports, but they don't have a legal or socially acceptable way to do it.

2. Traditional fantasy leagues are extremely time consuming and require a ton of player knowledge and good luck. People keep playing in them because they want to stay in touch with friends and love the competition, but they don't necessarily enjoy the actual gameplay.

We decided (through a lot of surveys and user research) that these two things go together incredibly well. We create games based on the principles of sports betting and deliver them in a social fantasy game that is consumable by anyone and everyone, without any legal risk. And yes, our users, much like those who play in fantasy leagues with friends, often play for money on the side - but we don't facilitate any of that.

  • What makes it unique?

A combination of two things:

1. Our product

Sideline's gameplay and approach is truly first of its kind. While sports fans have been playing different variations of what we've made in excel sheets with their friends (we are some of them), we saw the potential to turn it into a structured game with the features that make it an enjoyable app. This happened by taking the time and effort to become experts in understanding why this movement was happening and what users enjoyed, which allows us to create games that users demand, in the way that want to play them.

2. Our team

Our founders are our target user - we've all played fantasy sports and bet on sports, so we have intimate knowledge of what people like and what they don't (but don't worry, we still do a ton of user testing). We've tested everything out there and have experienced a lot of the pain points that exist. So, in building our game for the NFL and other sports, we keep all of these pain points in mind, ensuring the best possible experience for our users.

  • Why should investors be interested in your firm?

For one, we absolutely love what we do. All of us left our post-graduate school jobs, forgoing that thing called a "salary," to make something we are passionate about. Our motivations for succeeding are driven by that passion and a genuine desire for sports fans to adopt something that we are wildly confident in.

Our team and experience is solid. We all bring something different to the table - from user acquisition/marketing, to design, to development - allowing us to do everything in-house. This is really important to us because we work at a pace where depending on a contracting firm to design and build our games would remove so much of the value that we bring to the table.

We are all "doers." When we say we are going to do something, we do it. Also, we come ego-free - the number one thing for us is providing the best product and experience to the user.

  • How are you financed at this point?

We are financed through a good old fashioned friends and family round, totaling around $75,000.

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