Paddy Power, the son of David Power, founder of the eponymous Irish bookmaker, has announced plans to launch a ‘sports trading’ platform, American SportZ Exchange (ASX), according to the Irish Independent.
ASX will operate from Ireland but target the burgeoning US sports betting market, and will be initially financially supported as a startup via a €500,000 crowdfunding campaign using the Dublin-based Spark Crowdfunding platform, based on a €4.5 million valuation.
Development of the technology platform for ASX began in 2019. A beta version was launched in 2020, and was subsequently chosen to participate in the Israeli Hype Accelerator programme – an initiative launched to assist sports tech startups with establishing club, league, brand and broadcaster partnerships.
However, Power, who works as a brand ambassador for his father’s international betting operator, also confirmed that he is currently the primary investor in the enterprise, and predicts that a ‘serious’ funding round will not take place for at least a year.
Despite this prediction, Power also informed the Irish Independent, that he believes the virtual stock market will be worth around €10 million within 18 months.
He commented: “Half a million euro would be great for an early-stage startup and would give us 12 to 18 months’ work. Another couple of people are interested in investing, which would bring funds up to about €1 million.
“Our big plan is to get to the stage of another fundraising round as quickly as possible. I’d say the next fundraising round would make the company worth €10 million and that would be cautious, which is unlike me.”
The startup reportedly raised €100,000 on Spark Crowdfunding within its first hour of fundraising, with some investors making financial commitments before the campaign had even began,
Platform users will be able to buy or sell ‘shares’ based on how their predictions regarding a player or team’s performance, whilst live ‘share prices’ players and teams will also be offered, based on expected performance.
Power further informed the Irish Independent that ‘exclusive’ partnerships with major North American sports teams have been secured, while the ASX.ai website is already accepting beta player requests.
Power remarked: “It’s like a virtual stock market for players and teams,” Mr Power told the Irish Independent. We’re basically allowing sports fans to speculate on player or team performance.”
He added: “There are opportunities for teams and clubs to own their fans’ engagement in this type of activity. They’d like to keep (the fans) on their own site rather than see them going elsewhere to do all that online activity.”
Notable partners include the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Vegas Golden Knights, online sports streaming service DAZN and Sinclair Broadcast Group – an affiliate of major media outlets such as Fox and ABC – whilst Canadian group Rogers Media is reportedly ‘in discussions’ with the startup.
Power has also initiated a recruitment process for a range of executive positions at the new company, saying: “I’ve been working on this myself for the last couple of years, but it has gotten to the stage now where I have to hand over the keys to the grown ups.”
Mike Griffin, Commercial Director at the Racing Post, has been enlisted as the CEO of ASX, whilst Conall Flood, former electronic exchange technology Head at Banco Santander has also filled a vacancy. Additional positions have been taken by former executives and employees of Paddy Power and JP Morgan, among others.