Venture fund Drive by DraftKings raises first $60M to invest in sports tech

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raftKings-backed venture capital firm Drive by Draftkings announced on Thursday that it has raised its first venture fund of $60 million, to be invested in sports tech and entertainment companies and to support “entrepreneurs advancing the future of play and performance.”

Raised in just six months, the fund is oversubscribed by 20%. It has notable investors including The Kraft Group (New England Patriots), Jones family (Dallas Cowboys), DraftKings, Todd Boehly (Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks), Madison Square Garden Sports Corp., Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., Arctos Sports Partners, and Mike Gordon (Fenway Sports Group).

The firm has identified four main investment themes across the industry: human performance, sports and gaming, media and fan engagement, data analytics and monetization. Its current portfolio includes Cardless, Elite HRV, Evaluate.Market, Guidesly, Just Women’s Sports, Muxy, Papaya Gaming, PickUp, StreamLayer, Tappp, Toya, VidMob, and WHOOP.

“We are proud and excited to have assembled this roster of prominent investors. Not only do they embrace our vision to facilitate growth and innovation in sports tech and entertainment, they also provided the capital to join our mission,” said Meredith McPherron, Drive by DraftKings CEO and Managing Partner. 

Drive by DraftKings has also launched its All-Star Network, designed to support the firm’s investment strategy. Among its members are: three-time Olympic ice hockey medalist Hilary Knight, 11-time NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, retired professional tennis player James Blake, Theo Epstein (MLB and Arctos Sports Partners Executive). 

Sam Kennedy (Boston Red Sox President and CEO), Andy Miller (Sacramento Kings Co-Owner and NRG Esports Founder/CEO), Sanyin Siang (Executive Director of the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University), Julie Uhrman (Angel City FC Co-Founder and President), and YouTube gamer Elliott Watkins are also part of the network.

Most All-Star Network members are also investing in Drive by DraftKings’ first venture fund. The venture capital firm, together with its partners, aims to “drive the future of sports, gaming and media.”

“I think we’re one of the most strategic sources of venture capital in sports tech and entertainment,” added McPherron. “We’re right there in the center. We have access to a phenomenal base of investors who are strategic, to our all-star network, who are incredibly well-informed and invested in the space, and to our founding partners.”

Drive by DraftKings isn’t a part of the publicly traded sports firm. It’s owned by DFKS, a joint venture owned in part by DraftKings, its CEO Jason Robins, CFO Jason Park, director Hany Nada and venture capital fund Accomplice, which owns equity in DraftKings.

Investment opportunities will mostly be focused on projects that could potentially bring changes to their sectors. Cryptocurrencies, gaming, NFTs, VR and immersive experiences are all areas that might be of interest to the fund.

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