New-To-Raleigh Startup Helps Sports Fans Live A More Rewarding Fantasy Life

The Fantasy Life app

Playing fantasy sports can lead to bragging rights among friends or serious cash payouts among bigger bettors. The Fantasy Life app gives users an edge, no matter what’s on the line.

Fantasy Life—which boasts investors including NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, San Francisco Giant Evan Longoria and entrepreneur Jesse Itzler, the Co-Founder of Marquis Jet and a minority owner of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks—allows fantasy players to outperform their competitors with innovative information-collecting tools and community insight.

CEO Yasin Abbak says the app is different from most fantasy sports apps, because users don’t actually place bets or play games for money.

“We’re more the sports bar for the industry,” he said.

Fantasy Life is a free platform that gives the fantasy and betting communities a competitive advantage with advice, reports, community-sourced feedback and the fastest breaking news alerts in the industry, according to Abbak.

The most powerful Fantasy Life feature, Abbak says, is the news alerts the app has rolled into its software.

“We’re built on a social community platform,” he said, “but the real juice behind it is the breaking news alerts that we’ve built out that allow us to surface relevant news as quickly as possible and push that out in push notification form.”

Fantasy Life monitors news from thousands of sources per sport, including sports publications, but most of all social media. Abbak says the Fantasy Life software sifts through everything a player might post on Instagram about their personal life, for example, and automatically filters out the news.

These breaking headlines are what allow users to make informed—and quick—decisions about whether to start or bench a player in their lineup or drop them from their team altogether.

Cross-state connections

Fantasy Life headquarters recently moved to Raleigh along with Abbak, who decided to leave New York City for the Triangle because of the thriving tech ecosystem and university networks. The company’s seven full-time employees and five consultants are spread around the country.

The timing is right for Abbak and Fantasy Life: when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that banned commercial sports betting in 2018, individual states could then take steps to legalize and regulate sports betting. That is expected to significantly increase the size of the market for legal sports gambling—and thus the size of Fantasy Life’s potential market and revenue opportunities.

Those wagers are largely handled by online sportsbooks, which view Fantasy Life as a good way to help fill the top of their sales funnel. As Abbak puts it, most sports bettors are also fantasy sports players, but most fantasy players (a much larger number) aren’t sports bettors—yet.

The easiest way to turn a person into a sports bettor is to convert them from fantasy player, and that’s Fantasy Life’s eventual long-term audience. After all, the same breaking news alerts that let a fantasy player know which wide receiver on his team just pulled his quad chasing his 3-year-old is very valuable information to bettors as well.

The platform is free but generates revenue via an affiliate model—sportsbooks share revenue with Fantasy Life when its users head to those sportsbooks from links on the app—and in-app purchases.

The passionate fantasy sports community that uses Fantasy Life shares smart, week-to-week advice with each other, which Abbak says expands the reach of fantasy sports.

“Essentially what we’re building is a loyal, engaged and valuable audience,” Abbak said, “by leveling the playing field for the everyday bettor and fantasy player against others that they’re competing against.”

About Elizabeth Moore 38 Articles
Elizabeth Moore tells the stories of the Triangle's tech startups as GrepBeat's summer intern. She is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in journalism and Spanish. You can contact Elizabeth on Twitter (@elizltmoore) and LinkedIn.