Predictive sports game startup PrePlay has closed a $4.7 million Series B round, led by Trilogy Equity Partners LLC. RSE Ventures, the VC fund founded by Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross and Matt Higgins, also participated in the round.
The startup, which was founded in 2010 and has just clocked up its 100,000th registered user, acts as a second screen companion for live TV shows. It creates social gaming apps for smartphones and tablets that allow sports fans to compete with each other by predicting the outcome of the match — you know, just like they do down the pub anyway — such as in its PrePlay Football app, shown below:
PrePlay says a total of eight million predictions have been across its platform to-date. Earlier this month, on Baseball’s Opening Day, users made more than 200,000 “play-by-play predictions” — double its prior single-day record.
The company is particularly proud of its engagement metric — claiming an “industry leading” average of 50 minutes per user session (albeit, the frequency of app use would probably be a more interesting measure for an app associated with live sports).
Commenting in a statement, CEO Andrew Daines said PrePlay fits into “the category of ‘second-screen'” but takes a different approach to the “generic one-size-fits-all check-in apps” or apps “made by TV programmers who want you to watch their shows” because it’s a game first and foremost.
“We’re tackling the problem of engagement from a mobile-first, gaming perspective. We care deeply about creating rich, high-quality game experiences, and believe TV tune-in and engagement with content and brands flow naturally from there,” he added.
PrePlay said it will use the new funding round to grow its Ruby on Rails and native iOS and Android teams in order to expand its sports portfolio (currently it offers apps for baseball, hockey, and football), and also to grow its advertising, in-app purchase, and platform licensing businesses.
Having different sports in its app portfolio allows it to cross-market other titles to users and also to bridge seasonal gaps when one or more sport is taking a break, it added.