TechCrunch, whose parent company happens to be the now Apollo-owned Yahoo, covered Wagr way back at its inception in 2020 at one of its early investor’s demo days. We noted at the time that Wagr is all about allowing sports fans to bet alongside peers, with challenges, leaderboards and tools for smack talk all part of the fun.
In the intervening years, Wagr went on to raise some $16 million in funding from notable investors including esteemed New York VC firm Greycroft, Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen and Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots.
Yahoo is already one of the largest fantasy sports players in the U.S. alongside the likes of ESPN and DraftKings, and by bringing Wagr into the fold the company says that it will help accelerate Yahoo Sports’ “vision to create and deliver the most compelling fantasy and gaming products” through fostering camaraderie between friends.
“While we know our fantasy leagues increase fan engagement and give people something to root for, the real value is in keeping friend groups together through competition and camaraderie around the sports they love,” Yahoo Sports SVP Jon Shaw said in a press release. “Acquiring Wagr creates an immediate opportunity for us to expand into new group formats that can take engagement and friendly competition to the next level.”
Today’s announcement comes a little more than two months after Yahoo revealed it was laying off 20% of its staff, or 1,600 employees, from its ad tech business. Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone said at the time that the layoffs were not a result of the economic downturn, but instead were changes it was proactively making to strengthen its unprofitable Yahoo for Business advertising unit.
The Wagr acquisition, which is now closed, will see Wagr fully integrated into Yahoo Sports, meaning that Wagr will cease to exist as a standalone entity.