Off To The Races

Mario Malave
Published in
2 min readJun 16, 2021


We’re thrilled to announce that Wagr has secured $4MM in seed funding led by Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six with participation from Greycroft, Pear Ventures, Justin Mateen (Tinder Co-founder), Brad Martin (Retired Chairman & CEO of Saks Incorporated), and Joe Baker (Founder of Ole Smoky).

This funding will allow us to forge ahead in our mission to reinvent sports betting into a social, safe, and inclusive experience designed for all sports fans, not just gamblers.

The Why

Channeling our inner Simon Sinek, let’s start with the why. Why did we start a sports betting company in the middle of a global pandemic when sports were canceled? And why have we been working tirelessly over the last year to bring change to an industry where we never felt included?

It all starts with our love of sports. We love playing them, watching them, debating them, and above all, we love the way they bring people together. Despite our different styles of fandom — Mario is an analytics-obsessed football fan (⚽) and Eliana is an ‘anything Boston is perfect’(🏈 🏀 ⚾ 🏒) fan — we had the same reaction to the traditional sports betting experience: we felt it wasn’t built for us.

Every available sports betting avenue we surveyed was either sketchy (👋 bookies), overly complicated (👋 sportsbooks), hacky (👋 Venmo), or intimidating for new users (👋 sports betting in general). We weren’t seeking a better or more sophisticated gambling experience — we just wanted an excuse to engage with our friends, family, and co-workers!

We quickly realized we weren’t alone. Far from it. There are millions of fans across the U.S. who love sports, but for a variety of reasons don’t want to download a traditional betting app. According to the American Gaming Association, of the 23 million Americans who planned to bet on the last Super Bowl, 51% planned to bet casually with friends. Yet there isn’t a product that makes that experience delightful. That’s where we come in.

If you love sports, we’re building Wagr for you. We want to give you a recurring touchpoint with friends and a way to engage with your broader community. We want you to be a part of those water-cooler and dinner party conversations. We want to see you brag when you see yourself at the top of the leaderboard and poke fun at yourself when you are at the bottom. Most importantly, we want you to do all of that without ever jeopardizing your safety.

Everyone at Wagr is incredibly energized to make sports betting more inclusive and show the world what we are building. Pending regulatory approval, we hope to make Tennessee and Virginia our first markets.

Until then, to follow along on our journey and stay updated on our latest news you can subscribe to our newsletter or follow us across our social media channels (Instagram, Twitter).

See you on the leaderboards ✌️