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Tampa firm leads $50M funding for Jake Paul’s sports betting startup, Betr

Florida Funders’ $5 million investment led the initial funding round for Betr, whose celebrity backers include Travis Scott.
Jake Paul poses for pictures following a press conference at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Nov. 8, 2021, ahead of a fight with Tommy Fury in December. Paul's sports betting company Betr secured a $5 million investment from Tampa-based Florida Funders to lead a $30 million Series A fundraising round. It's the largest investment in Florida Funders' history.
Jake Paul poses for pictures following a press conference at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Nov. 8, 2021, ahead of a fight with Tommy Fury in December. Paul's sports betting company Betr secured a $5 million investment from Tampa-based Florida Funders to lead a $30 million Series A fundraising round. It's the largest investment in Florida Funders' history. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Aug. 8|Updated Aug. 8

Jake Paul has launched a sports betting company that just raised $50 million in funding. And a Tampa investment firm led the way.

Florida Funders invested $5 million into Betr, a Miami-based mobile betting company co-founded by the YouTuber-turned-professional boxer and wrestler. Not only was it the largest investment in Betr’s $30 million Series A round — alongside investments from rapper Travis Scott, pro football players Ezekiel Elliott, Richard Sherman, Dez Bryant and more — it’s Florida Funders’ largest single investment to date.

Betr’s oversubscribed $30 million Series A round was quickly followed by a $20 million Series A1, bringing the total investment announced Monday to $50 million.

“With legalization expanding across the country, now is the time for Betr to enter the market and we couldn’t be more thrilled to lead this round,” Florida Funders managing partner Tom Wallace said in a statement. “Betr’s technology is leading the micro-betting community and it was an obvious choice for us to back the company, product, and brand in the booming tech hub of Miami. In addition, with the brand reach of influencer and co-founder Jake Paul, Betr has an unmatchable go-to-market strategy built right in.”

Related: YouTuber Jake Paul promises to silence boxing doubters at Tampa fight

Co-founded by South Florida native Joey Levy, Betr’s focus is micro-betting, which allows users to place instant in-game bets on things like football downs or baseball at-bats. The app will launch around the start of the NFL season, said Saxon Baum, Florida Funders’ head of investor relations, and will be free to play everywhere, with betting available on a state-by-state basis. The startup also announced plans to launch a sports media company built around Paul.

“I wasn’t into sports betting until I was introduced to micro-betting,” Paul said in a statement. “Micro-betting is the TikTok-ification of sports betting and I am excited to bring it to the masses through Betr.”

Related: Want to invest in a Tampa Bay startup? Tips on riding Florida's funding wave

Florida Funders, which closed a $60 million investment fund earlier this year, has already invested more than $20 million into some three dozen companies, including Tampa blockchain services company Pocket Network and Tampa health startup Peerfit, which earlier this year sold to celebrity-backed fitness app FitOn. More than half of its investments are with Florida companies.

Baum said Florida Funders was an early investor in Levy’s previous company, Simplebet, a precursor of sorts to Betr. It was Levy’s involvement, not Paul’s, that drew Florida Funders to Betr. But having a high-profile name attached will bring the firm an added level of visibility — not just in Florida but nationwide.

“Strategically — and maybe even a little bit selfishly — we’re super-excited about the clout that’s surrounding this,” Baum said. “People who had no idea who we were are probably seeing our name in the newspaper and online and saying, ‘Wow, that’s interesting. Who’s Florida Funders? Maybe with my next company, I’ll think about working with them.’”

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Miami’s Aliya Capital Partners and Fuel Venture Capital were among the $50 million round’s other Florida investors.

Baum said Betr’s target audience will be Jake Paul’s demographic of Gen-Z, Gen-Y and millennial bettors who may not be as familiar with traditional wagering. That strategy, he said, can push Betr into the upper eschelon of sports betting apps as more and more states allow sports gambling.

“Our goal, and the Betr goal, is for this to be one of the largest consumer products ever to come out of the state of Florida, and that’s what we’re excited about,” Baum said. “We’re hoping that in a few years it’s DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Betr.”

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