Tappp, a payment technology company backed by franchise owners and prominent equity investors, has raised $ 10 million from a group that includes Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuc, Vegas Golden Knights limited partner Peter Tomozawa and early investor DraftKings Accomplica.
The company, which has now raised more than $ 21 million, is seeking to capitalize on increased mixing of sports betting and sports media, especially in the U.S., where the emerging gambling industry is expanding from state to state, attracting billions each month.
In addition to the new capital, Tapp announced on Tuesday a new multi-year contract with Major League Rugby and The Rugby Network, which will mark the official launch of gambling products. Tappp will allow rugby fans who watch matches to bet on the screen with partners in sports betting, which is a way to show new possibilities while the startup looks like a partner with more operators and more broadcasters.
Furthermore, Tapp hopes to adapt this technology to include more purchases, such as clothing or food.
“Our long-term vision for this is to make your screen – your tablet, your TV, your computer – your new outlet,” Tappp founder and CEO Sandy Agarwal said in an interview. “It’s your new cash register.”
Earlier investors in the company are Elysian Park Ventures, a firm backed by Los Angeles Dodgers owners; Courtside Ventures supported by Dan Gilbert; and the family of Adidas founder Adi Dassler. Agarwal declined to comment on the company’s valuation after the financing.
Tappp’s roots are in payment — the company is an official partner for MLB.TV pre-paid cards that give fans the ability to watch games off-market live or on demand. He recently teamed up with BetMGM to sell pre-paid cards that bookmakers could use to fund their accounts, which is the beginning of a wider push into sports betting.
For streams on The Rugby Network, Tappp will act as a kind of payment intermediary, using APIs from partner sports bookmakers (such as PlayUp, for example), to show live odds and active bets on top of live feeds. Bookmakers can place bets there, without leaving the stream, while Tappp checks the user’s location, betting status and executes the transaction. Tappp shares in the revenue, said Agarwal, who was a founding partner of Enpocket, a mobile ad platform that Nokia bought in 2007.
Pairing live sports and live betting is a top priority for sports bookmakers and media companies, but technological hurdles have made it difficult to achieve the perfect version. Some live odds change within seconds, so companies like Tapppo may have the best possible technology, but are still affected by lagging fans due to limitations in their homes.
Rugby in the USA is a good opportunity to present Tapp’s new offer. Major League Rugby is now in its fifth season as the first professional North American league, and while some games are available on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, many are available for streaming on The Rugby Network, where MLR is a partner. This close connection between the league and the media network facilitates the integration of this technology.
The $ 10 million tour was led by Accomplice, risk capital fund Verance Capital and sports technology VC ADvantage. Tapp’s board includes Accomplice co-founder Ryan Moore, Verance Capital founder Lyle Ayes and ADvantage partner Jeremy Presman.