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Benjie Cherniak

GridRival Raises $3M in Seed Funding

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GridRival, a sports betting startup dedicated exclusively to motorsports, has raised $3M in Seed funding.

The round was led by KB Partners, the Chicago-based sports-tech fund, with participation from Sharp Alpha Advisors, ESPT Ventures, and other sports betting investors and executives including Lloyd Danzig and Benjie Cherniak.

Over 500 million consumers around the globe tune into some form of auto racing every year. Together with motorsports, sports betting and fantasy sports have been experiencing explosive growth. Armed with 120,000 users and $3M in new capital, GridRival is poised to take advantage of this “trifecta” of perfect timing.

“As a lifelong motorsports fan that’s been watching the DFS and sports betting craze from the sidelines, I knew one thing was clear – if any brand was going to engage the racing audience in a meaningful way at significant scale, it must be done with a platform exclusive to motorsports. We plan to be the authentic, real-money gaming platform that race fans will actually resonate with,” Ross Fruin, CEO and Co-Founder of GridRival, said.

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The motorsports app got its start as a “free-to-play” season-long fantasy sports platform and plans to use the new funding to launch its first real-money games in the US and UK in 2022 while simultaneously adding additional racing series to its apps.

“The number of global racing fans is huge but they are currently underserved by existing platforms that focus almost exclusively on traditional sports. We are thrilled to partner with the GridRival team as they build the first truly authentic fantasy sports and sports betting experience for this audience,” Steven Ahern of KB Partners said.

In an industry known for high user acquisition costs, the team at GridRival has found a formula for building a loyal audience. Their active players grew by 2000% YoY at the start of the 2021 season – with 60% of new users for 2021 stemming from viral growth. Their growth and engagement figures caught the eye of prominent sports betting thought leader and investor, Lloyd Danzig.

“Sports betting operators are currently amidst a customer acquisition gold rush in which the focus is increasingly being directed toward finding large, untapped audiences. GridRival has proven itself capable of targeting and engaging the Motorsports fan base at scale with an authentic, full-featured app,” Danzig said.

GridRival’s ambitions go beyond betting. “Our vision is to be ‘the home screen’ for the fans that use our platform. In addition to real money gaming, we want GridRival to be the hub that our users come to for motorsports-related content and community,” Fruin said.

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Alex Monahan

OddsJam Appoints Benjie Cherniak as Strategic Advisor

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OddsJam, a leading sports betting content and data provider, has appointed industry leader Benjie Cherniak as a strategic advisor.

The former Managing Director of Don Best Sports and a veteran of the sports betting space, Cherniak will provide support on the product-development side while helping drive OddsJam’s B2B strategy on behalf of co-founders Alex Monahan and Ankit Goyal.

“As a product-led company operating both B2C and B2B verticals, we couldn’t be happier to join forces with one of the true trailblazers in our industry. Benjie’s experience leading Don Best – a platform that played a major role in inspiring us to launch OddsJam – and his deep understanding of data-driven products and how to forge partnerships in the sports betting space are invaluable assets that will be key to our continued growth,” Alex Monahan said.

“I’m excited to be advising OddsJam, who are rapidly making waves in our space. Their market-leading subscription offerings resonate in a meaningful way with punters across North America and beyond. They are also gaining traction with operators, who see real value in the depth of OddsJam’s betting data, in particular within the growing player-prop vertical,” Benjie Cherniak said.

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Benjie Cherniak

Scientific Games Strengthens Global Trading Capabilities with Senior Appointment

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Scientific Games is delighted to announce the appointment of Glen Saville as the Company’s new Senior Director, Global Trading, taking over from Benjie Cherniak.

With a wealth of operator experience within the global sports betting industry, Saville’s arrival adds strength to the trading capabilities within Scientific Games’ leading sports betting offering, OpenSports.

Based in Las Vegas, Saville will be responsible for growing Scientific Games’ global trading business overseeing Don Best Sports and SG’s European operations to offer a seamless, industry leading service.

Saville joins the Company from NZ TAB, where he held the position of General Manager for Betting for over six years with the statutory body. Previously, he was Head of Product at sportsbook operator Tom Waterhouse in Australia.

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Keith O’Loughlin, SVP Sportsbook at Scientific Games Digital, said: “Firstly, I would like to extend my extreme appreciation to Benjie for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavours. We’re excited to unveil the arrival of Glen, who will prove to be an invaluable asset in our ambitions to drive forward our global trading service. With a background of working for major sportsbooks, his operator experience will undoubtedly sharpen our business delivery to a new level that will hugely benefit our global customer network. I’m delighted to welcome Glen to the team and begin 2021 in such a positive manner.”

Glen Saville, Senior Director, Global Trading at Scientific Games Digital, said: “I’m thrilled to have joined Scientific Games and look forward to the exciting task ahead. Having worked closely with the Company and the OpenSports ecosystem at NZRB, I’m fully aware of the leading sports betting solutions that we offer. In the months ahead, I’m keen to introduce new ways of elevating our trading capabilities to ensure that our customers receive the best possible service.”

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