Smarkets Gets Series B Funding, Plans Enhancements To Colorado Sportsbook

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Smarkets, the British betting exchange that launched its first U.S. sportsbook in Colorado last June, earlier this month secured Series B funding via a minority investment from Susquehanna Growth Equity. Smarkets plans to use the new capital to further enhance its Colorado offering, increase marketing efforts, and launch in several other U.S. states.

A company spokesman told CoBets that it plans to launch in Indiana by the end of the summer.

Smarkets, which bills itself as “one of the world’s largest betting exchange and predictions market platforms,” developed a more traditional sportsbook app for Colorado and other U.S. states. It first went live in Colorado on June 4, 2020, and is also available in the U.K. While the company hopes to eventually be able to offer peer-to-peer wagering and trading as it does in the U.K., Denmark, and Sweden, it is establishing its U.S. brand under the SBK Sportsbook logo.

Details of the deal were not made publicly available.

“We are delighted to be able to join Smarkets on their upward journey,” Scott Feldman, managing director with Susquehanna Growth Equity, said via press release. “We immediately identified with their vision of using technology to take on the betting industry’s big operators by providing the fairest odds in the world and maintaining a clear focus on product excellence.”

Developing new products a goal

The company was founded by sometimes outspoken former UBS trader Jason Trost. Social media is a key part of the Colorado platform, allowing bettors to share information.

Though Smarkets has no plans to “spend all the money straightaway,” according to a company spokesman, it does have an outline of where the funds will go. From the press release, those purposes include:

  • Furthering the company’s US presence, including market-access deals in new, regulated states.
  • Capturing an even greater share of the UK betting exchange market and accelerating SBK’s growth in the UK’s mainstream sportsbook market.
  • Expanding Smarkets’ development of new products for customers and its focus on industry-leading prices on sports, politics, and current affairs.
  • Continuing to capture the best and brightest worldwide engineering talent with a view to doubling headcount by end of 2022.
  • Furthering expansion into new and recently entered markets such as Denmark and Sweden.

Trost: ‘Best is yet to come’ for Smarkets

“We are super proud of what we have achieved so far in the U.K. betting space, and this new investment will help take us to the next level and beyond in the U.K., U.S., and other international markets,” Trost said in a company press release.

“I truly believe the best is yet to come. This investment will allow us to fight with greater resources, move faster, and be bolder in our mission. We’re so excited about the opportunities this investment unlocks.”

According to Yahoo! Finance, Smarkets has more than 50,000 active monthly users worldwide. Trost told Yahoo! that while many  European-based sportsbook operators have partnered with U.S. companies since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act fell in May 2018, he “didn’t found [Smarkets] to make somebody’s sportsbook technology in-house.”

Smarkets’ US-facing product in Colorado features markets on dozens of sports. After Jon Rahm’s dramatic victory Sunday in the US Open, the Spaniard has emerged as a leading contender at Smarkets to win next month’s British Open.

Smarkets, which is partnered with Bronco Billy’s for its brick-and-mortar sportsbook in Cripple Creek, is one of 20 digital sports betting platforms currently available in Colorado.

Jill has covered everything from steeplechase to the NFL and then some during a more than 30-year career in sports journalism. The highlight of her career was covering Oakland Raiders during the Charles Woodson/Jon Gruden era, including the infamous “Snow Bowl” and the Raiders’ 2003 trip to Super Bowl XXXVII. Her specialty these days is covering sports betting legislation across the country.

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