Got an office fantasty football league?
Those of us who do are far from alone. According to Todd Heyden, SportsLock’s co-founder and fantasy football aficionado, more than 55 million people in the US and Canada play fantasy sports.
And SportsLock — a startup that’s built a tech-forward, mobile-first fantasy gaming app for any fantasy sports lover out there — wants to see that number explode.
“SportsLock is trying to be the best place to take action on sports,” Heyden said. “That’s what we wanted to build. That’s what we thought as consumers was missing from the space, especially when you think about how you can do that simply, how you can do it mobile-first, how you can eventually build it into the best place for you and your friends or colleagues.”
Most fantasy leagues currently operate in one of two industries: traditional fantasy, where participants play against each other throughout the duration of the season, and daily fantasy, which (as the name suggests) is much more breakneck.
But Heyden said SportsLock is primed to disrupt its vertical and bring fantasy gaming up to speed with the technological capabilities of today.
“Historically, gaming has been a little bit out of touch when it came to technology,” he said. “We wanted to fix that.”
With their iOS app, the team at SportsLock has introduced what Heyden calls “short-duration” fantasy, a new approach they’re pioneering that adds much more flexibility to the fantasy sports experience.
Through tournaments modeled after March Madness, users head up against their friends in a one-on-one arena after drafting their team. If your roster beats your opponent's, you advance in your bracket until a winner emerges.
Heyden said players can customize tournament size, picking from head-to-head games against your best buddy to 32-strong tournaments with everyone at the office. The app manages the draft, keeps score, and tracks and delivers cash winnings.
“Fantasy doesn’t have to last either one day or all season,” he explained. “With SportsLock, you can have customizable functionality where if you want to play for a couple weeks, you can. If you want to play for a day, that’s fine. And if you want to have a season-long tournament — go for it.”
And soon, players will have a lot more to choose from. SportsLock is working to build an Android version of the app and hopes to roll out a web version in early 2016. The second version of their iOS app has already been submitted to the Apple Store for approval, and should go live sometime in the upcoming week.
All of that innovation demands a team that’s hungry for success. SportsLock currently has 17 full-time employees and seven more full-time contract workers. And, they’re hiring developers of all backgrounds to continue fueling that growth.
“We’ve built the culture here. Chicago is an incredible place to work, especially for a sports company. If there are engineers out there who like sports, we’ve honestly built the best place for these guys and girls to work,” Heyden said.
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