PrePlay Pushes Games for Sports Predictions to TV’s “Second Screen”

Sports will always be a huge draw for entertainment dollars, so it is no surprise that a bevy of software and platform developers want their share of this market. Many large media companies and independents crank out apps for fantasy sports leagues. PrePlay, a two-year-old startup based in New York, has adopted a different strategy to make money in this competitive sector: by creating apps for something called predictive gaming.

PrePlay’s mobile apps run on smartphones and tablets in tandem with live sports such as professional football and hockey. The apps let users try to predict the outcomes of upcoming plays and action, moments before they take place. Rival players on PrePlay can be drawn from the users’ contacts, Facebook friends, and other users they discover through the app. Users can chat, challenge each other to make predictions on specific games, and compare results. In addition to guessing the overall outcome, users can make guesses about who will score next in the midst of the game. Fans earn points for correctly guessing how the next score or play unfolds, which may translate into prizes from sponsors of the app.

On Wednesday, PrePlay announced it raised $3.1 million in a Series A funding round from Gary Vaynerchuk; Matt Higgins, the CEO of RSE Ventures; and other angel investors. Andrew Daines, the CEO of PrePlay, says he founded the company after observing the way sports fans kept using their mobile devices even while watching live events. “We noticed a shift in the way people interact with cell phones,” he says. “It is becoming very much the second screen and a companion to television.” Apple’s iPad is often referred to as the second screen for TV when it comes to shopping or Web browsing.

PrePlay plans to use its new funding, he says, to hire more staff and develop new … Next Page »

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