BETFAIR INVESTMENT IN WATERCOOLER CONFIRMED
10/26/09 – This morning's report on an investment by online gambling group Betfair in California-based social networking applications provider Watercooler has been confirmed.
The betting group has been joined by investment house Canaan Partners in closing a $5.5 million Series B funding round. Betfair's US president, Gerard Cunningham, joins the Watercooler board as part of the deal, which opens up fantasy sports and other opportunities on social networking giants like Facebook.
"Our investment is further proof that Betfair believes the fantasy sportsmarket is a tremendous opportunity in the US and around the world," said Cunningham. "Watercooler's strong team and its proven ability to execute an innovative approach to social networking and sports, is extremely compelling as we continue to build Betfair's global portfolio of sports and social media offerings," he said.
Watercooler will use the round to fund further development of fantasy sports and social games on Facebook and other platforms. The company recently launched FanSection Fantasy Football 2009, a commissioner-style fantasy football game available on Facebook.
Earlier this year Watercooler's 2009 Bracket Challenge application was the largest college basketball tournament game on Facebook with over 1.7 million active users, easily surpassing all other bracket games combined.
The company's Series A financing was led by Canaan Partners of Menlo Park, CA.
Kevin Chou, CEO of Watercooler commented: "At Watercooler, we've already achieved fantastic momentum in the social gaming space on Facebook, and we look forward to continuing along that path with the new investment from Betfair and Canaan. Betfair's innovative approach to sports and gaming, along with its strong international presence, made the company a perfect fit as we continue to build innovative social games."
"There is a clear opportunity for Watercooler's fan communities and social games," said Maha Ibrahim, General Partner at Canaan Partners. "Since our initial investment, the company has rapidly expanded its worldwide users on top social platforms.
"We're excited to help Watercooler achieve even greater success and believe Betfair's industry experience and regulatory capabilities will help drive the expansion of Watercooler's product offerings."