FanDuel scores a mouthwatering £173m round as it cements its status as a Scottish 'unicorn'

FanDuel, a Scottish founded US fantasy sports platform, has raised £176 million, cementing its status as one of the UK’s latest tech “unicorns”.

The daily fantasy sports operator tech unicorn plans to use the money from high profile investors like Google Capital, Timer Warner Investments and Turner Sports to expand its customer base in North America, which is currently its only market.

It will also invest in building new products and features, as well as increasing the size of its work force to over 250 people.

Founded in Edinburgh in 2009, FanDuel focuses on US sports such as basketball, baseball and American football.

The company told Techworld last year that it will launch a Premier League product at some point.

Speaking in December, CEO Nigel Eccles said: We will launch a product in the UK, we just haven’t done it yet. I think we’re going to see how the next three to six months go. It will be a Fantasy Football (soccer) product. This will be our next market.”

At the time, FanDuel said it expects Premier League fantasy football enthusiasts to use its platform “on top of” the season-long competitions offered by the likes of Barclays, The Telegraph and Play Togga.

FanDuel, which isn’t particularly well-known in the country it was founded, has now raised a total of £233 million ($363 million), nearly twice as much as Shazam and Transferwise  - two startups commonly hailed as the most successful digital firms to have come out of the UK in recent years.

As the company moved into its new office above Skyscanner last year, FanDuel co-founder Lesley Eccles told Techworld: “In the US, more and more people have heard of FanDuel but in the UK we’re still relatively unknown. Nobody realises we’re building a billion dollar business on their doorstep.”

Raising this much capital hasn’t been without its challenges.

The company’s leaders had to pitch to 84 investors before securing their series B round back in 2011.

Other investors today include NFL and NBA team owners, as well as Shamrock Capital, NBC Sports Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Pentech Ventures and Piton Capital.

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