Champions Raises $7M in Series A

March 6, 2023

A group of investors has poured $7 million into Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw-based fantasy gaming startup Champions Round for its series A funding round.

The company said it expects to utilize that funding to amplify its content creation and develop a function in its app that allows fans to connect with those creators. Champions Round combines traditional fantasy sports with a series of skill-based games within the app that take advantage of big plays and other signature moments in real-world games.


Champions Round co-founders Carter Russ, left, and Chase Payne.


“We want to bring communities together through sports,” Carter Russ, the company’s chief executive and co-founder, said in a statement. “Fantasy sports historically demand lengthy commitments, seldom reward their players, and can be very tricky and cumbersome to play. Despite all of this, nothing keeps us closer quite like our fantasy sports leagues.”

Investors for this round included Point72 Ventures, Goodwater Capital, Pipeline Capital, Quest Venture Partners, Mana Ventures, Band of Angels and Gaingels.

“We believe Gen Z is driving a rapid transformation in sports consumption. Always connected and looking to build community online, we see Fantasy Sports fans looking for more engagement, more touchpoints, and more ways to compete socially,” Ishan Sinha of Point72 Ventures said. “We believe Champions Round’s products are addressing a gap between once-a-season legacy fantasy sports and high-stakes betting by offering games that bring fans closer together, more often. We’re excited to support the team on their journey.”

Coddy Johnson, a former president and COO at Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard, is also joining Champions Round’s board of directors as an operating partner at Goodwater Capital.

“During my career I’ve seen the video game industry truly evolve from largely solo-player experiences into rich, globalized social products. Yet, during the same period, fantasy sports have done the opposite — individualized play has been the predominant mode of usage,” Johnson said. “Champions Round’s reimagination of fantasy sports, its vision for what social play means today, is something I knew we had to be a part of.”

Deviating from the traditional fantasy sports model of drafting teams before the season and managing the players before each game, Champions Round tasks users with considering outcomes on more specific moments, from play-by-play to daily, weekly or monthly results. Founders believe the dynamic tasks and plethora of in-game and real money rewards will appeal to Gen Z users who aren’t looking to invest their efforts into full sports seasons.

“We strongly believe modern sports fans no longer care about calendar years and seasonality,” said co-founder Chase Payne. “They expect sports entertainment to be on-demand and streamed. We are excited to use this round of financing to continue reshaping this new relationship between fans and athletes.”

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