Ahead of March Madness, Wager App Blok Sports Snags $1.3M

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Ahead of March Madness, Wager App Blok Sports Snags $1.3M

With March Madness weeks away, investors are placing their bets on Manhattan Beach startup Blok Sports.

Next week, the company will close a $1.3 million seed round to polish its blockchain-powered betting platform designed to help users place wagers without doling out their credit card information.

"We run a peer-to-peer sports betting exchange built on blockchain," said CEO and co-founder Mitchell Chun. "We're gamifying sports betting and making it more of a social experience. Our goal is to make this readily accessible for folks who aren't crypto-savvy or hardcore sports betters."

The company launched its platform in early 2019 for some 800 subscribers of the Las Vegas betting site VSiN. Next month, it'll roll out a free March Madness platform with a new media partner.

Unlike traditional sports betting, Blok's model sets up bets between users without taking their payment information. Instead it uses a decentralized exchange service that records transactions and supports cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin.

"When it comes to online sportsbooks, there's been a preponderance of fraud," said Chun, a former Fox Interactive Media and Yahoo executive who sold 5:1, an ad platform, to Yahoo in 2011 for about $28 million. He's more than doubled his team within the past two weeks, taking on six new developers.

On Blok, users can "make wagers directly with other people," he said "without the involvement of a middleman."

The company makes money by taking a small fee from each peer-to-peer wager. Chun plans on inking sponsorships to help support the free March Madness platform.

Chun declined to disclose the media and sports investors who participated in the round, which was oversubscribed by $300,000.


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Activision Buys Game Studio Proletariat To Expand ‘World of Warcraft’ Staff

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Xbox\u2019s various game developers it now owns: Activision, Blizzard and King.
Courtesy of Activision Blizzard

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Bling Capital’s Kyle Lui On How Small Funds Can Better Support Young Founders

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
Bling Capital’s Kyle Lui On How Small Funds Can Better Support Young Founders

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Bling Capital’s Kyle Lui talks about why he moved earlier stage in his investing and how investors can best support founders.

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