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Cape Town startup turns fantasy football local with FantasyGo

What started as a discussion on a couch turned into an idea to launch a South african fantasy football platform by the founders of the Cape Town startup FantasyGo. The platform, which launched on 16 August, was conceived of and developed during the pandemic — with the four entrepreneurs behind the startup collaborating remotely to launch their product. Ventureburn spoke to the FantasyGo team to find out more about the platform and their journey creating it. How it started The idea for FantasyGo came to co-founder Luke Ente when he and co-founder Michael Aylward, former schoolmates, were watching football together a year ago. We had always played the normal Fantasy Premier League game but always encountered the same issues year after year: we would start the season really well but then lose interest, Aylward told Ventureburn. The idea also sparked that there were no other fantasy platforms that offered local sports like rugby, golf, and cricket. This is how the idea of FantasyGo started. Ente now heads up finance and operations at the company, while Aylward handles growth and sales. Later, co-founders Matt Troost and Roland Kesler joined the team. "We started with just myself and Luke but quickly realised that we needed a technical lead to build the platform. We posted an ad on a number of local universities job portals and got quite a few good responses, the best of which was from Matt who joined as the CTO," Aylward notes. "About a month later, Roland joined the team to help with the design of the product. Between the four of us, weve got backgrounds in finance, tech, marketing, and operations and invaluable experience at some fast-growing local and international tech companies." A startup journey during the pandemic While the pandemic has placed strain on many businesses and startups, remote working and online tools helped FantasyGo overcome distance to collaborate and launch their product. From filling out their team, to working together to create the platform, the entrepreneurs were able to start their journey despite lockdown and distance. "FantasyGo was started at the height of the first lockdown in 2020," the team notes. "Pretty much all of the work we have put into FantasyGo to date has been remote. In fact, the four of us have only ever met in person as a complete group twice." In terms of budgeting and funding, FantasyGo was able to find ways to be efficient with spending. "Weve always had a mentality of keeping things lean and being efficient with our spending," co-founder Luke Ente notes. This included bringing in co-founders who could help build the product and giving equity to help keep costs down. This year, the startup secured an undisclosed but significant investment from two South african entrepreneurs. "Were very proud of this, considering we were pre-revenue and even pre-launch at the time of the investment. The investment will allow us to outsource designers, scale operationally, do a fair bit of marketing and also add some cash to the tournament prize pools," Ente adds. All founders have also continued their full-time jobs while creating and launching the startup. What is FantasyGo about? FantasyGo changes the Fantasy Premier League (FPL) game format in a number of ways, with several key innovations brought through the platform. Firstly, it reduces the length of tournaments. Rather than players needing to stay engaged for a nine-month season, they can take part in weekend-long tournaments. This means you don't have to dedicate yourself to actively managing the team for extended periods of time. The platform also makes facilitating payments easier. FPL is a non-monetary game, but players often contribute to a pot to be paid out to the winner at the end of a tournament. FantasyGo also allows winners to cash out their tokens for Bitcoin and Ripple. "By creating private leagues with secure payment facilities, FantasyGo houses the tournaments and solves that issue," FantasyGo CTO Matt Troost notes. FantasyGo plans for the future The platform's first tournament is set for 20 August. But after the inaugural tournament, plans to expand continue. This includes availability in more countries. "We refer to FantasyGo as social gaming, and we want to eventually take this throughout africa, which is already a football-loving, mobile-first continent," Product and Marketing lead and co-founder Roland Kesler says. Furthermore, while the platform currently only offers fantasy football leagues, other sports will roll out in future. The company also hopes that it can help local and african sports leagues increase engagement from fan

aug 27 2021 10:05pm
newsarticle News : Startups
Mthethwa salutes women in sport

As South africa commemorates Womens Month, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has paid tribute to women in sport, who are flying the South african flag high on the global stage. Our women in sport epitomise the meaning of being South african. They are stories of resilience, stealth and determination that warrant celebration. They are symbols of possibility, glory and hope for many South africans, Mthethwa said on Thursday. Addressing a live engagement session with the media on the support provided to the creative and arts sector, the Minister recognised Olympic champion and world record holder, Tatjana Schoenmaker, as well as surfer Bianca Buitendag for their stellar performance at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the Olympics currently underway in Tokyo, Tatjana Schoenmaker made us all proud as she scooped gold and silver medals, while setting a world record. Bianca Buitendag also added to South africas glory with a silver medal. Another star flying the South african flag high on the global stage is our very own Kgothatso Montjane, who is the first black South african woman to reach the finals at Wimbledon, the Minister said. According to Mthethwa, the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture provides both financial and non-financial support to team South africa for the Olympics. The non-financial support includes facilitating the vaccination of team members and coordinating with sister departments on matters such as international travel, and co-ordinating with the South african Mission in the host country. In addition to the annual grant to the South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the department made a special allocation of R7403 102.53, which was earmarked for high performance athletes and persons with the potential to receive medals. This is over and above the additional resources provided through the Lotto. We remain committed to our excellence recognition programme, as it has been over the years. In this sense, we are looking into rewarding athletes who do well internationally. This issue though needs discussion with SASCOC, a discussion that will take place after the Olympics. Issues we also keep raising with SASCOC include the need for teams sent to the Olympics to be both competitive, with the potential of returning with medals, as well as representative of our demographics, the Minister said.

aug 5 2021 10:39pm
Sascoc reveals when David Notoane's Olympic soccer squad will be announced

The SA Under-23 squad heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games will be announced on Thursday or Friday, South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) media officer Jessica Choga said on Wednesday.

jul 1 2021 10:14am
sports News : Mixed
Sascoc reveals when David Notoane's Olympic soccer squad will be

The SA Under-23 squad heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games will be announced on Thursday or Friday, South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) media officer Jessica Choga said on Wednesday.

jul 1 2021 10:14am
sports News : Soccer
Sascoc reveals when David Notoane's Olympic soccer squad will be announced

The SA Under-23 squad heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games will be announced on Thursday or Friday, South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) media officer Jessica Choga said on Wednesday.

jun 30 2021 6:09pm
sports News : Soccer
Former Grey High pupil Lubabalo Dobela in SA squad

Former Grey High pupil Lubabalo Dobela has been included in the 17-man preliminary Rugby Sevens squad announced by the South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. The only survivors from the last Olympic Games held in Brazil five years ago are Justin Geduld and Dylan Sage. The experienced Blitzbok duo stood on the podium after Team SA beat Japan in the bronze final and could again meet the same opponents in two warm-up matches to be played in Kagoshima City in July, if they ar...

jun 26 2021 9:38am
sports News : Mixed
Sascoc unveils official kit for team SA ahead of Tokyo Olympic Games

The South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has unveiled the official kit for Team South africa ahead of the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in Japan.

jun 12 2021 10:19pm
sports News : Mixed
Sascoc names athletes to represent SA at Tokyo Olympics

The South african sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Sascoc has announced its first batch of athletes that will represent the country at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with notable omissions for now.

may 28 2021 10:37am
sports News : Mixed
Last opportunity for SA athletes to qualify for Paralympic Games

Athletes are hoping to qualify for the Paralympic Games at the South african sports Association for the Physically Disabled National Championships, taking place in Gqeberha this weekend.

apr 26 2021 11:00am
sports News : Mixed