FanDuel hires the team from Zynga's sports division

Steven Loeb · May 22, 2015 · Short URL:

FanDuel will be opening its first office in Orlando to accommodate the new hires

You know what they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Earlier this month Zynga, while announcing its first quarter earnings, also revealed that it was going to be cutting its workforce by a drastic 18%, of 364 people in all, in order to reduce costs. One victim of that purge was Sports 365, Zynga's sports category that it had introduced less a year earlier, in August 2014.

Don't feel too bad for the team, though, as they have now found a new home with FanDuel

The fantasy sports company has hired 38 of the 42 employees that had been working on Zynga’s sports vertical, it has been confirmed to VatorNews.

Not only that, but the company is also going to open its first office in Orlando just to accommodate those new employees.

"We will be opening an office in Orlando, we're going to actively recruit throughout the area as there is significant talent in the sports tech field there, and this is going to help us more than double headcount this year," a spokesperson for FanDuel told me. The company currently employs 125 people, according to its website. 

Zynga's foray into sports was so short-lived that it only released one game in the category, called NFL Showdown, which just happened to be a fantasy football game. So, given that experience, it makes sense for FanDuel to be interested in hiring this team.

"The team also worked at EA sports prior to that, where they worked worked on  Tiger Woods PGA Tour and on Madden, so they have really incredible insights when it comes to sports tech," the spokesperson said. "When we were looking at our product roadmap, where was a lot of alignment, and they will be highly complimentary to what we are trying to do."

As for what exactly the team will be working on, that seems to be up in the air at the moment. The company is still "mapping out the strategy and investing in the core product," and the new team will be a "big part of delivering new features to users."

The New York-based FanDuel provides fantasy sports leagues that last just a single day, so players can play, and collect their winnings, sooner rather than having to wait an entire season. Players pay an entry fee for each contest in order to win cash prizes awarded to the player whose team generates the most fantasy points.

The company hosts fantasy leagues in sports that include football, baseball, hockey, basketball, college football and college basketball.

Founded in 2009, FanDuel has been seeing "rapid growth" over the past year. It has over 12,000 leagues open every day, with over $10 million in real cash prizes paid out every week. The company says that it now represents 65% of the daily and weekly fantasy sports market.  In 2014 the company paid out more than $560 million to users and generated $57 million in revenue.

It also boasts partnerships with brands that include Yahoo, ESPN, CBS, NBC and the Orlando Magic.

The company has raised $88 million in venture capital, including a $70 million round in September of last year. Investors include Shamrock Capital, NBC Sports Ventures, KKR participating and existing investors Comcast Ventures, Pentech Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Scottish Enterprise, and Richard Koch.

 This news was first reported by Re/Code on Friday.

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Hubdub Ltd is a VC funded start-up based in Edinburgh and San Francisco that aims to be the world’s largest developer of premium social games for sports fans. Its main product, FanDuel, transforms traditional fantasy sports ($1bn, 30m people market) into an instant gratification daily game where users win cash prizes every day. It is played on, via white label partners such as, and in future on Facebook and mobile.



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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit

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