As we’re all too familiar with, Vancouver is home to many Armchair General Managers. With our very own NHL, MLS and CFL teams, us Vancouverites still lack access to teams and leagues that our neighbours to the south enjoy.
PRO Draft League allows its users to create and manage their very own teams through daily and weekly contests hosted on their platform. We caught up with founder and CEO, Mark Tadros who let us into his world of fantasy sports, for real money.
Who are you? Tell us about your business and what inspired you to create it.
I’m the founder and CEO of prodraftleague.com a fantasy sports for real money website. Although we don’t just offer the traditional season long fantasy contests, we’ve also created daily and weekly contests so you can draft a brand new team every single day. I’ve always been a huge sports fan with a passion for the competitive edge of fantasy sports. When I moved to Vancouver in 2011 from Montreal, I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands so I decided to start developing software that would allow people to wager real money on their fantasy teams. Since then it’s snowballed into a premier daily fantasy sports provider on track to take over $1 000 000 USD in wagers this year.
What has been the most challenging part about running this business and how have you addressed it?
Raising money for the business was the biggest challenge. I took time off my day job to travel to Silicon Valley, Las Vegas and New York during 2014, and turns out after thousands of miles and hundreds of hours pitching I would get my first investment from a Vancouver-based Angel.
How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of PRO Draft League?
Teaming up with Victory Square Labs was the best move I ever made. They are a cutting edge group of entrepreneurs focused on creating cool things. Seem like everyone there has a successful project their working on passionately.
What core problem is your company specifically solving and/or what’s the main value you provide?
We are reintroducing online sports wagering in the USA market under a skill based format making it 100 per cent legal
How did you end up becoming an entrepreneur and what challenges did you personally overcome to succeed?
I always knew I wanted to work for myself ever since I was young. I was always told I had a “cavalier” type attitude. When I moved to Vancouver in 2011 it was a great opportunity for a fresh start and I began reinventing myself. Juggling a day job while growing a brand and designing custom software made for very complicated work weeks.
What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
Joe Poulin of LuxuryRetreats.com. I knew Joe since I was about 16 years old before he was famous. The thing I admired the most about him is even after he scaled a $100M web business he was still the same guy I knew growing up.
What Vancouver celebrity/influencer would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Manny Padda, he’s an electrifying entrepreneur with many successful ventures under his belt combined with a wide network of influential contacts around the world. As we begin our international expansion we could really use a guy with his expertise on our team.
If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?
Spend more time focusing your energy on building your future instead of partying.
What are some accessible resources used and winning habits you have developed to learn and grow as an entrepreneur?
Passion and work ethic. They go hand and hand as you truly need to be passionate about your project in order to dedicate the massive amount of hours needed to bring it to life.
What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Never give up. I came very close folding but even when I had no money left and was being forced to close the doors I still kept pushing forward, and at the 12th hour things turned around.
Not happy with the current lineup of your favourite team? Didn’t see the transactions you were hoping for at the trade deadline? Build your own teams with PRO Draft League, and if you’re right, you could win yourself a little bit of cash while you’re at it.
You can follow PRO Draft League on Facebook.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to casey(at)vancitybuzz(dot)com to explain why you’re a fit.