Ade*, a young man who lived in the hinterland of Ogun State—a southwestern Nigerian state, received a phone call from the CEO of a leading sports betting company during the Yuletide. It was a congratulatory call. Ade had won ₦24 million with ₦1,500 bet.
The growth of Nigerian sports betting industry is fuelled by a combination of hope, passion for sports (football), a get-rich-quick mindset and the use of mobile technology by betting companies (AKA bookmakers). There are 28 sports betting companies in Lagos alone, according to the Lagos State Lotteries Board.
There is money in sports betting no doubt, but that money does not go round. Because if every punter wins, bookmakers won't make money. So, sports betting companies ensure they have the last laugh. For every Ade, there are over a million punters losing money. And publicizing big wins is how bookmakers keep losing-bettors hopeful and to believe in the gambler’s fallacy.
What if there was an alternative? A gaming platform without the negative baggage of sports betting? Osi Iyizoba, co-founder and CEO of Fantastic Technologies Limited, believes he and his team have found the answer with their free-to-play gaming platform called Fantastic.
Our platform, which is all about the fans—hence the name fantastic, gives users an experience similar to sports betting and rewards them without requiring any payment from them.
How does fantastic.ng work?
There are three ways to use fantastic.ng:
- Football Manager: A daily fantasy football game similar to the FPL (Fantasy Premier League). You select your 11-man team within a budget and compete against other users' team. The football manager on the platform currently hosts weekly contests featuring games from the the EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and Champions league.
- Predict & Win: This is the popular form of gaming for most football fans. You correctly predict outcome of a match and win a prize.
- Sports Quiz: This option will be launched soon, according to Osi. It will allow users to answer different sports-based trivia questions and the user with the highest score wins.
Fantastic.ng model is quite different from the typical sports betting company. The initial idea, Osi explained to benjamindada.com, was to develop an ad-supported platform and allow users to play for free. He said, "While building the platform, we talked to several blue-chip consumer goods companies that are heavily invested in football and we received great feedback."
However, when the platform was finally launched, they pivoted to a freemium model that allows users to play for free or buy ₦100 token to access premium games with higher rewards.
The more intriguing aspect of fantastic.ng is that, unlike other platforms, users are not directly rewarded with cash. Instead, they receive a digital currency called Fan Coins (FCs). These FCs are then used in the Fan Shop to purchase different items, including airtime, food, phones, laptops, and cash. Users don't only get FCs for playing games, they are also rewarded for engaging with the platform by watching videos, filling surveys, and daily logins.
On our platform, the only reward is [Fan] Coins. It is these Coins that can be used to get anything from the Fan Shop. Our Fan Shop is like a marketplace where users trade their Coins for valuable items and we are always updating the Shop with items we believe our fans [users] will love and appreciate.
Meet the Fantastic Team
Fantastic Technologies Limited was co-founded by Osi Iyizoba (CEO), Ugo Asuzu (CTO), Wonuola Okoye, and Felix Okoye (Director of Strategy).
Prior to starting Fantastic Tech, Osi had worked with CSL Stockbrokers Limited as a Margin Trading Executive. And the CTO, Ugo, has over 10 years of experience working in the IT department of companies in the consumer goods and power sector.
Future plans: 2020 and beyond
The fantastic plan of Fantastic Technologies is to build the largest online sports community in Africa by leveraging the overwhelming passion for sports and gaming on the continent, according to Fantastic Technologies CEO, Osi.
The three-year-old startup is currently raising a seed round that would enable them to grow their team and introduce new features, such as sport news, private contest, fan forums and new games on the platform.
*Not real name