Fantasy football startup Sleeper nabs VC funding to take on ESPN

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Sleeper is looking to take on fantasy league apps from major players like ESPN and has amassed venture funding from Silicon Valley investors to take down them down.

The Bay Area startup is aiming to treat a fantasy football league more like a social platform than a loose jumble of league mechanics, distinguishing itself as a simple and free, ad-free option.

Sleeper has done limited press as it has been ramping up its apps over the past two seasons, but the team has been courting the interest of investors to scale the product, raising over $7 million from VCs to date. The company closed a $5.3 million Series A late last year led by General Catalyst. In early 2017, the startup also closed a $2 million seed led by Birchmere Ventures with participation from Uber co-founder Garrett Camp’s startup studio Expa.

There isn’t much in terms of monetization options at the moment, CEO Nan Wang tells TechCrunch that the focus right now is “amassing a large base of users and making it the stickiest and highest engagement product in the category.”

Wang says the app’s users spend 50 minutes per day on average during the season, numbers he calls

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