Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, former President of StubHub and Founding Venture Partner at Acrew Capital, *AND* John Vitti CEO VersusGame to discuss VersusGame's latest funding round.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Now let's put your money where your mouth is-- betting on real world events. There is an app out there that you're going to want to pay attention to, VersusGame. And to help us explain what they do and why they were just able to raise another $6 million, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, the former president of StubHub and a founding venture partner at Acrew Capital is here, as well as John Vitti, CEO VersusGame. So John, let me start with you first. Tell me what VersusGame is because I'm somewhat of a Luddite.
JOHN VITTI: No, of course, and it's a luxury to be here. Thank you for everyone's time. Before we do that, I just want to let everyone on this call and everyone in the world know that whenever you get from point A to point B, when you're driving around, it's because of Sukhinder. She started Google Maps. Just want to throw props out there to her. Let's get right to that.
But yeah, VersusGame, it's a prediction game where you get paid if you're right. So knowledge should be rewarded, right? We're all consuming so much content out there. Why not get rewarded for it? You might have thought Airbnb is a crazy idea, or Megan Thee Stallion is going to win the Grammys, or GME is going to do something in the stock market, right? So usually, you don't get rewarded for that. Why not?
SEANA SMITH: Sukhinder, what attracted you to VersusGame?
SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY: I just love the simplicity of this idea. Simple, easy app where you can bet on any question in sports, culture, media, entertainment. And when we think about what people want to do, I think that both the notion of gaming and betting, you know, and having competitions for your knowledge, we see that everywhere. But I think John and his team have encapsulated it so simply inside the VersusGame app, and I just love that.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Sukhinder, let me first thank you for Google Maps because I remember when that disaster [INAUDIBLE] Apple Map first launched, and I still won't use it. But in regards to the investments you've made, I'm going to go back 16 years. I remember when they first started talking about legalized national gaming. And it still hasn't happened at the federal level in the way that the industry wanted. But it seems as if it doesn't need to. Are there obstacles that would prohibit this app to grow? I mean, federal regulation, or is that now out of the way?
SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY: Well, I'm going to leave it to the expert, our CEO of Versus, getting to talk about these issues. What I can tell you is the idea of knowledge-based games I think is a very powerful one and one that consumers want to do. You know, and so I think being able to enable that in obviously a fair and open way is really critical. I think I'll let John speak to whether or not he sees any issues on the regulatory side.
JOHN VITTI: Yeah, Sukhinder's right. I mean, this-- we are pioneering this space. People have been doing it since day one. We can't help it. It's fun for us. So we went about creating something that's fair and fun for the masses. We are classified as a skill-based game. So we don't need licenses. We don't need any of that where someone like a DraftKings might need that. We kind of fall under the regulations as skills, which just went public for, like, $11 billion, so congratulations to them. So, yeah, we are really smooth sailing, just letting people do what they already do in a fair, fun way for everybody.
SEANA SMITH: John, when you raised money during this round, it was an invite-only exclusive funding round, I believe. Why did you go this route? Why does that make sense?
JOHN VITTI: You know, it's funny. It's kind of-- our whole app is a very inclusive experience. But this round, the people you want on your cap table in your family is very important to grow the team. The people are the biggest asset you have. It's the most valuable thing. And so, we didn't let anybody in unless they were referred to by one of our other legendary investors and that they can create a tremendous amount of value. So it was really important for us to get the right people around the table.
ADAM SHAPIRO: So, John, I am curious-- $55 million valuation right now. At what point do you become the kind of app like FanDuel, where we all know exactly when someone says VersusGame, we know exactly what they're talking about?
JOHN VITTI: I think that's on track to happen in the next 12 months. I think this is going to be a really big year for us. We are becoming more of a household name. We're considered more deeper inside of the user lifestyle. Users are spending around 9 to 11 minutes per session on our app. And they're playing multiple times a week. And now they're actually creating their own games and sharing it with their friends.
And they're getting paid for that, right? So it's not only just answering the questions and playing the game, but now you get to see user-generated economy, user-generated content. Right? So now they can go and create their own and share it with friends. So it's a matter of time where everything's on Versus. Whatever's happening in the universe will end up on Versus.
SEANA SMITH: And John, I like this idea. Right now, you have just over seven million users, I believe, actively using your platform as of January. What do you hope that number looks like? And this kind of goes back to Adam's growth question. But a year from now, what do you want that number to look like? And then how do you plan to attract that broader audience, besides just the word from mouth, like you were talking about?
JOHN VITTI: Yeah, I think, you know, we're mostly interested in getting the right people and influencers. And that trickles down eventually to the general public, like, people like me that have no friends and popularity, just getting out there, getting on the app. That's really the key. But the first step to that is partnering up with the right corporate partners and the right celebrities and influencers. And we're on our way there.
And so we're really focused around getting the right hosts or creators on board. They're the ones that have all the following, that have the fresh ideas and content. And, you know, the referrals--
ADAM SHAPIRO: OK.
JOHN VITTI: --is just--
ADAM SHAPIRO: John Vitti, I got to interrupt you. I think the control room is trying to tell me is President Biden speaking at this point. OK, I apologize for interrupting you, but we've got to take a break because we do have the president coming up. So John Vitti, CEO of VersusGame, thank you. Sukhinder Cassidy, all the best to both of you. And we're going to keep an eye on that podium because we are waiting for President Biden to lay out the $2 plus trillion infrastructure plan.