Jarrod Holbrook is building the next generation of fantasy sports games.
His team, HD Fantasy Sports, is ready to add a little reality – and excitement – to the world of fantasy sports. By incorporating high-definition, real-time video, Holbrook plans to enhance game-player interaction and take trash talking among players to a whole new level.
“I think the current sites have done a good job with fantasy games, and they offer great content,” he said. “But when it comes to interaction for the game players, I see a pretty big hole.”
New business ventures inherently involve some risk, but Holbrook, 36, believes he’s looking at good odds: The hole that he sees happens to be in a market that is thriving. In spite of – and perhaps, due to – the shaky economy, the fantasy sports industry is gaining momentum; it currently boasts approximately 34 million players and continues to experience growth.
Holbrook, a TV news reporter from Boston, was working on a separate project when he came up with his team’s idea.
“There was a fantasy football show on TV at the time. I realized the video technology I was using for my project could fill the void in fantasy sports,” he explained.
Holbrook said the vast majority of fantasy sports players are male, but the percentage of female players has doubled in recent years. One of those ladies is Meghan Vincent, the team’s marketing and communications director.
Vincent, 29, grew up playing fantasy sports with her dad. While she has no trouble navigating the male-dominated fantasy sports industry, she said the startup world requires some strategic thinking.
“It’s such an exciting space to be in,” Vincent said of entrepreneurship. “With any startup, you do have to find creative ways to do more with fewer resources.”
When facing those challenges, Vincent falls back on her business experience: She previously has been involved with multiple startups, and she’s currently working fulltime at a management consulting firm while pursuing her MBA at Boston College.
Similarly, Holbrook said he relies on his background in journalism to keep his team from getting sidelined.
“Reporters live in an adapt-and-overcome environment. You have to be able to multitask and stay focused under high pressure – those skills apply directly to entrepreneurship,” Holbrook said.
Participating in the GigTank doesn’t hurt, either.
“I felt in my gut that the GigTank was the accelerator we needed to pursue,” Holbrook said. “There’s an energy and excitement among the people here. The resources they’ve given us have gone way beyond our expectations.”