A love of sports and a meeting with Berry were the catalysts
It was Friday, October 19, 2018, when the Cleveland Browns traded running back Carlos Hyde to the Jacksonville Jaguars and users of the free Fantasy Life app were alerted to the news almost as fast as Hyde.
The knowledge allowed smart players to make a move to pick-up backup Browns running back Nick Chubb, who finished the season with 996 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns and made some owners a lot of money.
It's that type of split-second gathering of news that's made the Fantasy Life app a hit with users and what attracted CEO Yasin Abbak to the business after a fortuitous introduction to ESPN Fantasy expert, and app co-founder, Matthew Berry.
Abbak had operational and production experience and "Matthew had experience and exposure," Abbak said in a recent phone interview. "He is also one of the leading voices in fantasy. We made a great pairing."
Said Berry in a press release: “We wanted to create a powerful breaking news engine, combined with an engaged community, to help fantasy sports players and sports bettors alike make faster and more informed decisions."
Abbak had always been a sports fan growing up in New Jersey – he had Nets season tickets when any win was like a fantasy – and had been playing fantasy sports for years.
Fantasy Life allows him to combine his love of sports and business into a product aimed at reaching the tens of millions of Fantasy and Daily Fantasy players in North America. The timely news alerts also make the app useful for the sports bettor, particularly when it comes to futures.
"But Fantasy Life isn't only alerts," he said. "We also offer functional reports and a community for people who want to give advice."
And smack talk?
"Sometimes smack talk is advice," he said, adding that most users on the site are more into talking sports than smack, especially to people they don't know. There are also community standards and automated moderation and getting flagged too often for violating the rules could lead to a 7-day time out.
Fantasy Life investors include MLB All-Stars Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria, David Price and Adam Wainwright, NASCAR driver Kyle Busch, and Atlanta Hawks part-owner Jesse Itzler.
The goal now is "acquiring users and retaining them," Abbak said, "and we're doing that incredibly well. The other goal is to continue improving the product and providing value to our user base. We'll soon be expanding our coverage to cover basketball and baseball in 2020.
"We monitor thousands of content sources every day and sift through their data points so our users don't have to," Abbak said. "And we do that for free."
Draft day is coming, people. Don't you want all the help you can get?
The free Fantasy Life app is available on iOS & Android from the App Store, Google Play, or at fantasylifeapp.com.