Jason Robins, 34
Robins and two friends created DraftKings in 2012 to provide an alternative to season-long fantasy football. Three years later, the company has raised $375 million in funding and boasts a valuation close to $1.5 billion. The company is on a tear: It’s struck marketing mega-deals with Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, NASCAR and UFC, as well as an exclusive partnership with ESPN. It’s bought up two smaller competitors (Draftstreet and StarStreet) as the daily fantasy industry explodes. Nowhere is the marketing assault more apparent than in the company’s hometown of Boston, where there is a massive “DraftKings Fantasy Sports Zone” at Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft is an investor, too). DraftKings, suddenly, is everywhere—but so is FanDuel, its biggest competitor. The two are in an arms race for team partnerships and new users. Robins, a lifelong sports nerd, is unfazed, betting on his company’s technology and wider array of sports. This year, DraftKings will pay out more than $1 billion in total prize money. Is all of this gambling? Robins says no, and the law in most places calls it a “game of skill.” Five states disagree.
Read more about Jason Robins in “This man is blowing up fantasy sports.“