Fan11 is the first fantasy sports betting application in Ethiopia. Started by two Ethiopian entrepreneurs, it challenges the status quo of sports betting in Ethiopia. By providing a well-designed website and app, Fan11 stands out as more than just sports betting and ventures into interactive football entertainment.
Fantasy football is played by over 12,000 people in Ethiopia alone, and millions worldwide. Popularized in America, fantasy sports lets users create their own team from real-life players and score points depending on their performance. This model changes sports betting for the better. Instead of placing a single bet, with very low odds, Fan11 provides much better chances for winnings and an interactive experience that allows users to be “managers” in their own right.
Fan11 is available on application (downloadable from Play Store) and website at fan11.et. “The application and website took much longer to develop than we expected,” says the co-founder, Barouk Gari. “We planned to launch at the beginning of August, around the time the premier league started, but there were several hurdles, and we didn’t want to put out a product that wasn’t fully ready.” Fan11 is launching with the English Premier League, Champions League, and, more recently, the Ethiopian Premier League.
Barouk and Kidus Kibebew, the co-founders, both went to the United States for University. After College, they both came back to Ethiopia to find the next Entrepreneurial endeavor. “Ethiopia is changing its stance on new businesses, Kidus says. “With the recent upgrades in the Telecom sector, the internet is not as expensive anymore, and that means, Online businesses like ours can operate and provide products that people want.” “We want Fan11 to be the first thing people think about when talking football. “You can open your application and keep up with the players you have picked. It makes Football much more interesting as a sport when you have invested interest in several players across different teams.”
Sports betting in Ethiopia has become a huge industry in only a few years. Since the laws legalizing sports betting/gambling came into place, a lot of clone businesses emerged, offering more or less the same thing. Money. Although the winners are heard few and far between, gambling companies like Hulusport and Vamos are opening branches around towns across Ethiopia. What Fan11 tries to do is direct this football-loving population to a site that doesn’t profit from their user’s loss. “In Fan11, it’s a win-win! In fact, we encourage you to win” says Barouk. With Fan11, users compete against each other, with the winners taking the pot, there is no incentive to discourage winners while all the other sports betting businesses profit from the user’s loss.
Fan11 launches its application and website on Saturday, November 23, at Addis Sports bar, located next to Kaleb Hotel. People can enter a free fantasy competition and get a chance to win 5000 birr. With live music by Lady Hash and free amenities, it is bound to be an enjoyable time.