Derby Games

Mobile Platform for Legal Gambling

Company Information





New York, NY

Derby Games is making online gambling available to everyone in the U.S.

Its platform enables users to safely, legally place bets at more than 100 race tracks across the country. And as betting on football, basketball, and other sports becomes legal on a federal level, Derby Games aims to create the ultimate gambling platform.

By 2022, online gambling is projected to become a $1 trillion market. In 2019, total online wagers are expected to reach $700 billion.

In New Jersey, which recently legalized sports betting, residents are projected to bet more than $4 billion this year. And Pennsylvania saw more than $100 million gambled online in just its first month of legalized betting.

The problem is that safe, legal online gambling isn’t available for much of the U.S. Only 13 states have legalized sports betting. As a result, an estimated $380 billion is bet on the “black market” each year.

As more people turn to online gambling, there’s a need for a platform where users can participate in online games and place safe bets.

Derby Games provides such a platform. Here's how it works:

Users simply create an account, then select a race from Derby Games’ list of offerings.

Wagers are sent to the racetrack’s betting “pool” and winnings are instantly credited to a user’s account. Winnings can be withdrawn by check, bank transfer, or PayPal.

Derby Games doesn’t just offer a way to place bets on horse racing. In addition, the platform “gamifies” the betting experience through its offerings. Current offerings include:

• Derby Jackpot: The company’s flagship offering, this is a social game for betting on live horse races that includes additional features like slot machines and playing cards.

• Derby Lotto: This enables players to place bets on large racing-based jackpots. As the company says, “If you know how to buy a lottery ticket, you can play Derby Lotto.”

• Derby Elite: This is suited for users looking for a traditional wagering platform.

• Derby Practice: Users can purchase virtual currency and practice making bets before moving on to the real thing.

Derby Games has a partnership with Xpressbet, a leader in the gaming industry, and PayPal. This helps ensure bets are kept secure, and provides an added level of security for users.

Derby Games earns a 20% commission on each wager, win or lose. Additional revenue comes from virtual currency purchases for the platform’s “practice mode.”

Future revenue streams will include monetizing its database with other gambling verticals such as the Super Bowl, World Cup, and March Madness.

Derby Games spends approximately $50 to acquire each paying customer, using Facebook and direct mailings as marketing tools. Each customer’s lifetime value is $200.

Users have placed more than $75 million in total bets through Derby Games. The company has 600,000 users, including more than 35,000 funded accounts.

In 2018, Derby Games generated $2.4 million in revenue, and was cash flow positive.

The company has been featured in ESPN, Forbes, and Bloomberg. It also completed a $6.1 million Series A funding round, which included investments from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Bullpen Capital, and Andlinger & Company.

Team Background

Tom Hessert - Founder & CEO

Before starting Derby Games, Tom was a divisional planner for Urban Outfitters (Nasdaq: URBN), a clothing retailer. While there, he ran e-commerce operations for a $180 million division.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Notre Dame.

Eric Gay - Chief Technology Officer

In addition to his role with Derby Games, Eric runs his own software consulting business.

Before joining Derby Games, he was Director of Software Engineering at Willow Hotels, a hotel chain. He was also a senior software engineer with Overpeer, an e-commerce and promotions platform that was later acquired by Nokia.

Eric began his career as a software engineer with

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Ohio University.

Cole Baker - President

Cole has been with Derby Games since 2014.

Prior to that, he was a production assistant with NFL Media, working with producers to generate on-air content.

He began his career as a public administration analyst for CRESST, a research center affiliated with UCLA that focuses on the education industry.

Cole earned a Bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College.


Bullpen Capital

A VC firm that’s invested in successful early-stage companies including FanDuel, Life360, and Mango Health.