Wall Street loves this time of year almost as much as bonus season.
The fantasy football drafts are over and the trash talk has started.
Thursday night the NFL season kicks off and in 16 weeks some people will have serious bragging rights on the trading floor.
Now, a group of former traders and portfolio managers are hoping to apply a bit of Wall Street know-how to the game with an app called PocketGM.
It’s a one-stop-shop where users can import teams from major fantasy football vendors – such as Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN – into a universal dashboard and get analytics on their teams.
âWall Street inspired our vision,â said company CEO Gustavo âGooseâ Miguel, a former trader and hedge fund manager.
He has noticed that his colleagues play in many different leagues, whether with their clients, brokers, fellow traders, or college buddies.
âI had a front row seat for fantasy football to go viral in the trading floors,â he said. “The fantastic players started with a league, which quickly grew to five to ten, if not more. My vision was not to reinvent the game we all loved, but to simplify the user experience.”
The app offers users the option to play with their existing teams throughout the season, as well as in a daily or weekly format.
Since traders love an edge, the other thing the app provides is Wall Street-style analysis written by a former Bain and Co. consultant.
22 years of fantasy football
Miguel has been playing fantasy football for 22 years. He grew up in Los Angeles, raised by a single father with a passion for math.
As a child, Miguel collected baseball cards. His father had him calculate the value of his card wallet each month using Beckett Baseball Monthly magazine. One day, his father bought him a preview magazine of the 1993 NFL season. Inside there was a full page ad for fantasy football. Together they built Miguel’s list, posted in his lineup, and he got hooked.
“We fell in love with it,” he said. âWhen I went to college I started playing online. I saw fantasy football come from a one-page ad with less than 100,000 participants on the internet. Then it caught fire. on Wall Street and everyone was playing. “
A front row seat
After graduating from Stanford University, Miguel began his career on Wall Street as a trader at Morgan Stanley. He spent 11 years in finance managing a $ 300 million proprietary trading portfolio at the bank before moving to a $ 3 billion hedge fund and later launching a tech hedge fund, the media and telecommunications with legendary investor David Siminoff.
Shortly after joining Morgan Stanley in 2003, he was called to a meeting with some CEOs.
âWhen you’re a first-year analyst, it’s almost impossible to meet a general manager. Once the rumors about my fantasy football background started to spread, a few senior traders approached me: âWe heard a rumor that you have been playing fantasy football for 10 years. Our draft is approaching. Who should we take in the first round? ‘”
There is a lot of pressure to make sure you draft well for the boss, he said. Do it right and you guarantee them 16 weeks of happiness. If you’re wrong, you wouldn’t want to show up for work the next day.
Miguel, 22 at the time, did it right. A top trader at another bank even called Miguel “the Goldman Sachs of fantasy football.”
âFew things in life will put a bigger smile on their face than winning their fantasy football league,â he said.
The PocketGM team
PocketGM launched in early August, just in time for the annual Professional Football Hall of Fame dedication ceremony. In just over a month, the app ranked second in Daily Fantasy Football on the App Store and in the top 10 for eight other categories.
Besides Miguel, the PocketGM team consists of former Bain consultant Jason Chilton, responsible for app content; Will McLellarn, former Goldman Sachs trader, COO of the app; former JPMorgan investment banker and private equity veteran Oz Calvario, app chief financial officer; and former NFL player and Hall of Fame member Ronnie Lott, athlete liaison advisor for the app.
Other athletes involved in the business as âstar playersâ are Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen.
The principal application engineer is Alex Adamson, a mathematical computer science graduate working on his Masters at Stanford.