Cameron MacMillan
Cameron MacMillan (BSAc '07, MSE '09)

We Are Warrington | Leading the way in fantasy sports

In this episode of the We Are Warrington podcast, alumnus Cameron MacMillan (BSAc ’07, MSE ’09), Co-Founder and COO of, a daily fantasy sports website that was acquired in 2019 for $35 million, discusses the fantasy sports industry, staying focused and inspired when starting something new, the Warrington master's in entrepreneurship program, and much more with host Andy Lord.

Andy Lord

Andy Lord

Andy Lord: Thanks for carving out some time. I know you gotta get to the gym here, I think.

Cameron MacMillan: It’s almost 2 o’clock Central. You know my schedule.

Lord: Yeah, it is.

‘We Are Warrington’ is a new podcast that helps young business leaders discover what is possible by highlighting stories from the Warrington College of Business Community about the University of Florida experience, business industry insights, innovative research, and more. I’m your host, Andy Lord.

Today, I’m speaking with Cameron MacMillan. Cameron is the Co-Founder and COO of RotoGrinders, a daily fantasy sports website that was acquired in 2019 for 35 million. The company has also been honored in the Gator100 twice. Cameron has two degrees from Warrington, starting out with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2007, and then he went on to earn his Master of Science in Entrepreneurship in 2009. Cameron, welcome. Thanks for joining us. How you been holding up lately?

MacMillan: Hey Andy, thanks for having me. We’re doing great. Making it through the tough 2020 times. Excited to be here.

Lord: Gotcha. You got a big game this weekend with Vandy. You said you’re ready to go, huh?

MacMillan: Yeah, I’m ready to watch Kyle Trask continuous his Heisman run and the Gators get back into national title contention with a hopefully easy win versus Vanderbilt here in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

Lord: Gotcha, how are you liking NashVegas?

MacMillan: Nashville has treated me amazing, I have nothing but great things to say. I moved up here two days after getting married during starting up a company mode in 2014 from Orlando, Florida. My two business partners went to Vanderbilt, which is why we moved up here and opened an office, and it’s done nothing but treat me great, and there’s a surprising number of Gator fans here.

Lord: We like to hear that. So, 2020. It’s been kinda crazy for a lot of folks that are out there. Some might say having negative times, you just mentioned to me earlier that maybe you’re taking advantage of this time at home and doing a little remodeling at the office?

MacMillan: We’re working with our landlords best we can to keep the office presence going. So, we’ve decided to use this downtime when no one can be in the office due to COVID to remodel, and we’re building out a new studio for all our 8 to 10 podcasts, our SiriusXM relationships, our live TV shows. We’re gonna have that in office now, which is really cool, and we’re implementing since we got acquired by Better Collective, they have a different color theme than us, so we’re implementing it. It’s gonna be much fancier than when we were running the office.

Lord: Gotcha. Alright, so before we get into your company and what’s going on professionally, let’s go ahead and rewind the clock a little bit. Maybe you could tell our listeners where you’re from, and how you end up at the University of Florida and getting into business school here?

MacMillan: Sure. Yeah, those questions have a lot of overlap as I was born in Gainesville, Florida. My father was an Orthopedic surgeon at Shands Hospital, which is what brought me there, went to Gainesville Country Day School Martha Manson, Kanapaha Middle School way back in the day. So, going to a different university never really was an option for me. The only university I, I would end up going to high school in Orlando, but it was the only university I applied to and considered.

Lord: Understand. So, you decided on an accounting degree, how did you come to that conclusion?

MacMillan: Yeah, that’s a good question. So I was, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, I got a little bit of that inspiration by the age of 18 because my father was opening some gyms, like personal training studios on the side. It’s kinda like his real side passion outside of being a doctor. You think everyone would be fully satisfied being a doctor, but I definitely saw in my dad’s eye that entrepreneurial passion for the side business. So, I was helping him run that, I was doing our books, the QuickBook, setting up QuickBooks at 18, for the business, and I understood, started to understand the importance of.

The thought process was, A, I’ll be able to use. Every business needs accounting, so I’ll be able to apply the skills to my business. And B, in my eyes, I was at least instructed that accounting was one of the tougher, or if not toughest degrees in the business, and I said, “Hey, I’m gonna shoot for the top.” ‘Cause it was super competitive back then, and if I don’t do well, which in a lot of areas I didn’t, I had other options to fall back on.

But the short is, I kinda got caught up in wanting to get good grades, wanting to go through the career path, and I kind of a little bit lost my entrepreneurial drive in the early college years, and it was my last semester of accounting and kinda clicked again. like, “Wait, what am I doing?” Nothing against accounting, but I lost my entrepreneurial vision, and I kinda opted not to go to the fifth year of accounting and to change my course.

Lord: Understand. So, moving into entrepreneurship, and clearly that was on the brain, did you have it all fully vetted out before entering that program, or did you find the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship really helped you kind of, I guess shape your ideas?

MacMillan: Yeah, that. So, as I alluded to, I feel like I was a little bit lost at that point in time. I even had a professor tell me as much to my face at one point. Going to college is fun. I got caught up in the social life, I got caught up in the football games every weekend, and it was so good, you don’t wanna leave. So, I came in very motivated to start companies, but I really enjoyed the social aspect there, got a little distracted, and around my senior year, I was like, oh man, I need to get refocused. I know accounting’s not personally, now I know it’s not a good fit for me. It’s just not my personality type.

So, the year is 2007 then which I’m sure graduates now can relate to 2020. That was kind of like the last recession. It wasn’t easy to get, is as easy as it was in some years to get a job. So, I had a little downtime, I started working at a startup local startup real estate company. I wasn’t fully happy working in a typical nine to five role. I kinda was just doing it to pass the time and figure out what I wanted to do. Was branching out, trying things in different areas, and I crossed paths with Jamie Kraft during that time, the director, at that time the director of entrepreneurship, at Gainesville Health and Fitness. He told me about at that time it was a relatively new program.

I think we were, I was in the third class, and so I viewed that as an opportunity to go back to my entrepreneurial passionate and use the class as a time period to regain my focus and really just go all in and take that entrepreneurial leap.

Lord: There you go. With that being said, you were in the program. When did you come up with, I guess the idea of RotoGrinders? Was that in the program or did you have the sports industry or fantasy sports industry on your brain?

MacMillan: So, one of the things I tell people is most valuable gained out of the program for me was networking. It allowed, I was going, it was an overlap of a lot of passions. At that time, I was, fantasy football was still pretty nascent, daily fantasy football didn’t exist, but I was really passionate about the analytics portion of that, and I was building out spreadsheet using the accounting skills of building out spreadsheet models of a player projections. Which nowadays everyone you see on ESPN, you see on TV, you see everywhere. So, I was building player projection models for fun.

That led me to I was also playing online poker using my math skills, and that led me to meet two my business partners who are, were had started a similar community site for online poker. And at that time, we’re starting a new site for season-long fantasy football, and kind of my analytical mindset for it at that time when it wasn’t as mainstream as it was really got their attention, we started talking and just down streaming mindsets.

So, we kind of hit it off, and that’s how I met my business partners. We started at that time that they had started a season-long site that I kind of joined in that didn’t last too long, went out of business, but that led seeing the opportunity of FanDuel coming along in 2009 and us trying to get ahead of the curve of this daily fantasy boom that could be happening.

Lord: Understand. So, reflecting on your days in the entrepreneurship program as a student is there anything that stands out maybe a particular class or any of the experience throughout that track of earning that degree?

MacMillan: Yeah, I mean one of the… I’d really loved the first impression that was made through the creativity class. Everyone’s always nervous their first day of class, you never know what you’re gonna get when you show up show up for this creativity class day one you get in groups, teamwork, work with your group. You’re given a hundred dollars to go out and create a mini business venture. And whoever turns out a hundred dollars into the most money gets to donate it to the charity of their choice.

So, I just think that it was like, man this is so not traditional. I’ve never done anything like this the first day of class probably dating back to like middle school or elementary school and it’s called creativity on it. So, I feel like that really set the tone for not fearing failure. It encompassed teamwork, the financial aspects, the fear of getting out there and doing something in front of someone, but I just felt like that one, that’s a memory for me that really set the tone for the whole program.

Lord: Gotcha, what would you do with that 100 bucks?

MacMillan: I think our group, I don’t think we did that great if I remember. Well, if I could go back, I feel like we would’ve done something different but we, I feel like we were in contention. It was decent idea.

Lord: There you go. Overall, just for the listeners, can you speak of you know about maybe the overall value of the MSC program? I know you’ve mentioned a couple of nuggets and how that really shaped, where you’re heading and that stuff, but maybe for somebody that’s considering the program, what would you tell them about it?

MacMillan: Being told it’s okay to quote or study this, alleviated a little bit of like the pressure from your parents of like this is isn’t you being just crazy and reckless and going out and starting a company, like a lot of people. And I think it’s becoming more prevalent, but we’re all raised with go down the education route, get a job.

So, it alleviates a little bit of like parental pressure and also, your buddies just saying, you’re crazy, what are you doing? And that’s still happen once you start any company. And I quickly got over that, and that was a fear of failure I had, just a fear I had to personally addressed but it allowed me to personally get rid of those and just fully focus on executing the business concepts.

Lord: That’s awesome. Thanks a lot, Cameron. And we’re gonna go ahead and take a quick break and we’ll be back with more from Cameron in a minute.

Lord: The Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science and Entrepreneurship Program is where the principle and practice of entrepreneurship seamlessly intersect. This one-year intensive program equips promising entrepreneurs with the skills and survey to plan, launch, and sustain innovative ventures on their terms. Three-piece suits and old school methods are not the norm here, big ideas and bold confidence are our prerequisites. Whether you wanna gain expertise to launch your own business or build your knowledge to innovate an existing business. This University of Florida, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship can help you do so. Learn more about pursuing your master’s degree in entrepreneurship at the link in this episode’s description, or at Again, it’s

Lord: All right, let’s get back to what we briefly touched on before we took a break, the fantasy sports industries. For listeners who are unfamiliar, Cameron, can you describe this industry, maybe tell us a little bit about how it works?

MacMillan: Absolutely. In 2009 daily fantasy emerged. It was definitely tied at a little bit directly to the online poker industry. Online poker was something, that was very prevalent when I was in college around that time, but that was run offshore and in other countries, and when there was a wire act that made online poker illegal, it kind of actually showed and gave people the light of, hey, this doesn’t this doesn’t specify that you can’t wage your money on fantasy sports. So, it was a carve out for fantasy sports, essentially.

So, people kind of ran with it, and that was where we saw the opportunity and other sites like at that time FanDuel was the second site to come along, then said, why not Instead of playing over the course of a whole season, we’ll play daily. And so that would mean you just play for cash for NFL week three and week three only instead of having to draft the team for the whole season. And it started out slow, the sides didn’t have a ton of funding there wasn’t revenue coming in, but I think it was like 2011, 2012 a site called DraftStreet came around. That has since been acquired by DraftKings, and I remember we received our first like re, what I’d call a real check for them.

And I started two companies at this point, so my time was being split up and I was like, okay, now we’re onto something. And then we saw more sites come into the space. So many sites by the time draft games came along who most people know nowadays, they were like the 20th site we worked with and we probably worked with 60 different daily fantasy operators over the timeframe, only FanDuel draft games really prevailed, and which is a mini lesson in entrepreneurship in another self.

So, we just grew with the industry, we, and that was our whole business strategy, was first mover advantage to get out of the front, and if this industry takes off and we’re gonna be the leading media and content provider for it. So, we’re kind of like the ESPN or Barstool for this niche industry of daily fantasy sports. And it became a massive billion-dollar industry, and we were able to have the leading podcasts were on SiriusXM, online TV shows, content provider, and we have a large subscription revenue as we build analytics and tools for the players in this industry.

Lord: There you go, appreciate that. You mentioned maybe some trials and tribulations running two companies simultaneously one takes off. Maybe you can reflect on that on what that grind was like. It seems like there was about five years post-graduation you get to this point, I guess preparation for something like that if you even can be prepared or what is kind of just driving that whole motivation to keep going.

MacMillan: I guess the simplest way to explain my strategy at that point at the age of 25 was the old adage is for every 10 startups, only one succeeds. And obviously I believe there’s some control element there depending on the quality of entrepreneur involved but let’s say that’s on average. And then the other factor at play was I don’t mind working 90 to a hundred hours a week now, I don’t mind not having a ton of sleep, but I know I’m gonna mind at some point. I know by the time I have kids, and then my forties is that I’m not gonna be able to do that.

Lord: So, what are you saying about me, Cameron? What are you saying about me? You say I’m slowing down a little bit here?

MacMillan: Hey, this isn’t targeting. I didn’t even make it to 40 before I slowed down, we’ll get to that. The whole strategy was hey, I can burn the candle at both ends right now. I wouldn’t recommend most people do two companies at once, but I wanted to do it to increase my chances of success If only one in 10 are successful I’m gonna do two, start two at once. And frankly, I’m a big fan of the Richard Branson quote opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming. I think there’s a ton of opportunity out there, but you also can’t time opportunity. Right?

So, I graduated and for like eight months, I didn’t have any ideas that I was passionate about working on. It wasn’t, it didn’t mean I wasn’t trying, or it wasn’t seeking them out, it’s just, they just weren’t there. And it just happened that one of my classmates in entrepreneurship program Joey Sasvari, came to me with the idea for Raise the Village, which is on the opposite end of the spectrum of sports betting and that’s a social game for social good that helped to villages in Africa. So, we spent time in Uganda, we built a game that reached top 10 overall free apps in the app store, and in that you, it was kind of like farm bill instead of buying a tractor for your farm you’d buy a mosquito net for your village, and that would actually help donate a mosquito net in real life. We’d take a picture of it being delivered and send it back to your phone. So, these are two very different projects which I like, and they were both just huge game-changing project.

And that’s what captivated me was the vision for both, and in working with Joey during that entrepreneurship program, I was researching the Toms shoes as one of my main course projects which overlaps greatly with that business concept. So, he kind of had this idea, we brainstorm it, went back and forth and it became this big idea of becoming like Toms Shoes for video games. Nothing, it’s not like there weren’t ideas before that and or RotoGrinders, but they just happened to come across my desk if you will, within a month of each other. And they were two that I couldn’t say no to.

So, the timing, I don’t know it wasn’t like intended to start two companies at once, but I was all in, I was in the entrepreneurship program, I’m seeking out ideas, I’m seeking out opportunities, I’m seeking out business partners and researching investible markets, and those were the two that I landed in as being the most upside, the most game-changing, and they just really caught my passion I was just really all in on both.

Lord: That’s great. Absolutely two sides of the coin on social entrepreneurship. Did you happen to have a class regarding that while you were here? Did you take any of that?

MacMillan: Oh yeah. And I just spoke with her class Professor Joys.

Lord: Yes.

MacMillan: Who’s still at University of Florida. Big, big fan. We, I spoke in her class at the age of 25. I spoke in her class last month. So yeah, I’m really big into social entrepreneurship. I stay in touch with the P4H group run by Bertrude who I’m big fan of, and definitely still have a lot of passion and interest in those areas, and I think there’s a lot of great opportunity at UF if you wanted to steer that route.

Lord: I agree. Fantastic, thanks for sharing that. Right now, back to what you’re doing here, fantasy sports we’re in the second half of the NFL season now. What are the biggest takeaways from the season that you could share?

MacMillan: Biggest takeaway is that, hey, from a business standpoint we’re glad there is a season. It was very close there during COVID it’s very nerve wracking having, we have 150 employees and contractors across North America who depend on their livelihood and their income based on us being able to run this business.

So, my main focus was preservation of jobs during COVID and when there’s no sports running that was gonna be very difficult to, for us to do so until the PPP loan was announced by the us government, we were looking at potential our first round of layoffs and over a decade, never had to do layoffs before, it was the worst feeling ever. So, I’m really just grateful that we have sports, and we, and good minds came together to find a way to run them safely. So, I think that’s where we’re at right now.

Lord: Gotcha, was gonna ask you how COVID-19 impacted the fantasy sports industries other than maybe what’s happening with your company but what do you see all around the industry?

MacMillan: I think the coolest thing that came to see there’s nothing cool during 2020 and COVID.

Lord: Sure.

MacMillan: But the coolest thing that came in our industry to see was the creativity that people came up with to make things work, and just the desire for sports. I always said, when starting this company, I wouldn’t have started this company for online poker. I keep mentioning online poker because in American culture sports are at our core. Like they’re just not going away age, demographic, it checks all the boxes and it’s just such a big part of American society. And when sports went away, it was interesting to see how quickly they found ways to pop back up. I think a lot of people saw the marble racing YouTube videos, things like that. But in our industry, it was covering Korean baseball, German soccer in the Esports.

So Esports became huge, and that’s another area startup area I have some passion in. So, we started covering video games as our main sports and the prize pools and the number of people playing were actually quite significant. So, it just shows that it’s a hobby and entertainment outlet that the masses resonate with. And it was cool to see that come up when during the time period where basketball and baseball weren’t being played.

Lord: It’s unreal. I actually was having a conversation with a buddy last night and he was talking about his kid so addicted to video games. And I said, “well, there’s a future in this.” Actually, and he actually wants to be an Esports player. What can you tell us about that? It is growing, and I know they’re significantly playing these paying these players top dollars to be affiliated with these companies and that sort.

MacMillan: Yeah.

Lord: I hear a million bucks to play Esports a year, is that true?

MacMillan: Oh yeah, that’s definitely. Like any industry, the ones at the top are making a lot, a lot of money but it’s a hard journey to get there. It’s still a nascent industry and we’re still trying to figure it out. I’ve now, we’re now on my second investment in an Esports company, so I have a heavy interest in the area. My first one was in, with a local entrepreneur, some local entrepreneurs, and it didn’t do exactly what we thought it was gonna be.

This was around 2014 to 2016 and a lot of money was flowing in the Esports, and people just like the term Esports was just raising money for better, for worse. Everyone wanted to be involved, and I think there’s actually a lot of people at that time lost money in the industry like ESPN, Yahoo. There, it didn’t become like a normal sports analogy situation. What the big winner wound up being was sites like Twitch where you can stream video games, and that’s where a lot of people were making money.

The top streamers are making a lot of money which is separate from the top competitive players making a lot of money. So, I’ve one of my latest angel investments is in a site called

Lord: Okay.

MacMillan: That’s the website domain. It’s again, it speaks to how as there’s this new younger fan base, they even use different domain URLs that speak to their audiences. And that was started by one of the entrepreneurs was an early employee at Twitch. So that’s definitely a market I’m looking at closely and heavily interested in. And I do believe Esports is going to make it because there’s so much demand for it from the younger audiences.

Lord: Gotcha. What are you seeing are the growth? What other sports are picking up traction gaining more interest in that you’ve seen, here as of late?

MacMillan: Sure. Well, I’ve been doing angel investing since the deal, and the current hot trend is collectible cards are making an amazing comeback.

Lord: Sweet, I can dig out all my baseball cards and football cards from the seventies.

MacMillan: Yeah, dig them out if you have any big name, rookie cards and you get them graded and they come back to gym at 10, the prices have been just insane. I think the latest record was, Oh, it was 1.3 million for like a Mike trout card, so…

Lord: I’m gonna go home and dig in later.

MacMillan: Yeah, so and then we’re seeing a couple of startups. I can’t speak to the, I haven’t signed off so I can’t speak to the exact, but you’re starting to see like a fractional market where it’s kind of like cryptocurrency meets collectibles some people can’t afford these $1.3 million cards or even the $10,000 cards, but you can buy a share of it. So that’s another fascinating emerging industry that I’m paying close attention to right now is the fractional shares market of collectibles.

Lord: Gotcha. Future of RotoGrinders, what’s happening next if you can speak to that.

MacMillan: Right yeah so, we’ve been, our whole strategy was first mover advantage, so we got on top early, and for a while we didn’t even have competition. So lately it’s been just staying on top of the daily fantasy market, and then the big one could probably be the lead here that we probably should’ve been talking about more early in this podcast is sports betting.

Lord: Right?

MacMillan: So, sports betting is now becoming legal state by state and across America. And it’s analogous to the marijuana industry where each state has the choice to legalize it or not and may have different policies on that. But here in, just in Tennessee, just two weeks ago sports betting just went live. So, I can now legally place a sports bet on DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM, on my phone for money, it’s all regulated, and that’s a huge part of our business focus, and that’s a big part of why Better Collective acquired us because as big as daily fantasy is sports betting is a much bigger industry.

Lord: Gotcha. I want our listeners to be able to take inspiration from all the guests that I have on the show. So, I’ve been asking my guests this kind of same question, and I’d like to hear your answer. Is there something that you’re doing right now to invest in yourself, to kind of grow as an individual or as a professional?

MacMillan: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’m big on physical and mental health. I definitely lost was always big on it early on, but I lost, you lost track of that in the 90 to a hundred-hour work weeks. I gained a lot of weight when I moved up here, I, the work stress for a 27-year-old managing a 100 people in a startup company where every day is make-or-break is very hard to describe.

Took me a while to learn how to deal with the work stress, and anxiety that comes with being an entrepreneur. I would say often that the EQ is more important than the IQ. It doesn’t how smart, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, if you can’t keep your emotional health and manage a team and keeping that team healthy and leading them, the rest is kind of meaningless. So, I definitely dove in and learned the hard way. I work with a mental coach on to work with those things, like I love doing it Monday mornings to just goal set and say, here are my goals for the week, here are my long-term goals, and here are what I’m doing to achieve those.

And the carving out workouts of fellow Gainevillian back in the day gave me a good tip, Rich Blaser who owns infinite energy taught me to treat your workouts like a business meeting. And so, I make sure to add those to my calendar everyone who works with me knows that from 2:00 to 3:00 PM that they can’t schedule a meeting with me because I’m gonna be in the gym. And that serves as both, obviously there’s undeniable evidence on the benefits of how it makes you live longer, makes you look better, makes you feel better, but also it’s just a great mental break too.

I love the midday workout too as almost like a meditation session of sorts too. All right, I’ma take a step back from the office, there’s more important things in life. Focus on just taking care of myself for an hour and then go back.

Lord: Yeah, that sounds great. Cameron, how do you stay motivated? Do you have a source of inspiration anywhere or where do you find that motivation to continue doing what you’re doing with the charges that you have?

MacMillan: Goals, I touched on goal setting but I’m very goal oriented, and I just write down a lot of thoughts. Like I’ve jotted notes down during just this talk. So, I find every, you gonna to have a lot of thoughts, and I think a lot of those are crap thoughts.

But, and as an entrepreneur you’re often like passionate and impulsive and you wanna act on a lot of those thoughts, so I try to write all my ideas down and then revisit them, like, let them sleep, sleep on them for a day or two, and then maybe take a week off, think about it some more, and then is the passion still grabbing me like a week from now, maybe I’ll remind myself a month from now, and because there’s so many opportunities out there and then those ones that just keep grabbing me, then that’s where I’m like, hey this is an opportunity I wanna pursue. I’ll start establishing goals and long-term goals and identifying how to work backwards towards achieving those.

Lord: That’s fantastic. Cameron, we’re coming to the end here. Is there any final words that you would like to share with our listeners?

MacMillan: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re at home listening to this and you’re considering what to do with your degree or your career, and there’s a voice inside you that wants to know what it’s like to take the entrepreneurial leap or is passionate about a big idea or maybe even a small idea, or just opening your own store but you sensed in your listening to your voice that passion, or for me, it was a fear of regret. You think you’ll regret not taking that leap?

I would highly recommend the entrepreneurship program that afforded me the opportunity to really get my thoughts in order over the course of 14 months, meet and network with a ton of great entrepreneurs and colleagues and then get ready to take the take, not one but in my case, two leaps at the same time. So, if you, if entrepreneurship isn’t for anyone, but if you deep down have that voice, I would highly recommend considering the program.

Lord: That’s great words of wisdom, I appreciate it, Cameron. It’s been great speaking with you today. I really appreciate your time.

MacMillan: Thank you so much.

Lord: Absolutely, and you shared some incredible insights for our listeners out there who would like to hear more about what our amazing alumni are up to follow our updates in the Warrington Newsroom and on social media. Until next time stay motivated and keep investing in yourself. Take care, Cameron.

MacMillan: Thanks, Andy. Have a great day, guys.

To learn more about the Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship, check out