THE NEW York-based co-founder and now-former chief executive of FanDuel is gearing up to again break into the Scottish technology sector with a planned launch into the eSports space.

Nigel Eccles, who this week stood down as head of the daily fantasy sports (DFS) business he co-founded 10 years ago, said that while he will continue to be based in the US his new business will be powered by a team of Scotland-based software engineers and games developers.

“I want to build an engineering team in Scotland,” he said.

“I’ve got a really deep affinity with Scotland, which has some of the best software engineers in the world and deep talent in games development.

“I’m in New York but I’ll build the engineering team probably in Edinburgh.”

Mr Eccles, who retains a stake in FanDuel, said that while eSports is popular in Scotland in terms of players and spectators, to date not much has been done on the development side in the country.

“It’s really exciting because there’s a huge opportunity here,” he said. “Scotland, with its real depth of experience in computer games, could really be at the forefront of this.”

Mr Eccles said that he has chosen eSports, which sees spectators pay to watch other people play video games, because it is an area “that is growing really quickly”.

The aim is to repeat the success he achieved at FanDuel, which became Scotland’s first tech unicorn when it was valued at $1 billion during a fundraising round in 2015.

In addition to being credited with revolutionising the US fantasy sports market by introducing daily rather than season-long games, FanDuel is also seen as one of the main drivers behind the recent growth of Scotland’s technology sector.

That said, Mr Eccles’s growth plans for the business were curtailed when a planned merger with US rival DraftKings was aborted earlier this year.

This led to a restructuring at FanDuel that handed a greater slice of equity and more board influence to the firm’s private equity backers.

US private equity powerhouse Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), which led a $275 million fundraising for FanDuel in 2015, is now the company’s biggest shareholder while one of its principals, Ted Oberwager, sits on its board.

Former KKR director Matt King, who served as FanDuel’s chief financial officer between 2014 and 2016, replaced Mr Eccles as chief executive earlier this week.

Admitting that he had “mixed emotions” about leaving the business, Mr Eccles said “there always comes a time when it’s time to move on”.

“Post the merger [being abandoned] I said to everyone you have to ask yourselves if you are committed and is this what you want to do in the next three to four years,” he said.

“I also had to ask it of myself and I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

“I knew I wanted to go and build another entrepreneurial company.”

No other FanDuel employees have so far joined Mr Eccles at his new venture and as yet he has not sought any financial backing.

He said that at the moment he is “focused on building up the product”, adding that “once we have that we want to scale it and make it really big”.

“Right now we want to focus on building a platform that really resonates,” he said.