On episode 125 of the Knup Sports Show, Adam Weinstein, the Founder/CEO of ThriveFantasy joins the show to discuss fantasy sports and entrepreneurship.

Video from Adam Weinstein Interview

Show notes from Adam Weinstein Interview

Ryan Knuppel:

All right, welcome back to another episode of the Knup Sports Show. I’m your host, Ryan Knuppel, here with you each and every time. Thanks for giving us a little bit of time out of your day. Today as we record, it is baseball opening day. It’s like Christmas. It’s like New Year’s Eve. It’s like whatever you want to call it. I’m excited. Baseball starts today. And what other better way to celebrate than to have one of my friends in the industry and a super great guy who’s doing some great things in the fantasy and in the iGaming space altogether, Adam Weinstein. Adam, thank you for joining me with ThriveFantasy. Thanks for joining me, Adam.

Adam Weinstein:

Appreciate you having me.

Ryan Knuppel:

Absolutely. I’ve been wanting to have you on for quite a while. And what better day than opening day? You excited for some baseball?

Adam Weinstein:

Super excited. Yeah, I’m a big Yankee fan, so I’m expecting big things. This is one of our only good New York teams, so this is something that we’re pumped about over here.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. Yeah, Yankees should have a pretty good year. I’m excited for my Cardinals as well. I think they’re going to do all right. Now with Nolan Arenado in the lineup, that’s going to be a different look for them, giving a little protection to Goldie, and I liked some of the bats they have there, so we’ll see if they can pitch though.

Adam Weinstein:

[crosstalk 00:01:06] yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:

See if they can pitch. It’s all about the pitching.

Adam Weinstein:

Exactly. Fun season, for sure.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well, Adam, give me a little bit of background about yourself and before we get into Thrive a little bit, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in this growing but crazy industry.

Adam Weinstein:

For sure. Yeah. So I’ve been in gaming or gambling for quite some time. Actually won my first poker tournament online when I was 15 years old under my brother’s name. So know the space very well, know what sports betters, know what gamers, gamblers are looking for. Westchester, New York born and raised, went to UMass Amherst for a sport management degree about a decade ago. Now worked in sales, in sports, right out of college. Most notably at the Yankees for a little over three years. That’s when the two big behemoths came along with Daily Fantasy, FanDuel and DraftKings. So I was like. With my background, this is going to be phenomenal. I’m going to make a ton of money playing on these sites.

Adam Weinstein:

Lo and behold, that did not happen, that did not transpire. I pretty much got my behind kicked every night, so wanted to make something much easier for the casual fan. So wanted to do something around player props. I thought that that was the future five, six, seven years ago. I still think that it is. So it’s essentially wanted to make Daily Fantasy and Player Props having a baby, and that’s what the Thrive is. It’s Daily Fantasy sports and e-sports for Player Props. So much easier game concept. Essentially instead of drafting a lineup like one quarterback, one running back, one wide receiver, we give a user list of 20 over-unders and they pick 10 out of 20 and go up against other users. So very fun, very streamlined, more of a pickup and play type of mentality, and yeah it’s going really well. People are really excited about it.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s amazing. Congrats on the success and it’s not easy to start any type of product, especially in this space. This space is very competitive and a lot of big names and big money being thrown around in this space. So to compete and even have a name in this space, I give you an applause because it’s not an easy task.

Adam Weinstein:

I appreciate it. Yeah, it’s taken a long time, even though we launched about two and a half, nearly three years ago, so.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah.

Adam Weinstein:

Back to the matter is a lot of our competitors have come up and a year later they’re not existing anymore. So the fact that we’ve been able to ride the wave and are still here, I appreciate that people are seeing that it’s a tough road, but we’re still kicking.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, you are, you’re still kicking. And not only that, you’re making noise, right? It’s not just that you’re here. You’re making noise and you guys are growing and I’ve been seeing a lot of news about you guys. So tell us a little bit about the growth that you guys have seen maybe over the last 12 months or so. I think last time we spoke in person, you were going through this growth phase and trying to figure out how to grow. I think maybe now you have a little bit, so I’m curious to hear that trajectory and what you’re seeing now.

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah, we did over 1.5 million in cash prizes just in NFL this year. So the fact of the matter is we’re now a little over 4 million since inception in cash prizes. We’re growing over 150% year over year. And our e-sports offerings are really exciting to us. We just partnered with Team Envy, definitely a top tier e-sports organization, cross-promoting, cross-marketing on several different facets. We just added Valorant to our e-sports titles. So we do Counter-Strike, League of legends, Dota Valorant. And on the traditional side, NFL, MLB, NBA, TJ and cricket. So we’re looking to add as many titles as humanly possible to give our users as big an offering as we can. And yeah, it’s grown really quickly. We’re actually raising our next round and we have some pretty big names, not only as investors, but on the athletes side. You’re going to be seeing a lot of athletes coming on board here. So we’re growing quickly and you’ll be seeing we’ll be making a lot of noise in the very foreseeable future.

Ryan Knuppel:

Sure, sure. So explain a little bit to the audience and people listening. I think people were very familiar with this concept and what’s going on the traditional sports side, but you’ve talked a lot about the e-sports side. It sounds like that’s one of your areas that you really want to focus on. Explain a little bit about, I guess, how that works or how your platform works in the e-sports realm.

Adam Weinstein:

For sure. So very simple, instead of over under points or rebounds or assists in the MBA, we do over under kills, deaths, head shots, assists, and we live update every 15 to 20 seconds. So really fun secondary screen to engage with as you’re watching on Twitch or YouTube or whatever medium it is. And it’s exciting. I can’t name 15 players in Counter-Strike, but if you show me a guy over under 30 and a half kills, I’ll have a thought process there, and I’ll know that he’s getting a kill when he kills someone. But if you’re telling me over under minions in League of Legends, I’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. So we make a much easier product ops and something that you’ll be able to engage with at a high level.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s very interesting. It certainly seems like the future that we’re going to be living in here over the next five to 10 years, so that’s pretty cool. That’s an amazing concept. And yeah, it’s so out of my traditional concept of what fantasy sports are and what how this all works. But man, I’m sure kids in the younger generations are really into that. And that’s the future of who’s going to be using platforms like Thrive and things of that. So that’s really cool. I’m intrigued by that space and I really think it’s going to be a growing area. We all know that. So the fact that you guys are partnering with some of the biggest names in that is huge. So good job. Good job there as well.

Adam Weinstein:

I appreciate it. Yeah, that’s exactly right. We know that the demo for e-sports is drastically different than the traditional side, but that’s what we’re excited about. They’re young, they’re affluent and they do have a propensity to gamble. Obviously we KYC so we’re not having anybody under 18 on the site, but what we’ve seen with our testing and understanding of e-sports props is it’s really fun and really engaging. People are coming back daily, spending money. So this is just the first inning. We’re talking opening day, so this is just the first inning of what this can be in the very near future.

Ryan Knuppel:

Let’s circle back then, let’s circle back, talk baseball a little bit. So what are you guys doing around baseball? I know everybody’s excited about baseball right now. So people listening, what can they play? What can they do? What kind of prizes can they win? Tell them how to get out there and play some Thrive baseball.

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah. Without a doubt. Opening day’s now starting in about a little over two hours.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah.

Adam Weinstein:

We have a $20 entry, 10K guarantee. So a pretty big contest. What’s nice is it’s just over under hits, bases, RBIs, runs, so really fun there. We also have a prop lobby, which is user versus house, which essentially is a prop parlay, and you can mix it between MLB and NBA. Right now, we’re actually releasing our PGA prop lobby for the mass next week, over under strokes, birdies, pars, so just really cool opportunities there. And we have the best payouts in the industry. It’s better than our two competitors that I won’t ever mention, but we’re doing what’s best for the user. So two avenues of playing on Thrive, it’s the user versus user aspect, and also the user versus house. So whatever you want to do, i.e., on the player prop side, we have an offering for you.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s awesome. So I don’t want to get into any talking about the other companies and all of that, but one of the questions when you mentioned, that one of the questions that popped in mind, besides some of the best payouts in the industry, what does set you guys apart? Why are you better than some of the others? Without naming others, I don’t need to get into that, but why are you better? Why should people play with you? I want to understand what you consider your unique selling point that you guys do.

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah. I think we have the best UX for sure, the best user experience. Our app is, in my opinion, the slickest, the easiest to understand. And then, again, the two competitors that we are seeing a lot in the news, one of them Monkey Knife Fight who just got bought by Bally’s, they’re strictly user versus house.

Ryan Knuppel:

Sure.

Adam Weinstein:

So we have that opportunity for users. And again, we have better prize payouts than they do, but we also do the user verse user aspect. So that’s not something that they offer. So if you want to go up against the house, great, we’d love to have you, but if you feel more comfortable and don’t feel like you need to be perfect. So again, we challenge users to pick 10 out of 20. We’re seeing users who get six out of 10 or even seven out of 10 right cashing. You do not have to get them all correct by any means. If you get 10 out of 10, you’re going to win our contest every day. But if you get seven out of 10 right, you have a very high chance of getting your money back plus. So it’s a really easy thought. You do not have to be perfect. You can take some risks and still end up being profitable.

Ryan Knuppel:

Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s amazing. So being the young entrepreneur that you are, definitely younger than me, but the young entrepreneur that you are, I’m assuming this hasn’t been easy. This is a long road, and I always like to talk a little more on the business side and just the road that you’ve taken to get here. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve run into? Really have nothing to do with age. I don’t know why I said young in there, just because I’m impressed at how young you are and how much you’re operating this at a high level. But what are some of the challenges that you’ve experienced from a business side, or maybe are experiencing now that possibly somebody listening to this could either help you with or assist with or give some guidance on?

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah, it’s several fold. As the CEO and sole founder, I’m constantly battling between fundraising, running a company, helping my employees optimize, helping the product optimize. So having your hands, I feel like an octopus with eight tentacles going around and constantly battling between where my time needs to be focused on. But it’s just a constant battle, right? If you haven’t done this before, this is my first time as an entrepreneur running a company, you’re constantly learning, constantly evolving it and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t.

Adam Weinstein:

So, so many different things that are happening at one time. I would say clearly the number one biggest obstacle, and this is probably across the board for founders, is fundraising. It’s very tedious, very time-consuming. And for the most part, unless you’re running a very unique value prop, you’re going to be getting a whole ton of nos along the way with very few yeses. So keeping your mindset positive, keeping your head on a swivel and not taking that rejection personally is very important. But also understanding that not everybody’s going to understand what you’re looking to accomplish and the vision. So as long as you can keep the lights on the next day, be excited about what you’re looking to build.

Adam Weinstein:

But in terms of what people can help us with, download the app, play, tell us what you like, tell us what you don’t like, and we’re always here to listen. I believe our customer support is top-notch. We’re getting back to you within literally 30 minutes every time you email us, so.

Ryan Knuppel:

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I think the quote I’m going to take out of this is, “I feel like an octopus.” But no, you’re so right. You’re so right. And many times in business when you’re trying to run, you just feel like you need a thousand arms reaching out, doing all sorts of things. So that was such a great analogy there that I can relate in many ways. Just running any type of business, you’re going to feel that way sometimes. But navigating through that’s half the fun as well. We’re all competitive people, right? If we’re in the sports business, we’re competitive. And so, the challenges and competitiveness of running a business is I think what drives a lot of us. I’m sure you as well.

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah, I always look back at where we were 12 months ago and it’s just completely night and day. We have a team of nine right now. We’ve got a team of three 12 months ago. We’re going to have a team of 15 to 20 in the next six months. So it’s like, wow. What we’ve been able to accomplish with the resources we’ve had is just so unbelievable. And it’s just so early on still, so I’m really excited about what we can accomplish.

Ryan Knuppel:

So what’s coming? What’s coming? Anything juicy you can share or even if it’s not juicy, what’s coming for you guys? Are you guys just continuing to build out the product and continuing to kind of solidify what you guys have going? Or do you have some big things on the horizon?

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah, we do have some massive partnerships that we’ll be hopefully announcing in Q2. We have some new titles that we’re looking to bring on on the e-sports side. Hopefully one of our potential partners will be releasing their data feeds, and then we’ll be one of the official e-sports platforms for this big publisher in the next couple of months. But again, on the investor side, we have some really big names that people are going to be excited about who are investing in us, and we’re going to be doing unique experiences along with them. They’re not only athletes, but they’re also big Twitch streamers. So we’re going to be cross-promoting it and doing some really cool things on Twitch to show off what Thrive is and how you can engage with us. So stay tuned for sure.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome, man. Well, cool. Well, I know you’re a busy guy. I know you got lots to do today. So explain a little bit, before we go explain a little bit about, I know you mentioned go download the app and all of that, but where can they find more about Thrive? How can they get the app? What platforms? Give us that little spiel. Where can the people sign up?

Adam Weinstein:

We’re on ThriveFantasy, one word, on iOS and Android, and then thrivefantasy.com right on the web. We have some great deposit matches for any new user. We’ll deposit match up to $50, no promo code needed. So definitely come check us out. It’s exciting. We do have some free rolls every day, specifically for opening day. So if you want to get your feet wet without depositing, definitely download the app and just to see what you like on the app and go from there.

Ryan Knuppel:

Awesome. Awesome. Any last words, Adam? Before I let you go, any last words for the listeners, maybe somebody out there struggling? Or I don’t know, any last words? Anything we didn’t touch on that you want to talk about?

Adam Weinstein:

Yeah, just obviously this is very tiring and troublesome times for a lot of people, but we’re getting to the hopefully end of this insane year and a half plus, so keep your head up. There’s going to be sunshine on the other side of this. So hopefully we’re moving past this and this is going to be something that we never forget, but we’re going to be becoming a stronger country as a whole, for sure.

Ryan Knuppel:

Very well said. Very well said. This is Adam Weinstein of ThriveFantasy. Adam, thank you so much for joining me. Really appreciate it. Go Cardinals and go Yankees a little bit. I guess I can say that. They’re not in the NL, so I’ll cheer a little bit for you.

Adam Weinstein:

Maybe we’ll see each other in October.

Ryan Knuppel:

There we go. That’s what we can. That’s what we can plan for. So Adam, thanks again for being here.

Adam Weinstein:

Appreciate it. Anytime.

Ryan Knuppel:

All right, everybody. Thank you. That was Adam Weinstein of ThriveFantasy, one of the good guys in the industry doing some amazing things. Go out, download the app, check out what they’re doing. This may not be out by opening day when it starts, but I’m sure they’re going to have contests all through MLB and all through, as you heard, other sports going on, e-sports whatever you guys want to do. Go out, check it out and let’s connect out there. So thank you guys all for listening. Stay safe until next time. Have a great day. Have a good one.

 

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