On episode 172, Kenneth Giles the co-founder and CEO of SimBull Sports Exchange joined us. He talked about how they are becoming the “Market for Sports” and much more.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Hey, what’s going on everybody? How’re you doing today? My name’s Ryan Knuppel, Knup Sports Show Episode #172, excited for another version of the Knup Sports Show today. Hope you’re all doing well, everything’s going well in your world. I’m excited, we’re coming into football season, which, you know, as a sports fan, a sports junkie, that is the time of the year that we all live and breathe for. It’s like the off-season throughout the summer, and then we get to football, and man, it’s just ready, I’m ready for Sundays, Thursdays, Mondays, you name it, I’m ready for some football. So, hey, today we have another really special guest. I’m excited to have this gentleman on and talk about what he’s up to in this world. We have Kenneth Giles with SimBull Sports. I’m gonna bring Kenneth on here in a second. Kenneth, how are you man?

KENNETH GILES

Good, Ryan. How’s it going? I appreciate you having me on.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing. Excited to be here with you. Excited to learn what you got going on with SimBull, and uh, and we’ll jump into that here in a bit. But first of all, where are you located, man?

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, so right now I actually just moved, uh, I’m currently in Raleigh, NC. Moved from Minnesota, that’s where I went to school, spent a couple years there, but now I’m in Raleigh, NC. So, excited to be here, and just getting settled in.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s awesome, that’s a great area. I actually love that area, spent some time there. I’m down in Orlando, FL, but had, you know, I like to vacation up in that North Carolina area as well, so that’s amazing.

KENNETH GILES

Nice, yeah. And like you said, I’m really excited for football season down here. Both from a company perspective and also just from a fan perspective. Nothing better than football season, college football is obviously huge down here in the south, so I’m excited to experience the college football down here.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Of course, of course, awesome. Well let’s jump in, uh, I wanna hear a little bit about yourself and kinda what got you to where you are today, so tell us a little bit about you. Maybe your career path and some things you’ve done along the way.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, absolutely. So, I actually graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2020, uh, St. Thomas is a small Division 3, actually now, if you’ve heard of St. Thomas, it’s because they jumped from Division 3 to Division 1 in sports. Uh, first team to ever do that. But I graduated from St. Thomas in 2020, uh, with a degree in what’s called Actuarial Science. Um, for those of you who don’t know what actuaries do, uh, we work in insurance, we price investment products, annuities, life insurance, car insurance, all that stuff, so, my background specifically was in product development for investment-related products. Um, so it’s my background, but I’ve always had a huge love for fantasy sports, sports gambling, sports gaming, um, using my statistical/financial background to try to, you know, beat the books and all of that good stuff is, um, sort of my background. After graduation, I worked for a life insurance company developing, like I said, investment-related products. Did that for a couple years, uh, and then took the leap into entrepreneurship and sports tech, and we started SimBull, which I’m sure we’ll dive more into.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s amazing, that’s really cool. So, you know, the financial background, not necessarily the sports background, from a business side, but the financial background I’m sure played a huge part in what SimBull is as we start talking about what that is. You know, I’m sure that financial background really played a big part in that.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I’ve had two major loves in my life from an entertainment perspective. One is investing in, you know, the stock market, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, all that good stuff, both professionally and just on my own. Uh, and then also, like I said, sports gambling, fantasy sports, I’m a huge Green Bay Packers fan, uh, grew up watching sports, playing sports. And then using, sort of, my financial mind in the sports space, that’s where we really came up with the idea for SimBull, of creating this stock market for sports. Just combining two of my passions, and we’ve had some good success of finding other people that have those same passions.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, so let’s dive in. So you just mentioned it, you know, the stock market for sports is kind of what you guys are claiming. I wanna hear more about it, so tell us about it. I’m, uh, actually gonna pull it up here on the screen and, uh, tell the audience a little bit about what SimBull is. You keep saying “SimBull” and I’m thinking, “Oh, the symbol”. No, it’s “SimBull”.

KENNETH GILES

SimBull, yeah, we can dive into the story of the name. We got the bull logo on the hat, you know, a bull market is what we’re going for, so, as you mentioned, you know, the best way to describe SimBull is we wanna create a stock market for sports teams. So our goal is to create a platform, a really fun, gamified platform, that allows users to trade virtual shares of sports teams, similar to how they would trade companies in the stock market, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, all that good stuff. Uh, so as I mentioned, my background is in investing, but I’ve always loved, you know, sports, sports gaming, um, so this is just a combination of both of those. Giving fans, sports fans, a new tool, uh, a new game, a new exciting platform for them to, you know, try to prop up their sports knowledge, make long-term predictions on which teams they think are rising, which teams they think are falling, etc.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s really cool. Now, are the, now tell me, are the teams themselves involved with this, or is this completely 3rd party?

KENNETH GILES

This is completely 3rd party. So the way we describe ourselves is a game of skill. So, essentially what you’re doing, when you buy a virtual share on our platform, I’ll make it very quick, you’re not, you know, you’re not buying shares of the New York Yankees, right? You are not buying stake in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What you’re doing is you’re buying these virtual shares that have share prices determined by the supply and demand of the market. So then from there, teams rise and fall based on the users’ perspective of who’s gonna go up, who’s gonna go down, etc.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Now, are there limited shares of each team?

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, so right now in the market we have 200 shares outstanding per team, and we have four major American sports and then college football as well. So, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and then college football right now.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s really cool. Tell me a little bit about the economics of it from a, like, ’cause I’m assuming it’s a real money type thing, right? It’s not a fake money or play money, we’re talking real money here. Tell me a little bit about how people would buy in and how that whole thing works.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, absolutely, you are 100% correct. It is 100% real money gaming, so, when you go into SimBull, you’ll deposit money through your PayPal account, and then once you deposit that money, uh, then you can buy these teams on the platform. So from the users perspective, there’s two ways to make money on SimBull. The first is what we call “win payout”. Best way to think about win payouts is it’s very similar to a dividend from a company. But using a real example from the SimBull market, you wanna share of the, you said you’re in Orlando, right? So you own a share of the Orlando Magic.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Oh, yikes. [Laughs].

KENNETH GILES

For every game they win, you’re gonna end a cash win payout. So for NFL it’s fifty cents per share per win. For NBA, because there’s more games, it’s ten cents per share per win. For MLB, even more games, five cents per share per win. Well, what that win payout does is it divides an underlying economic value for these teams. So, let’s say the market, you know, prices, uh, the Magic to win at 20 games next year, but you think, “Hey, the Magic are a dark horse, they’re gonna win 40 games”. You might wanna buy them early, because the market’s undervaluing them, and you could earn a high return. Now, say the Magic perform really really well, they start winning more and more games, they’re on pace to win 40 games, theoretically, more people on the market will buy into that team because they’re gonna win more win payouts, and then the price will rise in value, uh, using share price appreciation. Now, from the users’ perspective, it’s also how you can lose money. So let’s say that you buy a share of the Dallas Cowboys a couple years ago, Dak Prescott dislocates his ankle, he’s out for a year. The Cowboys fall like 30% in value because they no longer have Dak Prescott, so they can’t, uh, keep earning those win payouts. So, that’s sort of the exciting part of the market, is watching the teams rise and fall based on, you know, performance, injuries, trades, etc.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s really cool, that’s really cool. So, let’s kind of switch gears. Tell me a little bit about where you’re at from a business side. So, I mean, you guys are launched, do you have users using it? Uh, I’m reading the site, it says “12,000+ bullish investors”. Tell us a little bit about how long you’ve been operating, and, I guess, where you’re at with that.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, absolutely. So giving you some company history, we actually launched a live beta test in the fall of 2020. This is when me and my co-founders were still working full time. We’re like, “Hey, we have this really cool idea with this platform”. I would play it, I honestly didn’t know if others people would play it, because, you know, I’m kinda from the nerdy background. Um, so, we kind of launched with 50 friends and family just saying like, “Hey, is this a thing that people wanna do?”. It started growing organically without us advertising, it went from 50 to 100, and 100 to 200, and 200 to 400. We’re like, “Oh my gosh, like, this actually be a thing that people really really wanna do”. So in 2021, we went full time, me and my two other cofounders, brought on a few other employees, really built out the platform for all of 2021. Um, recently, we’ve had a ton of success continuing to scale. So we actually just graduated from an accelerated program called Techstars. uh, if you’re familiar with the Techstars accelerated program, um, we just finished a sports tech specific program, so, through that program, we met mentors from the NBA, the NFL, from MLS, you know, just from a lot of different organizations who can help scale. Got a lot of great mentorship there, you know, the Techstars program itself also provides a little upfront capital, um, so they bought into the company, which was awesome because they gave us the ability to develop a mobile app, to advertise a little bit and start scaling that way. Um, so we just graduated from that in June, had a ton of success and growth through the first half of this year, and now we’re really preparing, actually, to raise our seed round of funding, um, hopefully by the end of November is the goal.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing, and that would be…so you mentioned the app, but I mean, do you currently have an app to play on, or is all web-based, or what?

KENNETH GILES

Right now, it is 100% web-based, but our mobile app is gonna go live, hopefully, August 15th. So, in about, I don’t know when this is gonna air, uh, we’re recording on the 9th, but hopefully in about seven days, this will be live on August 15th is the goal.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Oh, amazing. That’s really cool, that’s awesome. So, so, but you’re raising a seed round, you’re raising some funding, trying to. Um, what’s the future look like? Like, what’s that for, where are you guys headed, what do you need that money for? I’m curious to what the future looks like for you guys. Is it marketing to really blow this thing up, or where does that lie?

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, absolutely, a few different things. So, actually, this fall through the investment, we got a pre-seed round from Techstars and a few other angels. We’re actually putting that to work for a lot of advertising this fall. So, we have a few, we haven’t signed the contract yet so I can’t announce them, but we have a few big brands that we’re hopefully signing contracts with this week, which will be exciting, from both podcasts, from Twitter, uh, etc. So that’s really exciting, that’s a lot of what our focus is for the fall. Football is by far the biggest sport, biggest sport in America. Um, so really trying to capitalize on that from a new user perspective, from a trading volume perspective, from a revenue perspective for the company. Um, so that’s the big thing for this fall. Our round is gonna really go towards two things. One is continuing to scale up from a marketing side, and also a team-building side. So, right now, we have three full-time employees and four part-time employees. Um, the goal is, with this new round, to bring on a Chief Product Officer, hire a few more developers to continue to improve the mobile app, the website, and our backend. So, from a team-building perspective, just create a better user experience, more features, is what we’re really going for with the seed round.

RYAN KNUPPEL

So cool. Very, very cool. So, look, if somebody wanted to play, right, I mean, I think you’ve done an amazing job describing what this is, and I’m sure everybody listening is gonna be like, well, already checking it out and trying to play. But, if they wanted to play, SimBull.com, correct? I mean, that’s where to go play and get started?

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, SimBull.com. You can go check out our web app. If you’re listening to this after August 15th, go to the App Store, search “SimBull”, you can download the mobile app. I will say, our mobile app is about to be 150x better than our website, so if you’re a mobile app user, definitely check out the mobile app. If you have any follow-up questions, our DMs are open on Twitter, @SimBullExchange, uh, on Twitter. If you have any questions on how the market works, trying to get a feel for it, definitely check us out there. Feel free to shoot us a message, we have, uh, someone manning that Twitter, just to answer some questions on there. Um, and then the other thing I would say, is if you do go to SimBull.com right now, or if you go to the mobile app, when you create an account, completely free to create an account, you’ll actually get a free share to start, and, um, then that way you can test it out for free. So you go in, you get a free share, you can trade it, you can hold on to it, you can earn win payouts, but from there, you can get a feel for how the market works before you, you know, necessarily wanna dive in with both feet.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s super interesting. I think I said the wrong word there, because as I start thinking about what you’re doing here, I said “Go play the game”, right? It’s not necessarily playing, it’s more really, truly investing and, you said the word “market” so many times, right? So, really it’s more of a playing the market, I guess, just like it would any other investment. So, I don’t know if I said the right word there when I said “play”.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, no, there’s a couple different ways of looking at it. It’s kind of interesting from a user perspective, right? We’ve got a few different people that are calling this “team fantasy”, right? You’re buying these teams, instead of individual players, you’re buying these teams, and hoping that they win games. We’ve had other people call it, you know, “The Dogecoin of Sports”, right? Or “The Crypto of Sports”, or you know, sometimes crypto has a negative connotation. And then other people call it, you know, “The Stock Market of Sports”, which is how we, you know, advertise it ourselves and market it. Um, but it truly is a game, it’s a really fun gamified platform, where, if you have a background in sports gaming that some of you enjoy doing, if you have a background in, even rudimentary investing, right, you don’t have to be a sophisticated investor to enjoy this platform, because really what you’re doing is you’re predicting sports. So as long as you have an idea of what teams are overvalued or undervalued, you can participate well on the market.

RYAN KNUPPEL

We all think we know, but none of us really actually know, right? We all think we do.

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, yeah, exactly. I guess that’s why sports sites have had a lot of success over the past couple of years, huh?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Exactly, exactly. Well, Kenneth, I know you’re a busy man, I know you’ve got other things to do, so I will let you go here, but any last words, anything I missed, anything you wanted to say to the audience or need from the audience that may be watching this as they’re paying attention here?

KENNETH GILES

Yeah, no, I appreciate you having me on, I actually am a big fan of your show, I actually listened to the, uh, the Savage Ventures interview. We actually talked to them previously, um, nothing serious, just a funny connection there. Um, but yeah, for any of your listeners, like I said, @SimBullExchange on Twitter, happy to answer any follow-up questions or you can just add us and we’re happy to respond there. Um, if you’re interested in checking out the market, SimBull.com. Uh, sign up for free, you get a free stock. And then also our mobile app, August 15th hopefully that’ll be live, so you can check it out there. Um, honestly what I would say from a user perspective, is we’re still a young company, right, this is something that we’re iterating on. The product that you see today is probably gonna be very different from the product you’ll see one month from now, six months from now, one year from now. So, what we really want to do is get a lot of user feedback over the next six months as we continue to build out, uh, this product, and make it the best platform for sports fans everywhere that it can possibly be. Um, for any of your listeners that are interested, definitely check out the website, check out the mobile app, and then, honestly, email us, DM us, like, “Hey, I think you guys should try this”, or “I think you should do this”. We’d love to hear your feedback. That’s always great for a young company.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing, awesome. Well, Kenneth, I really appreciate it. I’ll make sure to put all of those links and everything you mentioned there in the last few minutes in the show notes, that way people can click them and get out there, and I’ll definitely go out and take advantage of a free stock. I have not tried it yet, so I’m excited to go out a try it after this meeting, and, uh, hopefully invest and win some money.

KENNETH GILES

Awesome, yeah. Appreciate it. Yeah, best of luck in the market, and, uh, thanks for having me on, Ryan.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, Kenneth. Take care, talk to you soon, and, uh, stay safe out there.

KENNETH GILES

Appreciate it. Talk soon.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, buddy.

Alright, that was Kenneth Giles with SimBull. SimBull, SimBull.com. We’ll put the links in the show notes like I mentioned. Looks really cool, you know, to talk in sports and market and financials, just lots going on there, but at the end of the day, right, if you know sports, if you know how to predict sports, um, this is gonna be something that you’re gonna enjoy. So I’m excited to go check it out. Definitely excited when that app comes to check that app out as well. That’ll be a pretty cool user experience, I think. Alright, I’m Ryan Knuppel, that was Episode #172 of the Knup Sports Show. Really appreciate everybody tuning into this show, each and every time, and giving me a little bit of, uh, a little bit of attention, you know, the feedback I get is very nice. So, if you’re looking to be on this show, if you know a leader in sports business, in sports betting, in iGaming, in any of those areas, if you know someone that would love to come on, talk about what they’re up to, I’d love to have them on, so make sure you reach out to me, @RyanKnuppel, I’m out on LinkedIn, you can find me on Twitter, you can find me wherever, or go out to knupsports.com/show, and you can see all the shows we’ve done in the past. Also on YouTube and Spotify, and iTunes, and whatever they call it these days. Alright, everybody, take care. Until next time, I’m Ryan Knuppel signing off for the day. Have a great one. Bye bye.

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Knup Sports Show - 172 - Kenneth Giles of SimBull Sports Exchange on the Knup Sports Show (square)