Listen in as Kenny Jang, the founder and CPO of Sportsflare, talks about their suite of esports betting products that are changing the game.

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Ryan Knuppel:
Hey, what’s going on, everybody? Ryan Knuppel here in Knup Sports Show, episode 136. Thank you so much for tuning in and give us a little bit of your time. Hopefully you’re doing well. We’re recording this, we’re live on a Thursday, August 19th. Super excited once again to have another guest here that I’ll get into in a minute, but first of all, football is on its way. I’m excited about that. Hopefully all you sports fans are as well, and we’re going to have a good season this year. Finally, we’re going to have a season with fans in the stadiums. It’s going to be a lot of fun, so I’m excited for that. But as I told you just a second ago, we have a guest here with us. We like to talk iGaming, we got to talk sports business, a little Esports. We talk a lot of business. And today I have Kenny Jang, the founder and CPO of Sportsflare. Kenny, are you with me?

Kenny Jang:
Hey Ryan, how’s it going?

Ryan Knuppel:
Thanks for joining me, my man. I really appreciate you giving me a little bit of time. How are you today?

Kenny Jang:
No worry. Always a pleasure to chat with you, Ryan.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah, well, I think we’re on other sides of the world here, so we’re doing this time zone thing today. We’re mixing and matching, huh?

Kenny Jang:
Yeah, yeah. It’s actually 1:00 AM here, but we are totally used to it by now, so no worries.

Ryan Knuppel:
Well, don’t fall asleep on me, I’ll try to not keep it too boring for you. We’ll keep the conversation going, but I appreciate you coming in middle of the night and sharing a little bit about your story, that’s what we like to do. Tell us a little bit about yourself personally, before we get into Sportsflare. Tell us about yourself and I mean, maybe your career path getting to where you are today.

Kenny Jang:
Yeah, sure. As Ryan said, I’m the founder and CPO of Sportsflare. Before Sportsflare I was actually at uni. My background’s actually in psychology, so it’s a little different of a conventional path, but I actually got into Esports early on in the uni years, watching a lot of [inaudible 00:02:00] playing a bit of [inaudible 00:02:02] Big FIFA fan so it kind of started off there. I met a few people from the founding team who were also big into Esports and it kind of just kept on from there.

Kenny Jang:
I really got to learn about the industry, learn about what was missing in the industry. And then we kind of developed products that made sense. We originally started off as a B2C, kind of giving tipsters advice on what teams to bid on, what kind of sports books had the wrong lines. We got quite a big following over there and we eventually shifted onto a B2B business where we would kind of fix these are underlying issues with the bidding industries in terms of Esports. And then we got to developing a whole suite of Esports products, which is where it’s gotten us to today.

Ryan Knuppel:
That’s amazing. A whole suite of Esports products, I’m assuming that’s kind of what makes up Sportsflare. I know you focus heavily on the bedding side of Esports as well, but tell us a little bit more, I guess now about Sportsflare and about that suite of products that does make up what you call Sportsflare today.

Kenny Jang:
Yeah, sure, sure. We’ve got the whole suite, so we start off with other Esports odds feed, which consists of pre-match odds and the live odds, but we’ve kind of gone on from that where we now offer micro-markets, which is something, it’s kind of getting big in the traditional sports now, so it’s basically event by event race betting. So let’s say for a game of League of Legends, you might be now able to bid on what tower is going to fall next, what player is going to get the next kill, where is this next kill going to occur? That sort of thing. We’ve also got the Esports bet builder. That’s the only one in the industry at the moment.

Kenny Jang:
This is basically a parlay bidding product where users can create a combined bet from multiple correlated outcomes within the same match. And the latest and the most exciting product, in my opinion, that we’ve got in our lineup is the bet on yourself product. That’s basically where we now give users the power to bet on their own games. So say Ryan, you’re an avid Fortnite player. You might be wanting to bet on a top three finish or a top 10 finish, plus three or more kills in your next game. And then we create an individualized odd for you to do that, so now you can hop onto PlayStation, place a bet and off you go.

Ryan Knuppel:
I love that. I mean, that’s amazing. That’s next level thinking and really cool stuff. I mean, bet on yourself, I love that name that you’ve called it, as well. We’re showing that for those of you that are watching this live, we are showing the website sportsflare.io up on the screen, as well. Just kind of bouncing around, showing some things as well. But cool, so lots of products making up this Esports betting. How did this come about? I mean, are you an Esports guy? I mean, are you through and through gaming and Esports junkie yourself personally, or is this really, you just saw business opportunity? Give us some background.

Kenny Jang:
Yeah, definitely a background Esports fan. I don’t play as much as I’d like to, but I definitely keep up with the scene. I was watching a League of Legends game just before I joined this call as well, actually.

Ryan Knuppel:
Cool.

Kenny Jang:
But it also makes sense on the business side, it’s a huge [inaudible 00:05:11] market in terms of that bet on yourself product. The gamer population is around 3 billion, which is crazy. So for us to be able to create a product that really gets those gamers excited, I mean, they’re going to game anyway, why not [inaudible 00:05:28] I mean, gamers talk a lot of smack. Why not bet [crosstalk 00:05:32] bit of betting?

Ryan Knuppel:
What games are you guys focusing on mostly, working through. I mean, you mentioned a couple, I think earlier, but is there a certain number of games you’re integrated with and kind of working with?

Kenny Jang:
Yeah, we offer it. We’re live with Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone at the moment through our clients. Those two make the most sense, just because of the better royale titles and to bet players against one versus 99 other players, it made a lot of sense for us to do that. And we also work very closely with our partners to drive that roadmap as to seeing what titles are the most requested, what titles are being the most played right now? What kind of trends there are in the gaming scene and try to follow that.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah, yeah. Now, do you guys have… Now we’re talking a little more futuristic here, but I mean, are you looking to build more products and more offerings within your suite of things, or are you really now kind of settled with what you have and you want to just keep developing and making those the best they can be?

Kenny Jang:
It’s definitely the case of trying to make our products better, the products that we have going on now better. But we’re also always working on trying to think up the next big thing on the Esports or the gaming industry. So we’re always constantly thinking, having chats within the industry, within our team, just to find out what’s going to be hot and what’s not.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah. Keeping up with those trends, especially in gaming and things of that nature is probably a full-time job in itself, just keeping up with what’s going on. I know from the outside it felt like during the main COVID months, I know we’re not out, we still, I think you mentioned earlier, there’s maybe even another lockdown where you’re at, is that correct?

Kenny Jang:
Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah. So we’re not out of this COVID period, but where I’m going with this is, I know at the beginning of COVID everybody’s like, “Oh, Esports are going to boom. Esports are going to be… Because everybody has to stay home, and what else are they going to do, but play Esports?” Is that a reality? Is that something that you really saw, is that this industry kind of took an uptick because of everyone needing to stay home and find other things to do? Or is that more of a myth?

Kenny Jang:
I mean, we’ve definitely enjoyed this growing attention due to this COVID pandemic. It’s super unfortunate that everyone’s going through it right now, but it’s certainly put a bit of a limelight on Esports, when all the traditional sports kind of went on hiatus due to not everyone being able to play online. And if you can’t meet up with your friends, but you can kind of join up on fortnight or Call of Duty and be social that way. So that’s a great way for people to go on and express their feelings that way, so that’s been a good one for us.

Ryan Knuppel:
Absolutely. And Scott, thank you for the comment. I meant to mention at the very beginning, we are live, guys. So guys and gals, if anybody’s watching this and wants to make comments, wants to ask any questions, hey, we’ll put them on the spot. We’ll ask questions right on the spot. Feel free to put them in whatever chat you’re on across Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch. We’re on all of it, so put in your comment. I’ll put it up and we can talk through it. I always forget to mention that at the beginning, but this whole live experience is kind of fun. So Scott, thank you for the comment. We really appreciate it.

Kenny Jang:
Hey Scott. I haven’t talked to you for a while. Actually know Scott, so that’s awesome that he’s-

Ryan Knuppel:
Oh, cool. Good, good. One of the great ones in the industry. I like Scott, he’s awesome. And if you’re still listening, thank you. Anyway, where are we headed? So, future of Esports is bright, I believe. What’s one of the challenges that you guys… We know all businesses have challenges, right? And what’s one of the challenges that the audience or people listening maybe could help with, or at least could get you in touch with the right people? What challenge are you guys going through currently at the moment?

Kenny Jang:
Sports is a B2B, we rely a lot on our upstream data providers for things like reducing the prices or the odds. Basically, it can’t be done without the right data and the right quality of that data. So the kind of the issues that we’ve had going forward is that the data and access has been a bit difficult on some fronts where it costs an arm and a leg to get that data. I mean, you’re talking, to get the best data from the English Premier League is cheaper than getting data for [inaudible 00:09:58] sometimes, so it’s absolutely crazy.

Ryan Knuppel:
Wow.

Kenny Jang:
Yeah. For a startup, that’s been a bit of a challenge, but we’ve managed to work around. We’ve got some deals here and there and great partners, so that’s all working well at the moment.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. As far as marketing goes for you guys, it was just kind of a businessy type show and you’re more of a B2B company. What type of marketing strategies do you guys have that seem to be working or don’t be working? I mean, do you guys have a lot going on in that space or are you kind of more of a let them come to you and find you type of mentality?

Kenny Jang:
Right. I think when I last spoke to you, Ryan, we kicked off a sort of a marketing blitz or a business blitz where we were trying to outbound a lot of the relevant industry people. We’re also doing our own articles through PR that way. But with this bet on yourself product, it’s really marketed itself. There seems to be a lot of buzz around the industry around this product. And it’s really been through word of mouth and it’s worked out for us really well. We had someone that you employ actually, Malcolm, that did a piece for our bet builder, that should be going live somewhere very soon. So yes, thank you for that.

Ryan Knuppel:
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, any way we can help, absolutely happy to do that. But, okay, awesome. Yeah, so lots going on there. What else? What else did I miss? I mean, I’m sure I missed some things. Like I told you, this is not very scripted, so what else do you want to say? What else do we need to talk about? Anything coming up that you want to bring to attention?

Kenny Jang:
I’m not sure. Yeah, we’ve covered a good deal of what we do. Yeah, let’s just say there’s quite a lot of deals that’s happening in the background and you guys should be seeing that through LinkedIn, through the IGB or the relevant articles and the channels soon.

Ryan Knuppel:
Well, we’ll definitely be watching the press releases for those announcements. We’ll definitely keep our eye on those and make sure we distribute those once they do come out. And then who knows, hopefully you can be on episode 180 in 6 to 12 months, we’ll get you back on here and give an update at some point. But for now, Kenny, that’s about all I have. I do like to ask this, this is more of a on the spot kind of question, but for potential business founders and owners and people looking to just start something, iGaming or not, what’s one piece of advice you would give a new entrepreneur looking to start their business product service, whatever they’re looking to start? One, just piece of advice in general?

Kenny Jang:
Yeah. Coming with a genuine interest in the gaming business, we see a lot of companies who understand the market in terms of the financial gains to be had. But they don’t understand the gamers, they don’t understand the industry. And it comes across as very disingenuine if you don’t have that background interest in the products or the gaming industry. So to have that initial interest in the industry goes a long way, and it’s going to pay off for you when you start talking to these people and when you start making connections. When you build these networks, that’s all going to come together when people can tell you’re really excited about the industry going forward, and you have a genuine belief in your own products.

Ryan Knuppel:
To piggyback on that, there’s nothing better than talking to someone that you can tell is super passionate and knowledgeable and just into what they’re doing, right? I mean, that kind of drives energy across everyone in that whole conversation, so a great piece of advice, great tip for future entrepreneurs, because there’s maybe a lot listening and there’s a lot of lessons to be learned. So I always like to pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs and founders like yourself. So Kenny, really appreciate that. Hey, if the audience or anybody wants to get ahold of you, wants to contact Sportsflare, learn more about what you guys got going on, what’s the best channel to get a hold of you guys?

Kenny Jang:
Yeah. Always the sportsplayer.io. We can find a contact form there, or you can just reach out to me on LinkedIn, we’re all pretty active on there. Kenny Jang on LinkedIn is pretty easy.

Ryan Knuppel:
There we go. This is Kenny Jang, the founder of Sportsflare. Kenny, really appreciate your time. Go get some sleep, it’s probably almost 1:30 AM there. Go grab some sleep, all right?

Kenny Jang:
Awesome. Thanks for listening, Ryan. Been fun.

Ryan Knuppel:
Absolutely. I wish you best of luck and I’ll be keeping an eye on what’s going on with all your products. So thank you, Kenny. Really appreciate it. That was Kenny Jang, the founder of Sportsflare. Hey everybody, thanks for tuning in, episode 136 of the Knup Sports Show. We have a lot going on, we’re going to have other guests coming on. If you’d like to be a guest on this show or you know someone that would make a perfect guest, we like to interview sports business professionals, leaders, executives, people in our iGaming, Esports, sports betting, you name it. We like to kind of talk to those people and just bring some attention to what they have going on. But then also learn a little bit as you saw there from Kenny, giving us some piece of advice on business.

Ryan Knuppel:
And who knows, listening to this type of content can really spark some creativity in what you’re doing, so appreciate that. If you want to be on, know somebody that wants to be on, just get a hold of us over at knupsolutions.com. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m Ryan Knuppel, find me out there on LinkedIn. I’m always engaged out there, so shoot me a message, we can chat out there. Until next time, stay safe, have a great one. I’m Ryan Knuppel checking out. Talk to you soon. Bye bye.

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Ryan is a veteran to the sports betting industry. He owns and operates Knup Solutions where they provide the highest quality sports betting and igaming content to affiliates and operators. His contributions on Knup Sports show his pure knowledge and love for the sports and gaming industry.

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