Jonathan Bierig of Ultimate Odds joins the show to discuss their up and coming fantasy sports meets sports betting platform.

Ryan Knuppel

Hey, what’s going on everybody. Ryan Knuppel here in Knup Sports Show Episode 158. Excited that you’re here, listening in, tuning in as you do each and every time. Really appreciate the attention you give the show. It’s been a while since we’ve had a show, but we have another great guest here today. Excited to jump in and understand a little bit of what’s going on with this company and this individual. But first of all, if you guys have any questions, make sure you put it in the comments of wherever you’re watching this. We’ll circle back, we’ll address them as we can and go from there. All right. Without further ado, I’m going to bring on my guest today. Today, I got Jonathan Bierig. Jonathan’s with Ultimate Odds. How are you, Jonathan?

Jonathan Bierig

How’s it going, Ryan? Really happy to be here. Thank you to having me.

Ryan Knuppel

Excited to have you as well. Excited to hear your story and really what’s going on. But first of all, how are things treating you up in Philadelphia, right? Up in your neck of the woods?

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, not too bad. We got good weather right now, so just enjoying it. Usually we don’t have the best weather, so right now, just embracing and what we have and going with it. Currently, right now, in the office, hopefully get out and enjoy the sun pretty soon.

Ryan Knuppel

Winding down a little bit from the, I always like to call it, my super bowl week. It’s like March Madness week was last week and man, it just like a flurry of activity and games, and for a sports fan, the action that happens on that March Madness week is amazing. Did you get to enjoy that a little bit as well?

Jonathan Bierig

Enjoy is an interesting word, because my bracket is busted. I had Auburn, so Miami actually took them down, but I know that the games are coming down here I think on Friday and Sunday. I think Purdue’s playing here and UCLA and UNC, so maybe, I’ll check it out if I can. But super exciting timing and March Madness is one of my favorite times for sure. I mean, it’s crazy. I mean you could really see just the games, there’s no one’s safe pretty much, so it’s been fun.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Jonathan Bierig

Nonetheless, no bracket for me.

Ryan Knuppel

It’s always a good time. Always a good time and my brackets are busted as well, but I think everybody’s are, so it’s like, “Who’s are busted more? Who knows?” We-

Jonathan Bierig

Who do you have?

Ryan Knuppel

You know what? I was telling some people earlier that this is the first year I didn’t actually do a bracket of integrity. Typically, I’ll do a bracket of integrity like, “This is my bracket and I’ll put it everywhere.” For some reason this year I was in so many different contests that I was just like, “Bracket, bracket, bracket, bracket” and I was just picking different brackets and so it’s kind of cheating. I have all sorts of different people winning. I think if you would’ve asked me at the very, very beginning, I probably would’ve said maybe Kentucky or Gonzaga are my two favorites. Kentucky already let me down. I did like Kansas a little bit and I still like them. They’re looking good, but how about you? Did you have a firm winner?

Jonathan Bierig

I got one bracket. I have Arizona winning, but if I had to choose, I think Arizona will win still, but I do have Nova as a dark horse. I think Villanova’s got a good system. I like their point guard Gillespie, number two, he’s pretty good so I don’t know. I’m choosing between Nova and Arizona for now.

Ryan Knuppel

Well, at this point I’ll be cheering for you as well. I think those are two good options. So let’s dive right in here, man.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, absolutely.

Ryan Knuppel

I want to jump in, I want to learn a little bit about you from, it was the first time we met and listen, looked like a young kid, right? Rare and ready to go. I’m excited to hear your path to get to where you are today. So tell us a little bit about yourself, your journey to get to where you are with Ultimate Odds.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, really it started about two years ago. I was originally doing real estate and I think that’s when I noticed that, that really wasn’t for me, that path and through that I found more of my entrepreneurial spirit and started to really enjoy doing my own thing. Then me and my co-founder Justin really came together, wanted to start something, and we got started in the odds comparison area. That’s when we originally started and we really went forward with that and built some connections, created an affiliate network. Through that, we met a lot of really, really great people and with within that time period, we noticed that there was a lot of competition and not much differentiation within that sector of the market specifically.

Jonathan Bierig

So we adjusted and pivoted from that point after really talking to a couple people. Mainly Seth Young, one of the folks that we spoke to and he really gave us a pretty good criticism. I think part of our biggest point of where we really shifted everything was taking that criticism rather than pushing it to the side. We really took that criticism and understood that people within the industry knew what was lacking and what wasn’t, so we took that.

Jonathan Bierig

Couple months later, I went back to him and told him what we were doing and he was excited about it. But what we really pivoted to and, partly I think this all ties together with my path, is me being me and both my co-founder being avid sports fans and sports betters alike, we always ended up doing the same thing at the end of the day and that was talking about and comparing either our bets or our fantasy. I mean, fantasy for us was religion.

Jonathan Bierig

Fantasy is obviously a yearly thing and we did this all the time, but the amount of time that we spent on it was something that we really focused on with what we were building at Ultimate Odds. So between being always in the middle of it and comparing and just trash talking, which is basis of sports and sports betting as always, we came up with Ultimate Odds, which basically brings the fantasy space and the sports betting space together, by putting sports betting in a fantasy format.

Jonathan Bierig

When I say that, you basically are able to do two things. You’re able to create a daily and you’re able to create a season long. What happens is, season long for example, you would basically… Say me, you and eight other people wanted to create a fantasy like league, with sports bets instead of starting positions like QB, wide receiver and tight end, you have moneyline, over, under, spread and in flex. With those positions, what happens is the point system is based off of the odds, and so if you have the Bucs moneyline, say you’re doing a season long and it’s week two and the Bucs are playing the Rams and you don’t like the Bucs, you can put them on your bench and go to the waiver wire and someone in your league might not have the Jets.

Jonathan Bierig

Listen, I’m never going to say, “bet the Jets,” but if you like them for a specific week and you like their odds and you put them on your starting lineup, say the Jets hit and the three other bets that you have in your lineup hit, and you end up with a total of plus 1000, your friend has plus 600, you’d win that week.

Jonathan Bierig

Then we also offer a daily version of this, and so essentially, it’s not drafting, you basically pick your lineup of bets and you’ll have basically like a parlay and your friend, or up to a thousand people really in a pool, will create their own parlays and whoever has the highest odds at the end of the game or matchup would win the initial buy-in.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Jonathan Bierig

That’s really how it works.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s a cool concept. I really like that. I think you did a very good job of explaining that as well, so I appreciate you leading me through this already. You explained what the product is and what you guys are doing. That’s really cool, so where are you at in the life cycle of this? I mean, are you guys launched and live and rocking and rolling? Are you in beta mode? Where are you guys at currently?

Jonathan Bierig

Definitely. I mean, right now at this point, we’re in this great stage of just we’re really taking in all the information that we’re getting from our customers and people that we speak to. Our investors and advisors and we’re still building. Our plan right now is for NFL season to have a full launch and be able to really enjoy that side of betting because that’s my favorite time as well and so we’ll be looking to launch then. But right now, we’re really building based off of what we think is built for our customers and I like to say that I’m building this for myself. This is something that me and both my co-founder really want to build for ourself. This is something we feel that we want to do and so it makes it a lot easier. You’re not building something for another person. This is something that you want to be doing so it’s an enjoyable process.

Jonathan Bierig

Right now, we just closed our seed fundraising round and so we’re going off of that and we’re really in the lab right now just trying to get development done, obviously focusing on some of the important things that we want to work on.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Congrats on that. I mean, closing that round is a big deal and it’s a big step to be able to bring to life what you’re doing in business. I’m sure you guys have a fun next three to four to five months. I always consider these next few months like, “Ah, it’s a breather time in sports,” but I mean, when you’re going hard at developing something, that’s whole other mindset. You got to be head down and you’re shooting for that football goal, which is always, comes up faster than you think, right?

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, man. At this point right now, this is my season. So they have NFL season, they have NBA season, this is our season right now. This is the Ultimate Odds season.

Ryan Knuppel

The Jonathan season.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, exactly. I mean, we’re really right now, just like… There’s no off season at this point, but we’re okay with that. I mean, to be honest, we’re both very passionate about what we’re doing and so it makes it very easy. I think the industry has treated us really well and there’s some people that I’ve really been able to learn from and that’s partly why this has become such a great experience is the people that we’ve surrounded ourselves with, whether it be our investors or our advisors or our mentors, or just our friends that really have supported us to this point. I think that’s really what makes this a fun and experience overall. So it doesn’t really feel like work. It just feels like we really want to get this thing out here.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. And it really is a unique model, like you were alluding to earlier, getting some great advice, from some great people in the industry, is always a good thing. And sounds like you guys are capitalizing on that and really pivoting, shifting, to making something that is unique and I say needed in the industry, I guess we don’t know that until we get it out there and then see, right? But it feels like something that really has a little differentiator to it and could get some legs.

Ryan Knuppel

Let’s move on a little bit to the business side of it from your side, because you mentioned being an affiliate, you mentioned some other things like that. So what’s the business model look like for you guys here? I mean, are you looking for advertisers? Are you truly an affiliate where you’re getting people signed up and things of that nature? Tell me a little bit about that with you guys.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, for sure. So we actually have two different models right now. Obviously with the daily being the daily and the season long being a season long and the buy-ins and all that stuff, but we actually feel as though Ultimate odds is a great educator for new sports betters and newcomers to the industry where you really get to learn the lines, the odds, the difference in the game match ups and how they affect the odds and all those things, especially when you’re setting a lineup. And you don’t have a huge risk as much as you would.

Jonathan Bierig

If you were to place $100 parlay as a new better, and you lost it, and let’s be honest, everyone wants to place that parlay to make a million dollars. That’s the American dream, the new American dream, or the sports better dream. But everyone wants to place that bet but if you’re going on Ultimate Odds and you start a league with your friends and you have week after week to correct yourself. So you’re really able to learn without burning a hole through your pockets, but to that point, other than that, we’re really trying to create an educational space and so, with that being said, we feel as though we’re a good gateway into regular sports betting, which is why we are connected with many of the sports books as well, as an affiliate.

Jonathan Bierig

So what our goal is to be able to really be able to bring people… Say, you have your team and we send you a notification saying, “Hey, you can place this bet. Based off of your team, you can get this boosted bet on a sports book.” That’s the goal is to be able to give people the option and do that, and we partnered with many of the sports books to be able to do that. And so we don’t see ourselves as necessarily competing with these big guys. I think we can work off of each other, especially based off of the fact that a lot of our users may be people who are new to the industry, and so that’s our goal over there.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s awesome. One of the big challenges that companies face in this space and I’m sure, I want to hear your thoughts on this and how you guys are addressing this, but just the legalization and regulation and all of the above across all the different states and things of that nature is crazy. With you guys, you’re not taking bets, and so how does that work from a… But this will be real money, right? This isn’t free to play. This will be real money where they’re putting money into a fantasy game, but it has the betting behind it. Talk a little bit about the regulation side. I mean, I know you’re obviously probably not a lawyer or anything, but talk a little bit about the challenges in that space that you guys have experienced and how you’re addressing it.

Jonathan Bierig

It’s funny you say, I feel like I might be a lawyer at this point, just from going through all this stuff already and just having to go through the weeds and talk about a maze. I mean, just figuring out what to do and how to do it. Yeah, no. So we really see ourselves as more of a fantasy product, being that it is more game of skill, than game of chance, because at this point, you’re really picking your lineups and the outcome of the matches aren’t based on the outcome of the games. They’re more based off of the points that you accumulate, and so whoever accumulates the most points, you can hit all your bets and you can still lose.

Jonathan Bierig

That’s not really based off of just the game itself, and so it is more of a game of skill. We’re trying to go through that path right now and be able to be legal in most US states. Similarly to companies like PrizePicks where you’re able to do that and place real money bets. So that’s really the plan right now. And just making sure that we cover all our bases and that’s the goal.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. That’s cool and you’re right. It is a maze and I feel the same way, right?It’s like, I’m not a lawyer, but I feel like, since I’ve like dived into all of the stuff all the time, I almost feel like I can speak in that language a little bit somehow or some way.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel

But I give you props for tackling it that way, head on. I mean, honestly it shows the true entrepreneurial spirit in you and like, “Hey, you’re going to tackle whatever you need to make the company successful,” which in this space, that is one of the right them, right. Even on the affiliate side, I mean, going down the affiliate vendor licenses and all the states and all of the above, I mean, feels like a mess sometimes as well.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah. We, we actually had to do that in the beginning, the early stages of our company originally, with the affiliate side we had to get and thanks to PointsBet but for originally helping us get one of the licenses in New Jersey. We went through that process as well and all the paperwork and stuff, but yeah, as a founder, I think both me and my co-founder noticed that if you really want your company to succeed, you have to be a master of all trades and a Jack of all trades. So you really need to be able to speak code when you never did and you have to be able to be a lawyer on Tuesday, be a technical founder on Monday. On Wednesday, you got to be a marketer. And it’s just like that.

Jonathan Bierig

And then at the same time, you have to be mentally sane and you need to be prepared for all the things that come your way. I mean, these things happen every day. There is no, as a founder and being in a startup, there’s no nine to five, it’s when you wake up or even before you wake up, till you go to sleep, there might be something that comes up and you just have to be prepared for it. I think that’s what it is and being teachable and understanding that there’s people in the industry who may know more and who have other experiences that you can really learn from it. Use that to propel your business, rather than trying to go against the grain and just being like, “Yeah, I can do this myself.” That’s not the mentality you need to have.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s great advice. I mean, really good advice. I didn’t ask for advice for everyone, but that was going to be one of the questions was, what advice would you have? I don’t even have to ask that question now, because you definitely hit the nail on the head and showed some things that you need to focus on as an entrepreneur or the leader of a business. I mean, it doesn’t stop. It’s always something and so that’s pretty cool.

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel

Where are you guys headed? I mean, you got your funding. You got your round of funding. You’re heading into major developmental stage here over the next four to five months. Is that just it? I mean, are there… I guess to rephrase the question, maybe somebody watching this can help you guys in some way or another, what are some ways that maybe somebody can help? What are you looking for over the next while?

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I mean really, right now, we’re obviously in the development stage, but right now we’re also looking at partnerships, cool partnerships that we can make. We want to really innovate the space as much as possible, within our scope obviously. So we like to make cool partnerships and find cool ways to really change things up a little bit, really trying to build a community around what we’re building, and so beyond that, being active on social media, we’re trying to do that and create some cool ambassadors situations and build an affiliate side of everything. That’s really what we’re working on.

Jonathan Bierig

Aside from that, we want to have the best tech and we’re trying to figure out who offers what and how we can build it in house and how we can build it with other people, and so that’s partly what we’re doing. Obviously, as a founder, you have to look forward. You have to be in the present, you also have to be looking forward, and so we’re always thinking of ways to adjust and adapt to what’s happening.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. Well, Jonathan, I really appreciate you being here. I know you’re a busy guy wearing all these hats. I will let you go, but any last words for everybody? Any last words, thoughts, questions, comments about what’s going on with you guys?

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah. I just really appreciate you having me on and I love what you do and so thank you once again. Like I said, if anybody wants to reach out, I’m a big fan of taking calls and whatnot. That’s how I got into the industry, just by people being nice and people really opening up to me. So, on that note, if anyone listening or anybody really just wants to have that conversation, I’d love to. Like I said, thanks for having me on and looking forward to keeping up with you guys.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah. What’s the best avenue to get a hold of you guys. I know website is ultodds.com, correct?

Jonathan Bierig

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s where they find out a little bit more about what you guys got going on, I’m sure, but what’s the best channel to get ahold of you guys, if they’re wanting to talk to you?

Jonathan Bierig

Yeah. I’m a big LinkedIn guy. When I first started, I used to be all over LinkedIn, and so LinkedIn’s great. Jonathan Bierig and then you have our website, of course. Our Instagram’s ultoddsofficial and then our Twitter’s @ultodds. Then any other way, if you see my name on anything, I can be reached. As a founder, you got to be on your phone at all times, so just at anytime, so really anybody. I appreciate it.

Ryan Knuppel

Cool. I love it. That’s awesome. We’ll make sure we put all those links in the show notes so you guys can click on those, get out there and get a hold of Jonathan. I really encourage anybody watching this to do so. One of the great guys in the industry, just grinding away, doing some good things. I’m excited to see where this app and this product leads over the next six to nine months. I think it’s going to be amazing. So, Jonathan, I wish you the best of luck. I Thank you for being here and really appreciate it.

Jonathan Bierig

Thank you very much.

Ryan Knuppel

All right. Take care.

Ryan Knuppel

All right. That was Jonathan Bierig of ultodds, Ultimate Odds app coming out soon. I’m excited to see where that leads. Hey, thank you guys so much for tuning in. This was Knup Sports Show, Episode 158. We’ll be back with 159 shortly, I’m sure. But until then, you guys stay safe and if you need anything, I’m Ryan Knuppel out on all the channels, LinkedIn, any of the social media, I’m out at Knup or Ryan Knuppel. Take care, stay safe, until next time, well, have a great one. Bye-bye.

 

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