Steve Rubenfaer joins the show to talk about his app that helps bettors learn how good or bad they are at sports betting. Learn about where BettorTakes is now and where they are headed in the future!

RYAN KNUPPEL

Hey, what’s going one everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show Episode 187, and the very first show from 2023, so I’m super excited to be back with everyone. Hope you all had a great holiday, great New Year. I know I did, I got to spend some time in the mountains in Tennessee and just kinda relaxed up there with the family, disconnected from the work world a little bit, so that was amazing, but now back at it. Um, hopefully, you’re all having a very productive 2023 like we are at Knup Solutions. But, uh, again, super excited to bring you a lot more guests this year. This is the first one, Episode 187. Man, we’re really creeping up to 200 here soon, but without further ado, I’m gonna go ahead and bring on our special guest today, I’m excited to have him on. Steve Rubenfaer of BettorTakes. Steve, are you with me?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Hi, I am with you, man. I am with you 100%, man.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing. Thanks for coming on, Steve. I’m excited to learn your story and your journey, but first off, how was your New Year, man?

STEVE RUBENFAER

My New Year was pretty mellow. I’m, uh, currently in a small Mexican pueblo that’s, you know, but it was okay, just a little mellow.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s good. Hey, mellow is good sometimes. Our New Year was good as well. Sometimes we like to go out and do the whole going on thing, but this year it was like, “Man, just, let’s just stay in, let’s watch the shows that are on, the music and stuff that’s going on, and just kind of chill,” so, mellow is good sometimes.

STEVE RUBENFAER

I was probably in bed by 11.

RYAN KNUPPEL

[Laughs] Saw the ball drop wherever you were at, right? Saw it on tape, on delay, whatever it was. But, well cool Steve. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself before we dive in to BettorTakes. I like to understand what makes you tick and maybe some of the experiences you’ve had that kinda led you to BettorTakes, so want you to tell us a little about you and your past first.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Okay. So, I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I grew up in Detroit, I’ve lived in a lot of cities in America, and I’ve just started different businesses my whole life. I’v never really had a real job. I’ve always started businesses from the ground up, employee number one, and I’ve just built up businesses from scratch. And that’s very different, diverse businesses, I don’t really have an industry that I, um, that I frequent, but I just have had some ideas in the past and turned them into realities. And when the Supreme Court legalized gambling, for some reason I got it into my head to start betting college basketball, which I hadn’t done for a very long time, but I just thought it would be cool to bet college basketball, and I started betting college basketball and really wanted to take a look at how I was doing. I’m very analytical, so I’ve always founded companies, but I’m kind of the spreadsheet guy, I’m kind of more a spreadsheet kind of guy, I’m very into data and numbers, so I, um, when I started betting, I thought I would take a look at how I was doing with various categories, or, I just wanted to take a look at how I was doing betting on college basketball, and I went online in search of some software tools that could tell me what my strengths were or how I was doing in certain categories, and I was just really shocked to not find anything. This was a couple years ago. I mean, there were some rudimentary bet trackers, which just kind of provided a counting a functions, so if you’re being won or lost a little bit, but they don’t really tell you where your expertise lies, and, um, you know, I just had another one of my dumb ideas: “Hey, someone should build this, someone should make this”. You know, it’s a growing industry, people are gonna want to know, there’s gotta be some other people like me out there, just people who want to know how they’re doing and want to be able to dissect their play, and um, two years later we’ve finally come to market last week, and that’s been, really been the road. It was really created, I created this whole thing just so I can see how I do in college basketball. I just really, and this is the first season I’ve used it, and I have to say it phenomenal, it’s really great everyday, using the tool to kind of tweak my bets a little bit. But yeah, I’ve just come from an entrepreneurial background, I’ve always started businesses from scratch, and I just kind of had this brainstorm idea, and thought it was such a great industry, obviously, it’s an industry with some incredible growth, it’s like got this, I mean, how many industries have this built-in growth of states legalizing things where you know your market is gonna go up? I mean, that’s super rare, right?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, yeah.

STEVE RUBENFAER

So, um, yeah, so that’s my background. I’m just an entrepreneur, I’ve just started businesses my whole life, and that led me to where I am now.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s a cool path and a cool angle. It’s actually different than most of the guests that ar eon this show, you know, that typically have the background in the industry that they’re in, and you more are the entrepreneur that’s looking to solve problems in whatever space that makes sense, and now that happens to be sports betting. I love that idea that, you know, “Hey, I saw a problem that I wanted fixed and I’m going to create a business around it.” I just think that’s such a, when you’re doing something like that, it’s going to be more likely to succeed because you’re really there to fix your own problem. One of my first questions is, are you a good college basketball bettor? You’ve analyzed that now, so are you? [Laughs].

STEVE RUBENFAER

Yeah, I’m decent. I’m winning money, I’ve won money four years in a row now. Actually, the first year maybe not, but three years in a row I’m winning, I’m winning this year, my app is really helping me out and showing me where, you know, my strengths lie, but yeah, I’m definitely, I can solidly say I am a winning college basketball player. [Inaudible] I really do well.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s cool. So let’s talk a little bit more about the product itself. Um, you know, so BettorTakes, at BettorTakes.com. Um, tell us a little bit more about the product, and I know you have Apple apps and an Android app, and all of the above, but tell us a little more about it.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Okay. So, slight correction there, we do have Apple app in the App Store, BettorTakes. If you’re on Android, we’ll be there soon, but it’s not BettorTakes.com, it’s actually m.BettorTakes.com to access the mobile site.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Got it, got it.

STEVE RUBENFAER

But, um, basically, yeah, it’s a site that just dissects. It looks through your past history and finds your strengths and weaknesses, and really helps uncover your patterns and biases, and it’s basically, um, it’s a, you know, and the product is out right now, that’s live, is just a very predictive tool. We have an incredible roadmap with a lot of features we want to add, but right now, we have our basic tool live, and the way it works is you enter a prediction. Like tonight, you might say I like Purdue. We look through our algo, it combs your past history, your past betting history, finds similar situations to the one right now, and distills a whole bunch of variables into a number that we call your edge score. And your edge score is a measure of your proficiency in that particular bet. And there’s no other variables in it except for your betting history. We don’t have an opinion about the game, or the team, or we don’t know if it’s a good bet or bad bet, there’s no other data in the algo except how you do in these situations. So you say I like Purdue tonight, and we look through your history and say your edge score for this is 57, or 43. And a 50 means that you have no edge, it’s kind of like a coin flip. And you can really, um, your edge scores are varied, like, sometimes I’ll put in 10 bets in college basketball and there’s a huge range depending on different situations because there’s a lot of variables in there. And then, when you see how you do at something, you can make a more informed decision. You can decide to bet less, bet more, you bet the same, it’s just another variable, another piece of data. And, you know, the theory is that there’s just, you know, our lives are probably ruled by psychological factors and by our unconscious more than we think, right? We think we’re in control of making our own decisions, but maybe there’s something else going on, so there’s a lot that, um, you know, and there’s no reason why that’s not true in our bets as well. You know, we make bets, and those bets come from our thought process, and our thought process has a lot of angles to it, and there might be some that we don’t know. So the point of this is to show you your patterns or your biases and things that you might have forgotten, you know like maybe you’re stuck on home team with points, you bet home team with points a lot because it won three games in a row for you four years ago, but maybe that’s not doing well for you right now, or maybe, you know, one of the surprising things for me, like I said, I’ve always been the entrepreneur, I’ve always started from scratch. Not surprisingly, 90% of my bets on college basketball are the underdog, like I’m always betting underdogs because I identify with the underdog.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, nature, yeah.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Right? I don’t want to see Duke and Carolina win, you know, I wanna see Georgia Tech, I wanna see Vanderbilt. So, I was really surprised to run my data and see how well I do betting favorites. So, you know, I had no idea that I was better with favorites than underdogs, and that made me open up to more favored possibilities, you know, gave me a lot more opportunity to make money. So, basically, that’s basically the first tool. You make a prediction, it looks through your history, it tells you your expertise in that, and then you can decide to go with that whatever you want with that information.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Love it. Love it. That’s very very powerful, and that’s something, you know, as a consumer, as a bettor, you know, you always want to have the most information, and some of us don’t want to face the facts, we don’t want to face our biases, but information is power, and when you’re, if you’re treating sports betting as more of sports investing, if you’re actually treating it as, “I wanna try to make money doing this”, data is power and having access to that through BettorTakes I’m assuming just really helps that. So, um, yeah, you said that’s the first tool, is there other tools, other ways of using it?

STEVE RUBENFAER

We have a crazy amount of stuff in the pipeline. So right now, the site has that and it’s got a great stats stream where you can just see how you do for, I mean, there’s nothing like our stats, I don’t know why no one has it, it’s not a very complicated thing, but there’s not stats stream like ours. You can see how you do by conference, by team, um, by underdog, favorites, small favorite, big favorite, it just drills down. We also have cool social features. Our algo is very conducive to contests, to comparing people also. So it’s not only about yourself, we have some fun social features too, and the best thing about everything I’ve told you is it’s all free.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Wow. I was gonna get there, but okay. Cool.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Yeah, so everything there is free. In the future, the road map, the cool things we have, what’s up next is we’re gonna make more recommendations of bets. So you’re gonna say, “I like Purdue -3” or whatever, and we’re gonna say, “You know what? That’s not such a great bet for you, but when you make these kind of bets they come out smoking, so bet Purdue in the first half, or bet the under”. So we’re gonna have a lot of cross-correlations, that’s gonna cost a little money.

RYAN KNUPPEL

A premium, like a little premium product. Yeah, no I like that business model, for sure. I was gonna ask kind of more about the business side of it and how that works, so it’s a freemium app, is that the word, freemium?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Yes. So freemium app. Right now, unfortunately for our revenue model…

RYAN KNUPPEL

It’s free. [Laughs].

STEVE RUBENFAER

[Laughs]. Everythign is free.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Well, you’ll get there. I mean, that’s how the business progresses. That’s how it progresses for sure. Hey, one question I had, um, and again, this may be, I’m curious how it works. Does a bettor have to actually enter their, like, enter it into your app, or does it integrate with any operators, or do they kind of have to repeat the bet? Or no, because they’re putting it in before they’re betting so you can analyze it. Yeah, I’m backtracking my question, because it’s not like it’s just tracking the bets they’re making, they actually want to analyze before they make it so they are entering it. So, expand on that, but yeah.

STEVE RUBENFAER

There are a few ways, and, like you said, we do have a direct connection to the operators, so we do have a direct eye to the operators. If you’re using on of the legal US sportsbooks, you can download your entire back history into our app, yeah, it’s pretty cool. If you don’t have that and you have your bets in a spreadsheet, we’ll do it for you. Maybe not forever, but while we’re young, we gotta do these kind of things. So if you have your bets in a certain format we can upload it, but if worst comes to worst, you have to start from scratch, you get pretty meaningful results. And I’ll tell you something, you know, one thing you said is, you know, everyone wants to win and do better, but even if you don’t care about the investing part of it, it’s fascinating to look at, it’s just amazing to look at your own data. It has value in itself, just the information in itself. So, if you have to, you know, enter from scratch, within a week or two, I mean after your first couple days it’s already interesting, you know what I mean?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, for sure. So tell me a little bit more about some of the premium, if you can, tell me a little bi more about some of the premium angles that you’re gonna be taking in the future, or just some of the other ideas for the future, what does the future of BettorTakes App look like?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Okay, so it’s gonna, you know, we’re committed to features that help improve you and help you be a better player, and in addition to the recommendation engine that I pointed have, we’re gonna have, down the road, what’s gonna be super, super cool, is our live betting feature. And, you know, the in-play betting is soon, if it’s not already, I’m sure it’s over half the bets already. So, in-play is going to be big for us, and the way it’s gonna work is you’re gonna put in some variables, and then when the bet gets to something that, where you have an advantage, it’s gonna tell you, it’s gonna say “Okay, Purdue instead of -3 is now +7. This is where you do well.”. So, we’re gonna have a live feature that proactively, based on your input, remember there’s no other data, just based on what you think will happen, it will tell you, you know, when is a good spot to pull the trigger. We also are gonna add player props, there’s so many player props, right? So if you think, um, you know, you might think that LeBron is gonna have a good game, or someone’s gonna have a good game, so we’ll incorporate that too. You might say, and another thing we’re gonna add is kind of a more narrative approach to the game. Instead of just saying “I wanna bet Purdue”, we’re gonna say “What do you think is gonna happen in the game?”. We’re gonna combine that with player props. So you might say, “Well, I think LeBron is gonna have a lot of, I think the Lakers are gonna score a lot, LeBron’s gonna have a great game”. And we’re just gonna add a lot of other variable like that, and there’ll be a whole bunch of output. We’ll say “Okay, then bet LeBron under himself, or bet this team”, so, just more of the same, more variables, and the live betting will be a big deal. We’ll add all those other sports, like golf, and tennis, and MMA, is that what it’s called?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yep, yep, yep.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Don’t know that one too much, but we’re gonna have that. Um, and we have international possibilities, I mean once we have, you know, European football, you know, that just opens up a huge, huge market, so it can work for any sport, and um, yeah, there’s a lot of places, our worldmap is crazy. We have so many features we want to add, and we have to kind of make some decisions. But, we’ll have insights. The first features we’re gonna have, the first subscription tier we’re gonna have is probably going to be a $10 tier, and it’s gonna have narrative insights, it’s gonna say [inaudible], or “Hey, we’re telling you that you have low edge scores in these bets and you’re still betting them, stop betting these.” Or, we’ll say “You’re doing really well in these situations or those situations”, so the first subscription tier is probably going to be more narrative, not really data driven, but more sentences, like “Hey, here’s what’s going on with your betting, here’s some things we want to point out to you”.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Sure. Very cool. So, so, Steve, being a lifelong entrepreneur, and you know, having many businesses that you started and you went through all these challenges across all these businesses, I’m sure you went through so many challenges. Now, what I want to specifically ask is what challenge have you seen starting up BettorTakes that maybe you didn’t prepare for or has just been a little more challenging than you thought it would be with this business specifically.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Well so far, everything has been better than I could ever imagine. We started this up, I started this up, you know, just me, I talked to some friends, this whole company, we’re 8 of us, it’s pretty much, it’s all people I’ve known for 20-30 years, or people they’ve known for 20-30 years. It’s all friends, it’s not, we’re not a bunch of 25 year olds that got $10 million. We’re a bunch of old guys that are doing this, I’m the only full-time employee, everyone else has a real job, but we have an incredible team. Everyone brings something completely different and unique to the table. We have two guys that have names in the sports world, that have names in the DFS world, and, um, what was your question?

RYAN KNUPPEL

Well, just challenge. What challenges do you have?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Why am I talking about this? So, anyway.

RYAN KNUPPEL

No, no, it’s all good.

STEVE RUBENFAER

I didn’t expect, you know, we haven’t gotten any outside funding, and one of my friends, we’ve been friends since we were 15, is a tech guy. He’s actually a CTO of a company, and he just started building it. We just found an offshore developer, he just started making it before I knew what was, I was like “How are we gonna get $2 million to build this thing and get some developers?”, and he just started building it. Yeah, so up until, so here’s the challenge. So, development, I mean, development is always tricky and always takes a while, but my expectations were like, that we couldn’t do without millions of dollars and we’re just self-funded, so we got this thing built, I mean it took a little while because everyone’s got full-time jobs and we have just one offshore coder, but we did it. We got it built, and it was, you know, easier than I thought, I mean it would’ve been easier if we had a lot of money, but now is the challenge. Right now is when we’re challenged. Because, you know, we built this thing, it was all about development, development, development, and we built it and we’re like “Yeah! It’s done!”. Now what? Now we’re the customers. So now, we just got smacked with marketing. So now, the challenge is, how do we, you know, we just don’t have a lot of money, how do we get the word out? How do we get customers to market this? So that the real, the real challenge here for us is customer acquisition. How do we get people to look at our program. Another challenge we have, actually, is getting people to understand it. It’s just a little, it’s just everything is so fast and easy these days, like, when we’re talking about it, it sounds easy, but when you really get down to an app, people have a time span of 4 seconds, right?

RYAN KNUPPEL

[Laughs]. Exactly.

STEVE RUBENFAER

So, kind of the on-ramping, like, how are we gonna get people to use it? How are we going to do that? That’s really one of our challenges. So our challenges are making it easy, and making it simple enough and, you know, getting our messaging, getting our narrative across in a very simple way, making the program super simple. I would say that’s the biggest challenge, is just, in our heads, we just think this is great, this is an awesome thing, but we have like 2 seconds to convey that to somebody because everyone’s gone in 2 seconds, right? So a big challenge has been taking our deep, deep, huge story, and just instilling it into a little 2 second thing so that people stay on the site.

RYAN KNUPPEL

I always call that “dumby it down”. Dumby it down, make it as simply as possible, but yes, marketing, that’s the name of the game, and I assumed that was going to be one of your challenges. So, for the people listening, the audience listening here, I always leave this open at the end of the show, what’s one ask you might have? What’s one thing that you’re looking for help with, I mean, is there anything that people listening, you may be able to say something, and, hey, somebody reaches out to Steve and can help you through something. Anything that you’re looking for, anything you’re looking for help that maybe specifically helps with marketing or maybe some other area fo your business?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Yeah, well, obviously we’re looking for a little bit of funding for the first time now, but really, what we need help, yeah, we need help marketing and we’re not, you know, I’m not, I’ve been very successful at growing companies without spending a ton of money on paid advertising and stuff. Old-school viral marketing is just have the best product, and people tell each other. We have an awesome product, we want things to go viral, and what we really, you know, we want to grow, basically we do need marketing help and the kind of help we want is we want to make relationships. And number 1, if you have, like, anyone that, like, there’s a lot of sites out there that cater to players and have, you know, sell data, sell information, and we would love to find someone to partner with, because that’s our demographic but our product is completely different. So, we want to find somebody, so if anyone has a site or knows a site that, obviously we’re talking to sites too, but basically we’re looking to sites that already cater to our demographic, which is people that bet on sports, and aren’t in competition with us, which is nobody because nobody hass anything like this, and we would love to partner with them, we would love some kind of partnership, so if you have a site that you think, and we can also, we also have a B to B angle, we also can power other sites, so if you have a site or know of a site that reaches our same demographic and think it might be a fit with your customers, that’s great, and we’re also looking to hire, at some point, we really don’t have the funds for it at the moment, but as far as marketing goes, we really want somebody that understands sports betting and can get on Discord and Twitter and hang out there, and just make some waves in the world. We’re not going to start off with paid advertising, so marketing for us is finding an individual that just wants to take this and run with it. So that’s what we’re really looking for. We’re looking for money, we’re looking for partnerships, and once we get money we’re looking for someone that can, I call it “agitating”. Someone that can get us out on the marketplace and create a name for us.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Sure, amazing. Awesome, Steve. Well, really good, really cool, I know for sake of time I want to let you go, I know we’re all busy people in the entrepreneurial world. I understand what that is, you’re always piecing together your time in different areas, so I really thank you for giving me some time here. If anybody did want to get ahold of you, what’s the best way of getting ahold of you yourself?

STEVE RUBENFAER

Super easy to email me at steve@BettorTakes.com, and don’t forget that BettorTakes app is on the App Store, and if you’re not on Apple, you need to go to m.BettorTakes.com, and it’s mobile only. We’re not on desktop at the moment.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Awesome. We’re gonna put those links out in the show notes and we’ll make sure everybody has those there to get ahold of you, Steve. Any last words, anything we forgot to say here?

STEVE RUBENFAER

No, just thanks a lot man, I really appreciate it, I’m glad I’m your first, I hope I set a good precedent for the year, and I hope it’s a great and prosperous new year for you.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright Steve, really appreciate you, thank for being here, and all the best of luck as we go through 2023.

STEVE RUBENFAER

Yeah, you too, man, take it easy.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, my friend.

Alright, that was Steve Rubenfaer, BettorTakes, ah, super cool product. I’m excited to check it out myself and play around with it and actually see how I do betting. Actually, I don’t know if I want to see how I do betting, but I’m sure it will open my eyes to some things that I’m not aware of for sure. We’ll put all those links out there in the show notes. You guys can go out, check those out. I urge you to check out BettoeTakes in this free version as of now, and then later the premium version will be coming as well. So, thank you all for tuning in. That was Episode 187. We’re gonna have a great 2023, lots of cool shows coming up as well. So, thanks for your support, and if you need anything, I’m Ryan Knuppel, @Knup out there on all the socials and LinkedIn, and all of the above. So, we’ll talk to you soon, take care, and stay safe. ‘Til next time, bye-bye.

Relevant Links:

  1. Find the BettorTakes app on the App Store.
  2. Find the BettorTakes mobile app online.
  3. You can connect with Steve through his email: steve@BettorTakes.com.

 

More Knup Sports Links

Contact Ryan Knuppel

  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanknuppel
  • Email: ryan@knupsolutions.com

 

Steve Rubenfaer