Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?
First off I admire anyone who goes down the entrepreneurial path, it’s extremely hard and it changes your life, so major props are in order for every entrepreneur!! With that said there’s a few that stand out as I really admire entrepreneurs who show an extreme willingness to persevere and push the business forward. I’ve known Tom Coburn for years and he’s definitely top of mind. Tom started Jebbit right out of school and just kept pushing the business, doing whatever it took to get to the next stage. Love what he’s done. I’m a big fan of Dan Porter at Overtime, who’s one of a kind in disruptive media platforms, as well as Sarah Leary of Nextdoor. Sarah pivoted an early sports community into what’s now a $2B valued Nextdoor, through hard work, diligence, and teamwork. Lastly, Jason Robins is amazing and the story the DraftKings is legendary. He led the team through tremendous obstacles to disrupt the industry, and everyone knows where they are headed next. I could probably name 100 more entrepreneurs I admire, but these ones top the list!
Why did you start SportsMe? What is it about SportsMe that makes you want to invest your time in it?
We started SportsMe with an eye on disrupting an industry we love to solve our own shared problems. The good news was that it happened to also be a massive market opportunity from tectonic shifts in consumer behavior. YC founder Paul Graham said it best, the best companies happen when you solve a problem you have, or friends and family have. With our founding team having these similar problems, and we set out to fix it. What certainly makes it special is we’re a team full of die hard sports fans, so the mission hits home for us, and we’re building something we love; it’s amazing how much this team is empowered by working on this.
What motivates you?
When we launched our alpha test and users continuously reached out to me (texts, DM, email- I talked to almost all of them) telling me how SportsMe made their life better as a fan while also connecting and making friends through the community- that motivated me. Our founding team is obsessed with the mission, but to hear this from early users was truly special and amplified that motivation to build this towards the vision.
What do you like to do in your free time away from SportsMe?
Free time? What’s that? Joking, but I try and stay pretty active in my time away. Most of the time it’s hanging out with my wife and family, working out, reading, playing hoops, and lots of cooking! Recently I started listening to more podcasts, soaking up everything I can from other founders, just learning what I can on different topics. I also love sports (shocker), so watching, fantasy, betting (thank you draftKings and New Hampshire!), and all sports content are extremely high on the list of things I do!
What is one recent challenge you solved and how?
We’re in startup life so every day is a challenge. The key for the team and I is to fail, learn, adapt, and focus on priorities. By doing this it really allows us to get smarter and more efficient at overcoming challenges. A specific issue early on was that the core interaction features in our platform held users back from wanting to engage, share, interact more, and many other issues; they told us this often. As the team got together to focus on the tech rebuild, we spent a LOT of time analyzing users frustrations and the current challenges, talking to users and other fans, while getting insight from our advisors/investors who had world class experience in that area. Our users pain played a massive role in Derrick’s (co-founder) creativity with what tech was possible as we iterated the core user interaction which helped us realize and unlock multiple additional revenue streams, feature ideas, and our ability to solve additional pains as a valuable tool.
Jeff Rubin is an entrepreneur and Co-Founder that helped start SportsMe, a social platform and marketplace that connects and empowers sports fans, gives them a voice, and incentivizes fandom.