For Spencer and Bradley Kronthal, Fanalysts started with a spreadsheet.
The cofounders, who are brothers, set out to build an analytics system for sports betting. Instead of the expert picks and algorithms that were out there, they wanted to provide a research platform that let fans create their own approach.
The idea was that “you could build a strategy around specific attributes for a team winning, and then you could actually test and see how it worked based off historical data and see what games you should bet on in the upcoming days and weeks,” Spencer Kronthal, of Pikesville, told Technical.ly.
The cofounders put together an Excel spreadsheet and assembled a team of four people to build. Having no coding background, they set out to work with others to bring the app to life. Of course, plenty of successful founders don’t have a tech background, an at the beginning, many consider local resources. For Fanalysts, they tried contracting a developer or overseas team, but couldn’t find the right logistical fit.
In a time of remote work and booming entrepreneurship, they found that options were available to seek out resources beyond their own cities.
They ended up working with Launchpeer, a Charleston-based incubator that works with founders from around the country. Through the company’s accelerator program, they worked on all aspects of the business toward launch.
“Not only did they help us shore up our business plan and help us put together a better route to fundraising, but we’re now working with them to develop the product,” Kronthal said.
“We help really, really early-stage startups go from just having an idea to having a built product launched and then raising their first round of funding from investors.”
That’s the model for Launchpeer. It started six years ago as a software development agency, but found through its work with early-stage teams that startups needed help with more than just technology. They had to consider whether a new piece of technology had a viable market and how to make it sticky for users. Each startup was unique, and founders brought different strengths that could help a company. There was also the matter of how to position it in the market and attract investors in the early stages, when there isn’t yet revenue.
With its own team that assists on each of these levels, it’s now a hybrid between an accelerator and an agency that works alongside non-technical founding teams from the “napkin sketch” stage, said CEO Jake Hare.
“We help really, really early-stage startups go from just having an idea to having a built product launched and then raising their first round of funding from investors,” Hare told Technical.ly.
It’s designed as a part-time program where founders spend about eight to 10 hours a week working on their startup alongside a full-time role. Launchpeer’s team helps with things like vetting and defining the idea, branding, design, scoping an initial version of the product, building a prototype and helping to raise the funding. It charges an upfront fee of $15,000, and then takes a portion of the initial funding raised. It does not take equity.
Kronthal said Launchpeer delivered on everything they team said it would do.
“They have a very solid path where they keep you on track, make sure you’re hitting your goals, and try to take some of the luck of the equation of getting to where you need to be,” Kronthal said.
That work allowed Fanalysts to move toward launch. The team is now working on a second phase of work with Launchpeer to build out a fuller version of the product, which is set for a beta version launch in September. It comes at a time when online sports betting will soon be legalized in Maryland, and is becoming more visible through apps to place bets and in-game ads.
Fanalyst’s web app is designed to provide fans with information about specific parameters they want in a team. So if they’re seeking a team with good quarterback play that creates turnovers, Fanalysts will provide data on the key stats, as well as info about win percentages and returns on bets placed.
Like the cofounders, fans may not have the coding skills to create such a system. But now they have one they can put in their hands. In the end, Kronthal said, the idea is to democratize analytics and offer more transparency in a growing industry that has been known to take advantage of customers.
“Our goal is to have you make a more informed bet,” he said.