Chris Reynolds and Jason Angelides developed the TV remote control tool, which brought in-depth sports statistics – tracking game momentum and player statistics – to millions of Xfinity subscribers.
Now, less than two years after leaving senior positions at Comcast Corp., they want part of the online sports betting business.
Reynolds and Angelides launched the startup company Epoxy.ai in Bervin, which aims to personalizes the betting experience for 75 million sports fans, who experts say could bet more than $ 20 billion a year as more states legalize online sports betting.
Epoxy’s first idea: use the microphone on a mobile phone to determine what game the sports fan is watching and synchronize the game on the TV with the recommended bet. Reynolds said the sports bettor would agree to the synchronization through the terms of service of the company, which licenses Epoxy technology. Epoxy’s first customer was betParx, a subsidiary of Parx Casino.
“Amazon, Instagram, Spotify, these businesses are built on knowing who you are and putting the right things in front of you,” Angelides said. “This is an expectation and the sports media and the gaming industry, although aware of the need for this type of experience, are struggling to support it for various reasons.. First, because they are extremely underdeveloped technologically, because they are distributed in the states. Number two, they are not technology companies.”
In May 2018, the US Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, paving the way for the gold rush of online sports betting. Pennsylvania, New Jersey and 21 other states have legalized online sports betting. Pennsylvania sports fans have made more than $ 6 billion in online bets in the past year.
Experts estimate that the national volume of online sports betting or the “handle” will increase to $ 25 billion to $ 30 billion a year as more states legalize online sports betting.
Chris Grove, co-founder of Acies Investments, a venture capital fund for sports, gambling and technology startups in Las Vegas, called the founders of Epoxy “very talented.”
»READ MORE: Comcast buys OneTwoSee sports information service
But Grove believes that sports books have more immediate problems to solve before considering the innovation that Epoxy offers., including launching sports books in new states, more efficiently registering sports betting, and processing deposits.
“It’s easy to be overly optimistic about the pace of innovation in regulated sports betting,” Grove said. “It’s kind of like putting solar panels on the roof before you put the roof on.”
Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment, which owns Parx Casino in Bensalham, began working early with Epoxy under the direction of Matthew Cullen, who was hired four years ago. He heads the 100 people of Greenwood a digital gambling operation that involves overseeing the company’s online sports betting in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan. Cullen expects to expand sports betting to three more states. Parx processed $ 147 million in online sports betting between July and April, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
“Personalization is the next big thing,” Cullen said, because “people will want to bet on what they’ve bet on in the past, or what they like or what they like to watch.” But, Cullen added, echoing Grove, “it’s too early.”
The Cullen team will measure whether Epoxy leads to higher retention of bettors, whether it affects the amount of money the bettor bets, and leads to a longer time to engage betParx.
The NFL football season boosts television sales and ratings and, the figures show, online sports betting. Online sports betting in Pennsylvania jumped 65% to $ 527 million from August to September 2021, according to data from the gaming board. September is the start of the NFL season. The month with the largest volume of dollars in online sports betting in Pennsylvania was January, the month of the NFL playoffs, with 737 million dollars in bets.
Cullen said the plan is for the Epoxy app to launch in the betting app betParx for the NFL season.
Angelides said the epoxy resin would be ready. “It simply came to our notice then. Sport is not waiting for anyone. The game must continue. “
As for whether sports bettors will feel comfortable with a microphone on a cell phone that listens to them, Angelides said Epoxy research shows that more than 90% of major and ordinary bettors report that “they like it when who use it, adapt the content to them so it’s easier to find what they want and discover new things. “
Reynolds, 47, and Angelides, 54, have settled down after Comcast. In the media and telecommunications giant, they worked from the 37th floor of the Technology Tower, the tallest building in Philadelphia.
They now rent the second floor of a bizarre office building on the east side of SEPTA’s Berwyn Station. It’s an easy trip for Epoxy employees living in Philadelphia. The startup employs 12, mostly a crew that followed Reynolds and Comcast’s Angelides. The company also uses six contractors.
Angelides said the time plan is for 20 to 30 full-time employees.
Epoxy hopes to raise $ 7 million to $ 10 million in venture capital this summer and has filed patents for their technology through Morgan Lewis, a Philadelphia law firm. The co-founders see Epoxy technology as offering three services: synchronization between watching TV and betting, visualizing sports data and betting recommendations.
Angelides and Reynolds met in the 1990s at Traffic.com in Chesterbrook, a real-time traffic information service for radio and television stations. Traffic.com, bought by Nokia, took traffic data from road and highway sensors and sold them to TV and radio stations. Businesses taught Angelides and Reynolds the importance of packing real-time information for audiences.
At Traffic.com, they thought of other areas where real-time information can be valuable. It was in the early days of mobile apps. When the couple realized that sports fans are always looking for sports statistics on their phones, they developed a business for accessing and visualizing sports data in real time. Fans could consume the data while watching games.
“The idea was that if you’re a sports fan and you sit there and watch a game and a player shows up and you don’t know who he is or what his stats are. How many home runs are there? What will happen next? What is the most likely outcome? Need to review the results from the box? It was a nightmare, “Angelides said.
In late 2011, Angelides and Reynolds launched OneTwoSee to provide instant sports data. This was their first launch. Over time, OneTwoSee has developed the platform for displaying up-to-date sports statistics on cable TV and integrated the service into Comcast’s X1 platform. Comcast views sports data – accessible via a TV remote button – as a way to make its huge investment in sports rights more engaging for its subscribers. In 2016, Comcast bought OneTwoSee at an undisclosed price.
Inside Comcast, the OneTwoSee team stuck together and helped deepen the Olympic sports platform.
Reynolds and Angelides said they had a great experience at Comcast and left on good terms. But they were restless and saw online sports betting as the next big thing.
Angelides informed Comcast that he was leaving in November 2020. Reynolds did the same in mid-2021. On his decision to leave Comcast, Reynolds said that “once you start creating things, it’s hard not to.”