Episode 17: Brett McDonald, CEO and Founder at Vantage Sports


Brett talks about founding Vantage Sports, a premier sports analytics platform, and moving into the eSports industry.

Today’s episode is part tres of our special trifecta of episodes that are the sport focused olympic series, where this week we welcome Brett McDonald, CEO and Founder at Vantage Sports.

Vantage Sports is a premiere sports analytics platform that provides key insights to players, teams, and media. Recently shifting its focus into the eSports industry, Vantage League provides aspiring gamers with data-driven coaching services and unique access to professional teams.

Investors in his company include NBA Superstar Carmelo Anthony, and NFL All-Pro Tight End, Vernon Davis. They’re a portfolio company of Blue Startups, 500 Startups and Reef.VC.

In today’s show, you’ll learn about Brett’s mistakes with his first company, how he’s fought through the tough times, how he decided to pivot his current company to a new product line in e-sports (whcih we chat a lot about), and more.

One of my favorite parts though was the story of how the company was on its knees basically and then he got a call from Steph Curry’s agent.

What a joy to chat with Brett, I learned a lot and appreciate him sharing his time and wisdom. So grab a seat, mute sportscenter and enjoy my conversation with Bret McDonald.



2:31        How Brett got started in entrepreneurship.

6:31        Brett’s advice for other entrepreneurs: act on your ideas.

9:00        Why Brett walked away from his first business.

11:22       How Brett came up with Vantage sports.

13:55       70% of strategy is unique to each company.

15:30       The trap of major feature chasing.

17:39       How Brett got Stephen Curry to become an early adopter.

18:48      Fundraising as a numbers game.

22:37      Finding a scalable business model.

25:31      Experience in fantasy sports market.

30:51      Transitioning and scaling product from NBA Pros to online users.

31:40      The importance of timing as a startup’s success factor

33:11      The story of Twitch, starting as Justin Tv

34:48     Vantage Sport’s Higher Touch product.

36:13      Vantage Sport’s Subscription product.

37:55      Business really comes down to relationships.

39:33      Team Liquid is tweeting for Vantage Sports

40:30      Customer discovery and organic customer bases.

41:05       Rand Fishkin article

42:06      Customer interviews and surveys.

43:32      Rand Fishkin Moz on Minimum Awesome Products (M.A.P.).

45:03      Starting A Round Fundraising.

46:29      Getting 17% conversions from South Korea.

48:00     Rapid Fire Q & A

48:10      Top list of blogs, people, books.

Hard Things (about hard things)

Y Combinator free sessions about the 30% that is similar to all startups.

Innovator’s Dilemma

50:10     On constant learning through traditional and alternative research.

52:04      Identifying more with Bezos than Zuckerberg.

53:39      Brett’s best Olympic moment – seeing a childhood friend run in the decathlon.

55:13       Dan & Dave

55:50      The thing Brett is most proud of: not stopping.

57:36      Final advice for other entrepreneurs: just try and get something out there.