We talked to Mitchell Chun of BLOK SPORTS about sport betting and blockchain technology.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BLOK SPORTS.
Mitchell Chun: I founded the company in mid-2018 when PASPA (federal ban on sports betting) was repealed in the U.S. I was consulting a blockchain gaming marketplace company at the time when I realized that blockchain was a perfect technology to leverage for a global peer-to-peer social sports betting platform. I combined my passion for sports media, gaming, blockchain, and data to start BLOK SPORTS.
I have 25+ years of experience in senior leadership roles in media tech, having run strategy for major media companies, like Fox, Fox Interactive, and Yahoo! I co-founded two prior startups, both of which had successful exits selling to public companies.
How does BLOK SPORTS innovate?
Mitchell Chun: We are on the cutting edge of blockchain technology and have solved many of the friction points that have plagued other companies trying to leverage this technology for their business. We have decades of experience in sports media, technology, and social media and are able to apply many valuable lessons learned and best practices for BLOK SPORTS.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mitchell Chun: In some ways, we are fortunate enough to have been in pre-launch mode and still developing our platform during the shutdown. Unfortunately, for our competitors and many in the industry who were already live, they were severely impacted, some in irreparable ways. We are planning to launch later this year and will be much stronger given the time and focus we’ve dedicated to building more innovative features for a post-COVID world.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mitchell Chun: Like every other early-stage company in our space, we had to minimize our burn and dedicate 100% of our resources and energy to platform innovation. On the positive side, the discipline and rigor we implemented around cost controls during this period is something that will continue well beyond the pandemic and serve our business well.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and BLOK SPORTS in the future?
Mitchell Chun: Even though we were pre-launch, we had to face many months where our commercial, partnership, and investor discussions went completely silent. Over the past several months, there were many difficult days, but our team remained heads down and focused on rapid innovation. Seeing the team’s tremendous progress always provided the morale and confidence boost that we needed to keep going. We also rode the momentum from the positive moments, such as recently winning Sports Betting Startup of the Year by Cynopsis Sports Media, which kept the team fired up during this period.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mitchell Chun: We have several competitors in the peer-to-peer betting space, but we believe our platform provides a highly unique and differentiated offering that will appeal to the mass casual and avid sports betting market. We also have a very unique and defensible distribution strategy and a robust social layer to drive powerful network effects.
Your final thoughts?
Mitchell Chun: With its social peer-to-peer betting platform, BLOK SPORTS is redefining the sports betting experience for millions around the globe by providing sports fans the ability to bet their friends and peers in its marketplace directly without the involvement of a middleman. BLOK SPORTS is disrupting the traditional model by eliminating the House’s need and the risks and frictions that come with the House. By introducing a dynamic social layer, BLOK SPORTS keeps its players connected with each other and their community in real-time while they enjoy the games they’ve wagered on. In this new post-COVID world, BLOK SPORTS provides that emotional connection between people while they watch, play, and engage from the comfort and safety of their own home.
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