BallStreet Trading

 

BallStreet Trading is an app that allows players to 'day trade' live sporting events in real-time by buying and selling shares of teams as they are playing. 

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PHOTOS: Jena Cumbo

An excerpt from an interview with Founder Scott San Emeterio.

Tell us about BallStreet Trading. 

Ball Street was an idea I’ve had for a couple of years and it was a light bulb moment on how we can structure the rules to make it as competitive a game as we could put together.

The app itself is a real-time trading exchange, which takes a live sporting event for right now that could be used at any type of event. It trades the expectation of winning for each team. So for the Superbowl, we had a beta launch with our friends and family. But we had the Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Each team had its own market, Bronco shares and Carolina shares. Bronco shares traded from 0-100, Carolina traded at 0-100. If you bought at 50, you thought there was a 50% chance that each team was going to win, we give you shares to both teams, so you’re forced to trade which forces the liquidity into the markets. The more liquid the markets, the more fun the actual game is. 

You hopefully don’t care who wins the game, you are trying to out-trade everyone else. That’s where the concept of this live auction came about. Me, watching sports all the time with my buddies, we have these long text chains, everyone is talking shit to each other. BallStreet allows us to take a position in the game in real time, change it whenever we want, and then compete.

From the time you had the idea, what were your next steps in getting the app made?

I was sitting at work and asking people what they thought of the game and the next steps. I read a bunch of books and spoke to a couple of people in the startup scene. I’m older so my network is on the larger side so I can have people in different pockets to ask for advice. They encouraged me to go, figure out what I want, and wireframe it. I didn’t even know what wireframes were and went online and did some research. I was literally here writing on a piece of paper and drawing out screens and their utility. I had these massive excel sheets that build out how the trading engine would work.  This is your flow diagram, your decision one, decision two, what happens when you buy, sell…etc.

Now, I currently have two developers and one is on full time. For me, I think this idea will become full time with the combination of traction and money. At some point, I think it’s in our best interest to have a certain amount of money behind the idea. I hope that will happen before the NFL starts but I don’t know how realistic that is. But again, with any of these things, there’s always a chance for it to go viral.

How have you gone about seeking out users?

I’m afraid we’ll go and push and spend the money that we have and then miss the mark. I can go and spend $1,000 or $5,000 through regular advertising, which isn’t the only thing we want to do, but marketing takes a lot of money. 

We’re going to market baseball so the idea is to focus locally. So we can hire people to stand outside Yankee Stadium to say that we’re trading today’s game. Offer prizes if you manage to score over a certain amount or if you happen to be in the top 10. There’s different ways to do all that. Once we get to basketball, Barclays, MSG, things like that. Going to restaurants, like Hooters and Applebee’s, and offering some form of partnership. We’ll pay for a couple of pitchers or rounds. We just want a few cards on the table during Saturday or Sunday’s games. We want to create momentum from partnerships.

In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur?

Grind.

You think you set some sort of milestone, even something small, and then you solve that, you open up a door, and there’s ten more of them. I don’t necessarily see this letting up anytime soon. Sometimes there’s a night when I’m not working on it and I feel guilty.

What would you say has been the most satisfying moment of your job?

There was a moment during the Superbowl and NCAA. During the Superbowl, watching the market trade was very cool. I had friends playing and friends of friends playing, so getting the texts from the people who didn’t know me and telling me this is “cool and awesome”, and the potential the app has, was very cool. And the first time seeing the app on my phone and having one of those moments. I did this three months ago and its now here. It’s a real thing.

 

- Interviewed by H.B., ROKO Labs.