While coming to MHacks and walking into Pierpont our team talked about the upcoming football season and our fantasy football teams. We went around and asked over 50 MHacks participants if they played fantasy sports and only one person said yes. We learned that the reason that people didn’t play is because everything is too complicated. We focus on creating a unique fantasy experience where you can add as many players to your lineup as long as you do not go over your budget. These games are focused on single sporting events so that you can play while watching with your friends.
The second part of the inspiration which makes our product unique is that there is no commission fees that will be taken. We have seen in the past couple years companies like FanDuel and DraftKing have validated the market for individuals that want to put money into fantasy sports. They make their money based on taking a 10-20% fee. We have seen companies like Robinhood and Credit Karma provide services for free and build a large user base of individuals who love their product and have generated revenue through other innovative business models. We believe that there is potential for disruption in the fantasy sports world through utilizing a business model with similar aspects that focuses on eliminating commissions and passing on savings to the end user.
The purpose of the Hackathon for us was to come together and create something that is innovative and disruptive and so we were inspired to create Scoutkick.
What it does
Scoutkick is an iOS game that allows you to, every night, make simple draft picks for a selected sports game. You can also make groups and challenge your Facebook friends. The picks ‘freeze’ 30 minutes before the event, and results are displayed after the game is finished.
How I built it
We decided to go mobile first and focus on just an iPhone app to demonstrate the basic functionality -- seeing at an upcoming game, creating groups and inviting friends, and picking players within your nightly budget. Along with our iOS app written in Swift, we built an API backend in Rails and PostgreSQL. Although Rails is suited better for larger, monolithic apps, Rails was the quickest way for our team to manage some data models and expose a few endpoints. Finally, we added a fronted splash page in Ember.js displaying some metrics through d3 charts with real data about NFL players.
Challenges I ran into
Although we started our Rails project with a fairly comprehensive integration spec, it was hard to build a client (iOS) and server (Rails) somewhat independently for the first 24 hours and then ‘Flip the switch’ hope that everything matches up. Minor things like inviting multiple users at once and accepting group invites were a few oversights.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We finished a MVP in only 36 hours, which is as much as we could hope for. More than that though, we really met a lot of great people along the way, which made this event seriously rewarding.
What I learned
We learned the value of ‘scope reduction’ -- when starting a ‘seemingly simple’ project like this, my first thought would be to write an iOS and Android simultaneously, but had we gone down that road we never would have finished on time. It's good to start small! Although we only have an iOS client, and the user interface is somewhat incomplete, it is at least a real app that we can start using and iterating on.
What's next for Scoutkick
The next step for Scoutkick is to use this product for the Monday Night Football game with a small group of individuals. From there were are going to make iterations to the product to further enhance the user experience so that individuals will want to continually use it. Currently, we are focusing only on single sporting events with your friends, but in the future we will implement payment systems (Paypal, Bitcoin) so that people can play for money. We plan to eventually make money through charging for premium features such as if people want to play more complex fantasy matches. Another potential business model is through advertising since we have a unique opportunity to engage with users that go through steps to ultimately compete for money in a sporting event.