qutbluebox Innovation Challenge Finalists: Fantasy Insider – Q&A

Fantasy Insider - logo

1. What is Fantasy Insider? 

Fantasy Insider is a sports analytics platform that develops new metrics and tools for analysing sporting data and focuses (in the first instance) on Australian sports and horse racing.

The current launch product, known as Fantasy Insider, provides research tools and lineup optimizers for AFL (Australian Football League) and NRL (National Rugby League) fantasy contests.

2. Who are the people behind Fantasy Insider?

The team consists of:

  • Darryl Woodford, who has led the technical development of Fantasy Insider and has previous experience in data science. As a professional gambler and a current fantasy sports player, Darryl is motivated to develop tools for easier interpretation of sporting data.
  • Michel Lubuya is the co-founder of Euphoric Vision, a strategic marketing and design firm, Shadow Management, a sports management firm and he leads the business development and promotional side of Fantasy Insider. Michel started his journey in marketing at QUT before becoming the marketing manager at a Brisbane nightclub. He then ventured in a new direction and opened up a direct marketing/promotions business called Retrouvailles that has now been rebranded as Euphoric Vision.

3. What is your connection(s) to QUT?

Darryl completed a PhD at QUT in 2013 looking at regulations in the offshore gambling industry. From 2013 to 2015 he was employed as a Research Fellow in the Social Media Research Group, which ultimately led to commercial opportunities with Hypometer, a social media analytics platform.

Michel is a former QUT marketing student.

4. How long have you been operating as a business?

Fantasy Insider has been operating for around three months, although the ideas behind the platform can be traced back to both Darryl’s work on Hypometer and his experience in sports modelling and gambling.

5. How did you come up with the idea for Fantasy Insider?

When daily fantasy sports sites including Moneyball and SportsFantasyPro launched in Australia, Darryl wanted to be involved but realised how far Australia was lagging behind America in sporting analytics.

With approximately two million Australians and 100 million worldwide playing fantasy sports, Darryl realised there were big market opportunities in fantasy sports and fantasy sports data from media partnerships and other uses of the data such as sports/racing betting.

6. Do you have any previous experiences in start-ups or business?

Katie Prowd and Darryl founded Hypometer in 2014 to translate social media information into a data form that is interesting to the public. Their tools were used in Channel 7’s G20 coverage, ABC News 24’s coverage of the Queensland election and a range of factual and entertainment media channels including Big Brother, TV ratings and Triple J’s Hottest 100.

7. What has been your biggest challenge with Fantasy Insider to date?

Timing has been the major challenge. Much of the development work has taken place during the latter stages of the AFL and NRL seasons, which means the Fantasy Insider team will need to wait until early 2016 to monetise those sports.

Darryl and Michel are now looking at horse racing, soccer, tennis and golf as shorter-term monetisation options.

8. What has been your biggest success with Fantasy Insider so far? 

Fantasy Insider quickly formed promotional partnerships with both Moneyball and SportsFantasyPro and continue to work with others in the industry, which are very supportive of new players in the industry, which in turn develop tools to help the market expand.

9. Where do you find inspiration and what entrepreneurs are you influenced by?

American statistician Nate Silver (of Baseball Prospectus, FiveThirtyEight blog and US election prediction fame) and the general American sabermetric scene acts as inspiration for most of the approaches Darryl has taken on both Hypometer and Fantasy Insider.

10. What would it mean to you and your start-up to win the Innovation Challenge?

It would greatly accelerate growth in two key areas. Firstly, it would provide Fantasy Insider access to much more granular data (available upon subscription) which would improve the projections Darryl and Michel make available to the public. It would also make their work much more useful to others in the sports industry such as the media and sporting teams themselves.

Secondly, it would provide a budget for marketing, enabling Fantasy Insider to test marketing approaches on niche sports during the off-season and be prepared to apply them to AFL/NRL when the fantasy draft season begins in early 2016.