What do you get when you cross Wall Street-style trading with a hyper-focused examination of sports betting? OddsJam, and more particularly the people behind the betting tool site. Co-founder, Alex Monahan is one of the driving forces behind the company and it’s clear to see his stamp on OddsJam’s DNA.
Monahan and his co-founder, Ankit Goyal, grew up together in Virginia, USA, attending the same high school and college. Yet when Goyal went down a more traditional software path that saw him found a healthcare technology company, Monahan chose the life of a finance trader. Yet, it was during Covid that Monahan felt like he needed a change away from the financial trading world.
“Around then I started to reconsider my career especially as I really liked sports betting and wanted to get into this new industry as states started to legalise online sports gambling,” he explains. “I spent all my free time betting on sports, looking at lines, reading about it, watching videos and I saw an opportunity to do something different.”
Together Monahan and Goyal came up with an idea. “Ultimately we just thought we could launch a great software product with lots of markets opening as well as sportsbooks getting licensed which meant a lot of data was going to be around for people to line shop markets.”
One of the company’s fastest-growing tools is its Positive EV, advertised on its website as providing “profitable bets that are weighted in your favour so you always win in the long run”. The positive expected value tool works by giving players real-time recommendations at the midpoint of the market, where through betting consistently on weighted odds, players will make money over a longer period of time.
“It’s like giving a Wall Street trader a Bloomberg terminal versus someone on the street, what people can do with that data is very different”Alex Monahan
Monahan admits that OddsJam isn’t the only company offering this, but he believes they do a better job of explaining the data. “A lot of sites have odds, but they don’t explain to people in a way that makes sense,” said the company’s co-founder. “You need to get the motivation across why people should be line shopping and how it may affect your ROI”.
“Our goal is definitely to make people better with how they bet it’s not to make people rich or full-time sports bettors,” he goes on to add. “But when you give them access to the data it’s like giving a Wall Street trader a Bloomberg terminal versus someone random on the street. Obviously what people can do with that data is very different.”
OddsJam is a small team, consisting of around 12 employees spread across content, customer support and computer engineering who all work remotely. “We try to get together for games online and occasionally in person where possible like when we did something in Iowa for March Madness,” explains Monahan. “But being a fully remote company has its pros and cons, but it’s been the way we’ve been able to grow and keep people happy as they can work for us from anywhere.”
When it comes to hiring, OddsJam often looks to its own customers who have provided the company with employees with a keen interest in the sports betting market. “We’ve hired a lot of people from our email list, who are customers or sports bettors”.
The reason? According to Monahan, it’s all about finding people who truly understand what the company is trying to do and that ties in with a keen interest in the industry. “Sports betting really is a passion thing, there are people who love it, people who hate gambling and people who if they could gamble for the rest of their life they would be in heaven,” adds Monahan.
OddsJam sits in a unique space, offering both a range of subscription-based services around its algorithm-driven tools as well as generating affiliate revenues through free bet trackers and odd links. Affiliation only accounts for around 20% of the company’s revenue and that’s unlikely to change according to the company’s co-founder.
“The affiliate revenue is a lot more seasonal than our subscription tools because that’s offering things to people who are interested in gambling not just around the Super Bowl,” explains Monahan. “The affiliate revenue is sub 20% and that’s fine because it was never meant to be the focus of the company.”
So if the affiliate links only make around 20% of the revenue why does OddsJam even bother with it? Well, the company knows that it needs to appeal to a wider audience than just those it can attract immediately onto one of its subscription plans.
“When we started getting traction with the site, we began assembling the best group of advisors we could in the industry,” said Monahan. “We brought on previous CEOs and CPOs from big companies and things like customer acquisition sources became a big topic thanks to the advice we got.
“The affiliate revenue is sub 20% and that’s fine because it was never meant to be the focus of the company”Alex monahan
“We also looked at how other people were successful in the industry and at the end of the day we realised that we have to create free stuff that appeals to a lot of people who maybe aren’t going to pay for a subscription product.”
The solution was creating free tools for people to use. “Figuring out a way to make that product possible in terms of cost led us to affiliation,” adds Monahan. “Most of the users who hit up OddsJam daily, unsurprisingly, are not paying us, but they look at the odds at home and click the links.
“The affiliate arm of the business was kind of a natural inclusion as we expanded and was really driven home by the former Action Network people we brought on as advisors.”
For those looking to jump into one of its subscription services, OddsJam on its site recommends bettors have $3,000 to play with at the start. A figure that Monahan admits isn’t going to be accessible to everyone.
“That’s also why we try to launch tools to appeal to bettors who have lower bankrolls because most people don’t have $3,000 that they can bet on sports with,” he explains. “So if all our tools are really expensive we really would be capping our potential.”
Another cornerstone of OddsJam’s strategy is its video content. Found on both its website and across a multitude of social media channels the videos provide a way for the company to reach a wider audience.
Monahan often appears in the videos himself, giving the company a very hands-on feel. “We thought with the video content that there wasn’t anyone doing it well,” said the OddsJam co-founder.
“If you Google sports betting you’re competing against CBS, NBC and the world, whereas on YouTube sure there are lots of other people doing great stuff but we thought we could have a little bit of an edge there.
“Covering the topic on video as opposed to a long paragraph on a site helps to explain things better, like answering ‘why do you need multiple sportsbooks?’ is better when you can use visuals to explain it.”
On what’s next for the US company, Monahan points to some recent acquisitions, namely its landing of odds comparison site OddsBoom in August 2022, for what the industry can expect more of.
“We’re not planning to launch something crazy this year,” tempered Monahan. “I think we may make a strategic acquisition or two.”
For now, though, it seems that OddsJam is focused on building out more tools and creating content to expand its audience.