The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

Alex Dreyfus, “From Poker, Online Betting to Fan Token”

November 5, 2020

Alex Dreyfus, originally from France, now living in Malta, one of the betting and Blockchain hubs of the world. Alex is a true serial “net-preneur”, having started several internet related businesses, exited some successfully and struggled with some others. We are diving deep into the world of Blockchain, Tokenization (Club Token) and his current platform Socios.com powered by ChiliZ.  Alex, is raw, open and shares it like it is (enjoy the colourful language).

Key Highlights

  1. Started off as a computer geek in his hometown in France, first computer at the age of six and build his own Online Forum at the age of 14
  2. Left school at the age of 18 without any degree & without parents approval, in 1995, created his first company Mediatis which he sold later to Publicis Group
  3. Next act, Webcity.com – initial great success and then company went bankrupt (lesson, not as important to be first….)
  4. Took a short term job to survive and then started working on his next move, WINAMAX , online poker and sports betting website targeting France (license from the UK)
  5. Sold his shares due to conflict with partners and moved to Malta (2006) and started Chiligaming – Chilipoker – online betting
  6. Sold business six years later to listed US company (Bally Technologies now called Scientific Games, listed company)
  7. Next founded Global Poker Index, global poker ranking (ATP of Poker) – started to create a “sports like product” - Global Poker League (only lasted one year, currently on hold)
  8. Learned the importance of monetization of fanbase and that’s how ChiliZ got started
  9. Love hate relationship with Crypto initially – anti-Bitcoin before he started to understand the tech behind it while working on Esports and Fan engagement ideas
  10. ChiliZ – raised US$ 66 million through private placement in first half of 2018 (at the height of ICO’s, before crypto crash).  Got timing right (compared to Sportsfix, Marcus’ ICO in later 2018)
  11. ChiliZ is the currency of the ecosystem, the Token for activities.  Also includes an Exchange to trade the token.
  12. Originally focused on Esports but gave up due to various reasons and focused on traditional Sports teams  
  13. Socios.com – fintech fan engagement & monetization platforms for sports teams
  14. Vision – 99% of fans are not in the Stadium, how can you get the 99% deeper engaged using a Fan Token (creating Superfans)
  15. Having a share of voice – digital asset vs crypto currency  - Fan token are not a crypto currency –
  16. Socios.com launched a year ago,  300k downloads, people buy and trade token
  17. How to buy Token on the platforms…..transaction flow
  18. Tiering of Clubs decides level of Token being put out into the market
  19. Pricing of token, initially set – fluctuation based on demand once listed
  20. What is a fan – many ways to define, Fan token purchased by Crypto enthusiasts (50%) (early adopters) and superfans (non-crypto audience) (50%)
  21. Currently token only traded on ChiliZ platform, soon tradeable outside on other exchanges
  22. US$ 5-6 million worth of token sold (not money raised as you will hear 😊)
  23. Business Model – for Socios and Clubs  and discussion about other innovative Tokenization and blockchain ideas to wrap it up

About

Alex is a serial web entrepreneur with more than 22 years of experience in the digital space, building and developing tech businesses. In the late 1990s, he pioneered Webcity, the web-based interactive tourism guide, before completing a buyout with retail giant Carrefour, and later merging with a competitor service and selling to Yelp. After co-founding Winamax (the largest French online poker room) and Chilipoker in 2006, the underpinning technology platform was sold to Bally Technologies (now Scientific Games).

In 2013, he acquired the Global Poker Index (live Poker’s leading ranking authority) as well as The Hendon Mob (the largest live poker database in the world). Dreyfus recently raised $66 million through a private token sale for Chiliz – a digital currency for sports and entertainment platforms. The first platform that will use Chiliz Tokens is Socios.com, a turnkey solution for football and sports clubs looking to adopt blockchain technology to monetise their fan bases.

To boost blockchain innovation in Malta, Dreyfus has also established the Chiliz Blockchain Campus –an accelerator and industry hub connecting some of the industry’s largest stakeholders across Asia and Europe, together with other emerging blockchain entrepreneurs. The Campus houses world-leading exchanges, crypto-friendly European banks and is a collaborative space for small to large blockchain companies.

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