The Sports Entrepreneurs Podcast by Marcus Luer

Rahul Sood, “Betting on Esports”

July 27, 2020

Rahul Sood, founded VoodooPC, straight out of High School on his credit card and turned it into a global brand before selling it to HP. Next stop was launching Microsoft Ventures which lead to connecting with his now partner Karl Flores to start “Unikrn”, the largest Esports betting platform in the world.  Great deep dive into Rahul’s world, his passion for Gaming and Esports and why Unikrn will become the next Unicorn by building the future of digital gambling.  

 


Key Highlights

  1. Voodoo PC, from a passion project started in a garage to a global brand (now HP Omen brand)
  2. Microsoft Ventures Fund – starting a venture found from scratch, building accelerators to connect start ups to Microsoft customers, leading to a valuation of over US$ 4 billion by the time he left
  3. Unikrn – how it all started with his buddy Karl Flores, raising funds, bringing in high profile investors
  4. Uni-coin ICO and reasons for launching it and the compliance behind it
  5. What is Unikrn and how did the idea come about – from betting on yourself to betting on major Esports tournaments  
    • Goal was to be the biggest bookmaker in Esports  
  6. UMode – bet on yourself – how it works and only on Unikrn
  7. Going from 2 countries to 40 and the challenges which come with it, different betting formats and trends globally
  8. The opportunities and challenges because of the pandemic
  9. How Games are priced, driven by AI bots – 2-3 years ahead of others  
  10. From live in-game betting, different handicaps, special betting options unique to each game
  11. Challenge is localization, currently 4 languages and customization to local betting behaviour
  12. Business still churning money, large overheads, big team, still in building mode
  13. Building the future of Digital gambling - challenge with Investors who don’t understand the business
  14. Unikrn’s connection to the E-gaming ecosystem, from Publishers, Teams, Streamers, Influencers to streaming platforms (affiliate programs)
  15. Virtual Horse-racing, from breeding them to racing and winning price money
  16. Learnings, success and failures as an Entrepreneur and from his time at Microsoft - Focus on your passion and adapt to change as quickly as you can
  17. Interplay between traditional sports & Esports after Covid – the future of entertainment

 

 

About

Rahul Sood is the co-founder of Unikrn, a global Esports entertainment and sports betting platform built on cutting edge blockchain and gaming technologies.

Previous to Unikrn, Sood created the first incubation fund for startups at Microsoft, and eventually he consolidated their global startup activities and launched Microsoft Ventures.

A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. Sood is an early shareholder and advisor to Maingear, Razer, ZED, and Vrvana which was recently acquired by Apple.

Unikrn’s mission as a global esports entertainment platform is to heighten the experience of watching and participating in esports. Unikrn uses blockchain technology to optimize the payment flow for customers while allowing them to bet using the currency of their choice on a full array of Esports and Video Game offerings.

Unikrn is venture backed with investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban, Liz Murdoch, Shari Redstone, and many others. Unikrn built an end to end betting platform that can be licensed by commercial operators, and they have opened their doors to multiple international markets. Unikrn has been featured on Forbes, Fortune, ESPN, CNBC and countless publications around the world.

Sood is active in the startup community, helping and mentoring a variety of startups. In his spare time, Sood enjoys wake surfing & wake boarding, standup paddle boarding, cycling, racing cars and spending time with his family. He lives in Seattle, you can find him on Twitter @rahulsood. You can find Unikrn on Twitter @unikrnco.

 

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