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Technology Insights #2 – Alex Rockoff

TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS #2 – ALEX ROCKOFF

What does your work entail?

I’m a qualified Audit Manager at Withum, in the Technology and Emerging Growth group and head of our newly formed Sports Technology division. I have experience with accounting for complex debt and equity transactions, stock based compensation, capitalised software and revenue recognition. I’ve assisted with financial statement preparation for hundreds of companies. Our Technology group is incredibly strong and I work closely with them to connect clients with their corporate tax, sales tax, SOC compliance, ERP implementation, research and development credits.

What is your background, and how have you got into the sports industry?

I’ve worked in the accounting field for about 8 years and in the Technology space for just over 4 years. My whole live I’ve had a tremendous passion for sports and being from Buffalo, New York I am a diehard Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres fan. Since I’m working in the technology space, I decided to focus my interests and work on building the SportsTech group at my firm.

How have you found working in Sports Technology?

I’m thoroughly enjoying working in Sports Technology. Both the sector and our practice within are experiencing huge growth. Aside from our client work, I love to spend my time attending SportsTech networking events to really get to know the Sports Tech field and meet the people making this space grow.

Sports Technology Start-ups and Finance go hand in hand, as companies try to grow. What are the biggest learnings you can give having spoken to and assisted a number of Sports Technology start-ups?

  1. A piece of learning I can give is for start-ups not to give away equity too quickly. For example don’t give advisors 5% of the Company for their services. An early stage company needs to know how to make money on their own product or services before you look for investors. It’s also important to know the pros and cons of debt vs equity funding.
  2. Early stage startups tend to focus 100% of their efforts on the tech/product side. That’s definitely the most significant part of the business, but it’s important to note that some attention should be focused on budgeting and cash flow projections to understand cash runway and when to look for additional investments.
  3. Innovation and adaptability is key. The tech industry is fast paced and what was popular a few years ago could be completely obsolete today. We’ve seen a company go bankrupt because their business model relied 100% on another company’s algorithm and when that other company made changes it crushed that company’s business model.

 What are some of the coolest pieces of Sports Technology you have seen?

Just recently I worked on a client that was a data and technology company with applications that enabled accurate real-time data capture to create and provide in-game betting odds and digital content for their customers’ experiences. They had employees attend or view all sporting events and use the technology to track live data. This data is used and sold to sports betting companies to generate in game odds. The concept of in game betting is exciting and it’s fascinating considering the work and technology that goes into this luxury for sports betters.

I have another client that has a new Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) platform and I am a big fan of DFS, especially hockey. The apps will assign daily salaries to all sports players and users will have to create their own lineup with a specific salary cap to play in head to head or tournaments against other users. To me that’s the most fun part about DFS is using different strategies to maximise your budget and fit the most optimal team for that day. Every day the scenarios are different as lines can change. A fun fact about me, last year my old roommate and I started up a DFS hockey podcast called Salt Boyz Podcast it’s on Spotify and other streaming sites.

What are your thoughts about the future of Sports Technology?

I believe that the sky is the limit for the growth potential for Sports Technology. When you consider that sports gambling is not yet legal in every state in the U.S. and if that legalisation trend continues to change I know we will see an increase in SportsTech companies around sports gambling. Also being a numbers guy, I am intrigued by advanced analytics and the role they play in sports. Most of the time it’s more than just the goals and assists and you have to value what an athlete does away from the ball/puck.

Please get in touch with me at [email protected] to learn about how Sports X Technology, could help your organisation.

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