Robert Bryan on Kickstarting Fan & Athlete Controlled Leagues with Karate Combat (Episode 320)
Robert Bryan joins us to discuss on Kickstarting Fan & Athlete Controlled Leagues with Karate Combat.
Robert Bryan co-founded Karate Combat, the world’s premier striking league in combat sports. Prior to founding Karate Combat, Robert founded and served as CEO of global medical device cybersecurity leader MedSec. Previously, Robert worked at a number of investment funds where he managed everything from investment stakes in large technology companies to investments in smaller companies including Virgin America where he was instrumental in the airline’s initial funding. He began his career in Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs.
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The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:00:17:22 – 00:00:49:12
Richard Carthon: Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Crypto Currant, your host here, Richard Carthon. And today we’ve got a special one for you. I know I’ve been looking forward to this conversation for a few weeks now once I had it lined up. We have Robert Bryan, who is the try to combat founder. So for any of you who are excited and do anything karate, not only are they the largest in the world for being able to organize this, but they also are starting to add some web3 components that makes it especially exciting. So again, Robert, really want to appreciate you being here today.
00:00:50:01 – 00:00:50:18
Richard Carthon: Thanks for coming.
00:00:51:27 – 00:00:53:27
Robert Bryan: Thanks for having me on, Richard. I appreciate it.
00:00:54:27 – 00:01:00:29
Richard Carthon: No doubt. Well, first, let’s learn a little bit more about you before we get into karate combat. Can you give us some background on yourself?
00:01:02:28 – 00:01:07:00
Robert Bryan: Sorry. It was a little a little bit hard here. QUESTION Could you repeat that?
00:01:07:16 – 00:01:10:00
Richard Carthon: Yeah. Can you give us just a little bit of background on yourself?
00:01:11:06 – 00:01:23:23
Robert Bryan: Sure. So my my background was initially in finance. I spent the first I spent the first two years of my career in traditional finance. And I came in with the entrepreneurial side
00:01:25:14 – 00:01:56:18
Robert Bryan: back in about ten years ago. The first company starter’s net sack, they essentially entered the market for medical device cybersecurity. Now they’re the leaders in the space. And about five years ago, I had an interesting opportunity come across my desk where I thought. There is a unique market for combat sports for a striking age that focused on the younger generation. And since then, I’ve been full steam ahead with two or three combat. And it’s it’s really been an amazing journey.
00:01:57:26 – 00:02:06:10
Richard Carthon: That’s excellent. What was your very first introduction that you ever heard about cryptocurrency or blockchain? Like when did you first hear about the space?
00:02:08:12 – 00:02:25:10
Robert Bryan: Well, I thought it was a long time ago. I remember when I was, you know, below $50. It was back when I was, you know, in traditional finance. I remember it was it was on Bloomberg and history and and even go back to the beginning. And a lot of people in my field were
00:02:27:09 – 00:03:00:09
Robert Bryan: hesitant about that. Right. You know, the Internet money. But I was like, hey, man, this is a really, really small market, right? This thing selling, you know, that there’s the potential upside. It’s huge. And I also have a background in electrical systems engineering or a little bit of programming. And I, I really like the technology, but fortunately we didn’t have the flexibility to to invest in funds back then. But I always thought that the space was quite interesting and I’d been argued by traditional finance friends about it.
00:03:00:11 – 00:03:14:06
Robert Bryan: I think a big one was like two or 3000 were saying, Hey, you know, it’s got some real steam here. You know, there’s some value just as a as long term stable investment, you know, all the standards that we know today. And then now all of those guys are reading whether it’s
00:03:15:23 – 00:03:18:02
Robert Bryan: gonna come over the fence. So it’s been an interesting journey.
00:03:18:26 – 00:03:40:28
Richard Carthon: Oh, definitely. I come from traditional finance as well. I learned about crypto back in 18 and so I realized what was going on was like, Oh yeah, this is the future. Let me head in this direction. So you come from traditional finance and you find yourself into karate. So talk about that just for a second and then talk about how your platform is now taking some of the elements of Web3 and incorporating it into your business.
00:03:42:08 – 00:04:13:21
Robert Bryan: Great. So So it’s not just Friday. We’re the top striking league in the world today. So what that means is if you’re from that you’re a criminal attorney and that sort of in a cage with small gloves, but you’re allowed to wrestle, a lot of the match takes place on the floor. Only doesn’t have that component. It’s just striking. You know, while wrestling can be interesting to some people who are experts in the space. For the general viewer, it’s not quite as interesting. So we’re trying to kind of make that more mainstream.
00:04:13:29 – 00:04:47:00
Robert Bryan: But a number of other elements that that separate us from it. And then obviously, boxing does include kicking. And I have different clubs. So that’s sort of where we set any type of single sport martial art that follows our rules is allowed. We have people from type know all different races, all different walks, but it is most similar. To Cry and Cry has an excellent brand name and we’ve been able to leverage that base to participate. As of excited, this events become a classic scoring sport.
00:04:47:02 – 00:04:47:25
Robert Bryan: Or like today.
00:04:48:29 – 00:05:06:20
Richard Carthon: Yeah, just going over your website, you know, you have over 100 the best fighters in the world. You’re starting to get more and more involvement across the world. How how’s that? Grossman And how are you seeing the world more open to looking at strike fighting as it continues to expand across the globe?
00:05:08:22 – 00:05:10:03
Robert Bryan: Yeah, well, I think.
00:05:11:27 – 00:05:52:25
Robert Bryan: But I think combat sports are going to have an amazing growth over the next ten years. I think a lot of investors share that opinion and create combat is something that can do better in the space, given it’s more mainstream. I think, you know, you’ve seen other sports pave the way. Consumers are becoming more and more open to combat. Sports is not considered. You know, the early crazy days of cage fighting has become more mainstream. I think what we’re doing is even more mainstream in that we’ve removed a lot of the elements required and people are so positions us quite well to capture even more of an outsized growth range or in the next ten years.
00:05:53:20 – 00:06:26:12
Robert Bryan: Today, we, you know, we always knew there’s a huge base of private participants. You know, for instance, one 2.5 million people do in the United States, over 10 million to crown 100 million people to show time, which is one type of crazy worldwide. So we put together the sports, you know, previous to us. Or was it a true sort of professional, strikingly for price? We didn’t know all those participants were going to jump on board. But in our first video that we put up had 5 million views. You know, we really knew we were on to something. In the first season we were on YouTube.
00:06:26:24 – 00:06:58:03
Robert Bryan: We had about 250,000 views for it. And, you know, not nothing like what we do today, but not that. And in season two, we got picked up on linear that that’s on TV and we had it digital as well. But what we did in season two that was interesting is we created a virtual character. So you’ve got real fans, real Olympic fighters having real fight in the background. We rendered virtual background using movie software packages. So that resonated really very well with the audience.
00:06:58:18 – 00:07:30:06
Robert Bryan: And in season three, we had a big jump. We basically picked up the top sports shown over 100 countries. So on Globo in Brazil and actually in Russia were the first combat sport on Eurosport 110 years. At that point, we’re doing about over 1 million linear views for episode digitally. We were in sort of 4 million range, and today we’re doing, you know, 6 million views digital 2 million views on TV. We’ve gone back to right and season two and 3 to 1 live to have that new sort of virtual backdrop.
00:07:30:12 – 00:07:51:03
Robert Bryan: Now we’re able to real time under that backdrop using Unreal Engine and audience just loves it. Last month, we were the 25th biggest sport across social media, over 200 million views per month. And we’re we’re really happy with the growth today, but we think our reach plans are going to supercharge that. So I’ve been more excited about the next two years.
00:07:52:00 – 00:08:07:07
Richard Carthon: Definitely. That’s been explosive growth as you after you’ve been doing that and just got to say congratulations on that type of growth. But like you said, I think adding these new Web three components is going to help even bring it to the next level. So can you kind of talk to us a little bit about how you’re doing that in the tokens side of things?
00:08:08:14 – 00:08:41:15
Robert Bryan: So we’re doing something that that’s never been done in Web3 before and we’re confident it’s going to be a new category. We think it really uses web3 tools to unleash incredible utility and customer acquisition. So I’ll just go through in our sort of our circular application. So the way to work are these assets are already placed in the Dow. Unlike some other teams, these elite has never done it before, but you’ve seen some other sports properties go that direction along with token that control it.
00:08:41:24 – 00:08:46:10
Robert Bryan: But here’s the killer applications that we did away with in Detroit has the the fans
00:08:48:15 – 00:09:20:02
Robert Bryan: they basically game like any other airdrop and it goes to an app so you know so many followers on Instagram Twitter when they download the app and they have a thousand product right they can buy and if I to you what fighters are going to be signed by a league which is all quite interesting. But the thing I think they really love is when they get the tokens and they want, when there’s a fight coming up, there’s a reminder and they can, you know, pick their favorite fighter to win and they can pick who they think is going to win and they can pick a group of fighters. And if their fighters win, they get more tokens.
00:09:20:23 – 00:09:35:15
Robert Bryan: And if their fighters lose, they don’t lose any tokens. It’s not regulated gambling. So we think it’s a really, really fun activity for consumers. It will make them highly incentivized where we’re really excited about how we think it’ll change the sports landscape going forward.
00:09:36:20 – 00:10:02:28
Richard Carthon: So not only have you set up Criteo as a as a DAO, you’re now giving out tokens to the viewers that are out there to a lot of the hardcore fans are out there so they can now participate and start adding a gaming element to the experience that they’re already having. What kind of drove this decision and how do you think it’s going to impact future growth for your for your viewers out there?
00:10:04:05 – 00:10:38:25
Robert Bryan: Well, I think a lot of the web3 models, you know, will ultimately work, but they’re unproven. I think customer acquisition by this method has been seen time and time again. While what we’re doing is different from DraftKings, the customer acquisition model is very similar. And those guys created, you know, five, $10 million business relatively quickly. So I think the acquisition model has been proven. And when I look at the other traditional sports competitors, you know, you have the UFC, who’s the market leader by far, and then you have some other new entrants.
00:10:39:03 – 00:11:01:10
Robert Bryan: And it’s very hard for them to get fans today to care about this player. We have to put them in February in front of, you know, 20 times with all these viral clips. You know, some of the fighters they had might not be that interesting. It’s very, very difficult to get fans to care about the fans. But if you look at all we did out there and by the way, there was more and more sort of gaming.
00:11:02:25 – 00:11:34:27
Robert Bryan: You know, gaming related activity as the generation is getting younger. But when you when you look at what we’re doing, you know, if I give you a thousand tokens to Dennis in the guy is making and doing really well making a lot of money. You know, all the research shows he’s going to tune in and he’s going to watch the fight and he’s really going to care about the fighter. And after you’ve seen a fighter once, I’ve been behind, and the next time he comes up, he’s still going to be interested in a sports sort of most artistic smile in my career. You know, a lot of web3 products, they keep engaging.
00:11:34:29 – 00:11:43:26
Robert Bryan: It’s very hard. You always have to stay ahead of the curve in the community and the sports that sort of built in sticky. That’s why we think that this is the perfect customer acquisition.
00:11:45:13 – 00:12:17:21
Richard Carthon: Yeah. And to your point, people love sports. People tune in all the time. And and people, the sooner that they get involved, the longer they typically stay. It’s a it’s a very low churn type of situation. And I think there’s other elements that are going to be adding in the future as well that I think are going to continue to build upon that experience from Nfts potentially creating your own metaverse side of it. We have to get too deep into all of that. But I think as you keep learning more and more of these web3 elements, it’s going to just keep heightening that overall experience that you’re bringing into your audience.
00:12:19:26 – 00:12:48:10
Robert Bryan: Yeah. We we to be completely I think you know a lot of the tools used in the in in game five and other spaces. I think sports are a better application and you know you seen NBA do things like pop shots you know which is which is somewhat interesting but you know, seeing any sports stadiums go all the way and really incorporate creative ethos into for the product and that’s what we’re looking to do. And we think that the opportunities that they’re.
00:12:49:24 – 00:13:05:08
Richard Carthon: So now you’ve been working in this for a few years. You’ve definitely been able to take away quite a few lessons as you build this out. So I want to take this into two different directions. The first is like with everything that you’ve learned, if you could go give yourself one or two pieces of wisdom, what would you tell yourself?
00:13:08:13 – 00:13:08:28
Robert Bryan: Well,
00:13:10:20 – 00:13:42:25
Robert Bryan: hopefully I wouldn’t have to tell myself the biggest issue because the regulatory environment will have been solved. What we’re doing is working on that front. There are tons of learning processes. I had to go through everything from setting up the game now, where a lot of regulatory environment is. I’m clear in I learned a ton. I wish I could tell myself what went wrong in that process. And then the other thing was once again them after because of the clear regulation, so many people have been identified and it it’ll be a good cookie cutter model.
00:13:42:27 – 00:14:18:01
Robert Bryan: I think that’s the way to go. The other big thing is, you know, we really can incorporate very into a traditional business how to get in from the economy. You know, we we did fumble through a little bit. You know, we had a number of employee sessions. And when they first came on board, to be honest, you know, like most of them don’t have the faintest idea in cryptocurrencies. You know, they definitely don’t know our concepts when we first explain it to them. They’re like, okay, you know, some guy on the Internet is going to be telling me how to do my marketing job.
00:14:18:08 – 00:14:52:10
Robert Bryan: Where are these guys going to have the best fighter fight, the worst fighter in the league? And I kind of explain the concept of a constrained delegation, how we’re standing up and how we can actually get feedback from the community. And now they’re all be right there in the dust for, you know, the fight teams in there arguing with our new people. You know, originally were concerned about, you know, saying the fires and they’ve only signed a couple of fires literally from contacts in the desk for so you know real long route for us again, you know traditional corporate structure to really embrace what we’re doing now.
00:14:52:12 – 00:15:01:10
Robert Bryan: They really like it. But if we had that, we would have had some better lessons along the way and had more of a straight route to go. It that happening, I think it could have been a little bit sooner.
00:15:02:09 – 00:15:12:27
Richard Carthon: Yeah, I think those are two good takeaways and it always helps with the journey and then the impact and the speed at which you hopefully get to your final destination or point of where you are today.
00:15:13:21 – 00:15:25:12
Robert Bryan: Exactly. You’re on my side. You know, you think everyone understands the basics of what we’re doing, but you just have to make it a really, really slow and say process and explain things multiple times. And once you get there.
00:15:27:11 – 00:15:39:18
Richard Carthon: Definitely and with everything that you’re building, of course you got the token and all of that that’s coming out. Are there any other things that are coming out as you wrap up the the end of 2022, as you go into 2023 that you’re able to talk about?
00:15:42:00 – 00:16:26:15
Richard Carthon: The token is definitely the biggest thing. Like I said, in a circular application, we think that fans are going to love it. Beyond that, you know, we’ve had incredible growth, but we’re very small and everybody’s been towards open IP. So what we’re doing now that the winners are young, so strong, in fact used to write great jargon for us, it’s not quite permissionless. IP but what we’re basically setting up is a system where a lot of our IP is able to be used and extremely cheaply. You know, the very small percentage went back to the jugglers and the percentage going to the finals and the bigger percentage is actually going to the creators, whether it be something in the metaverse, something on the NFT side.
00:16:26:21 – 00:17:06:29
Robert Bryan: You know, any sort of related game. And we’re letting the community just just build on top of us. Know, we’re not doing anything exclusive and we’re letting it serve the best voters to see. And, you know, we announced that about four weeks ago. We already have ten people building on top of us. We’re supporting launch. It’s going to accelerate. And, you know, I hope they build stuff, you know, better than I than I can next share you. And we really want to just do a great job at core for clearly continued growth and leveraging the simple DAO and the token with visuals and for everything else, you know, we, we that’s really the best people to do, right?
00:17:08:06 – 00:17:33:11
Richard Carthon: Yeah. And you all continue to just keep adding and growing and elevating. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people listening to this right now is like, Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking for something like this. I’ve always been passionate about karate and don’t really want to watch him and man this other stuff, But like, this sounds really interesting to me. So for those who are listening, you can go to Karate Icon to get more information, but what are some other ways that people can connect with you and learn more about what you have going on at karate combat?
00:17:34:14 – 00:17:53:29
Robert Bryan: Yeah, right on time, you know, when I’m on the social media platforms. But I would definitely enjoy not enjoying the crowded combat discord. It’s always a fun time there. You know, you got to mix one, two, three. But three guys, you know, older athletes, younger athletes. It’s a fun time to encourage people to check their.
00:17:55:01 – 00:18:00:09
Richard Carthon: Perfect. And as we wrap up here, Robert, what is the final thought that you want to leave with all the listeners here today?
00:18:01:15 – 00:18:18:07
Robert Bryan: Well, we’re we’re really excited about what we’re doing in sports. No one’s ever done this before. We think it makes a lot of sense and we just like people to follow our journey. You know, we hope it will be a new category and we’d like everyone to follow us, give us advice and participate in project.
00:18:19:14 – 00:18:34:08
Richard Carthon: It sounds perfect. So again, as a reminder for everyone, you can go to karate dot com for more information. They have a lot of really good information, a lot of cool things on the horizon. I know that I’m looking forward to checking out some matches in the future. And Robert, if people want to connect with you, how can they do that?
00:18:36:21 – 00:18:41:09
Robert Bryan: Just, you know, to discard into a great. Those are the best ways.
00:18:42:08 – 00:18:49:21
Richard Carthon: Sounds perfect. Well, again, thanks again for being on the show. I appreciate all of the information. And as always, for everyone listening, stay cryptoquant.
00:18:50:16 – 00:19:14:02
Richard Carthon: Thank you for joining us for another episode of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a cryptocurrency and blockchain education platform, bridging the gap between curious newcomers for just discovering the space and the thought leaders who are shaping its future. All opinions expressed by Richard Carthon , the cryptocurrency team and their guests on this show are exclusively their own opinions on this show, and any other crypto print production is exclusively for informational purposes.
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